Most F1 drivers had theirs. That big crash, flat out into a tyre wall or into another car, that split second when they came to realise that motorsport really was dangerous. They’ve all had it. But most of them walked away feeling shaken, potentially facing a couple of bruises. Hers, her “reality check” as she calls it, left Serita nearly dead.
Rewind to last October. British bobsleigher Serita Shone is training in Winterberg, in the German mountains. And then, out of nowhere, it happened. THE crash. When Serita woke up in hospital, she was told that her back was broken, with splintered L1 and L2 vertebrae and her spine shifted by a life-threatening 15mm... Not the sort of news you like to hear when training to secure your spot in the 2014 Winter Olympics selection.
Two back-reconstructive and life-saving operations later, Serita took some time away from training to visit us and get close to her other passion, Formula One.
“This is an amazing opportunity” she says of being in our garage on the Friday of the British Grand Prix. “To get so close to the cars, to get the inside knowledge of something normally so distant is brilliant”. Serita is a big F1 fan and has previously already attended races in Germany, Hungary and Valencia... “but surprisingly this is my first British Grand Prix!” she says, before adding that a big one is still missing in her list: “Brazil... I would really love to experience the Brazilian Grand Prix”.
“Live throws stuff at you... You learn to adapt”
It’s now eight months since her accident, and all seems to be going well for Serita. “It’s different” she says of her post-accident “new” life. “You need to learn to adapt when life throws stuff like that at you”. Now able to move, “as functionally as possible”, Serita is training, not on the course yet, though that’s the next target. “When what you love so much is simply taken away from you like that, it reinforces even more what you want” she says.
Her goal, her target has never been clearer: “The Olympics!” she adds, with that mix of passion, determination and assurance that people working in an F1 paddock would all recognise. “What happened made me even surer of what I want. I want to prove it to myself AND to others that I can do it.”
Before the big one, a closer date is circled in red on Serita’s agenda: “The World Junior Bobsleigh Championships in 2013”. To make sure all the chances are on her side, Serita is training hard: “I’m back to the weights at the moment”. The next one will be the G-force resistance, with 2, 3 and 4 G's not uncommon in bobsled racing. All of that with one idea in mind only: “Medals!” Best of luck Serita!
You can follow Serita on Twitter here.