Brave Laurie's back on her bike

THREE years after she broke her back in a motocross accident, Suffolk teenager Laurie Squirrell is today preparing to get back on her bike.

THREE years after she broke her back in a motocross accident, Suffolk teenager Laurie Squirrell is today preparing to get back on her bike.

The plucky 19-year-old is having the Yamaha 125cc bike that she used before her accident adapted - and is looking forward to getting back on the track.

“We sold the bike a few years ago, but then we bought it back recently and I asked if it could be adapted so I could ride it again,” she said.

Her father Richard is overseeing the adaptations at their Hitcham home - but has mixed feelings about seeing Laurie riding again.

He said: “We got this bike back as a memento, but then Laurie asked about the adaptations and we thought we'd give it a go.”

A frame to hold Laurie's legs in place has been installed on the bike and footrests are also being made which will hold her feet securely.

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A go-kart seat has been installed to hold her securely and special switches so the bike can be completely controlled by hand.

Laurie got the idea of getting back on a bike after a friend showed her a specially-adapted bike.

And she has already tried it on soft ground with her legs tied in place.

“I just want to get back on the bike. I'm never going to compete again and I can't ride this on the road but I just want to have some fun,” she said.

“I'm not going to be able to do big jumps like I used to on this machine . . . not at first.”

There are difficulties she will have to overcome.

Laurie said: “Balance won't be the same - you use all the muscles to find the right balance but I can't use my lower muscles so I will have to adapt to that but it shouldn't be too difficult.”

He father added: “There are also problems when you stop. You'll have to find something to lean against - you can't put your feet down.”

Laurie is still waiting for specialist equipment to be sent for the adaptation of the bike, and it will be at least six weeks before the conversion is completed.

“We have to fit in work on the bike around our other commitments, but it is coming along,” said Richard - who runs Squirrell's Coaches.

She was the first female rider in Britain to be awarded expert status shortly before her accident in San Antonio, Texas, as she prepared for her first professional race in the US at just 16.

“I just want to get back on my bike. I first sat on a bike when I was two and I started racing when I was six so I've been on bikes all my life.

“I'd been racing for ten years and although I can't do that again, it will be wonderful to be able to ride my bike for fun again,” she said.

And Laurie is going to make sure she has all the necessary equipment - including a Leatt neck brace similar to that which saved Martin Townshend's life in an accident at the end of September.

Laurie said: “The brace will protect my neck and back down to where I broke it so it should be just about perfect for me riding on the bike again.”

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