Never say never
Funny the way things happen in life. Things that pop up out of the blue. Sometimes the last thing on earth you might think. A few years ago Yvonne Montgomery had just such an experience.
She had gone to a friend’s house for a barbeque and on arriving she saw a motorbike parked outside and started talking to the owner, Now it’s a conversation that might not have happened had her circumstances been different. Yvonne had come to the party alone as she’d recently separated from her husband. She told the owner quite genuinely that she’d always fancied a go on a bike but the opportunity had never arisen (no it wasn’t a chat up line she promises!).
A few days the bike owner lived up to his promise and Yvonne found herself on the back of his bike and having the time of her life!
“I couldn’t believe the speed of the bike when I was on it, the acceleration which felt like it went from nought to 60mph in seconds. At that point all I knew was that I didn’t want it to stop…”
Spurred on by her new found love of speed she determined to take her test which she duly did and passed. Fast forward a couple of years and Yvonne found herself on her first track day which didn’t end well. A broken arm and leg slowed her progress, but not her enthusiasm, because in a few months she was lining up on the grid with a group of racers.
One of those unique breed of Irish road racers, she lives for the next race. More often than not she’s the only woman on the grid which at times can be ‘difficult’.
“When I am competing it is against 30 blokes as there are only four other women racing, and the guys do not want you passing them. There is no leeway given to a female rider. They don’t want to suffer the embarrassment and slagging they would get if a woman beat them.”
But beat them she does.
Now what is even more impressive is that that chance encounter with the bike owner happened when Yvonne was not 27, but 47! More impressive still though is the fact that Yvonne competes in the TT and that last year she passed the 60 mark! And now to completely blow your mind ponder this.
Just weeks before that significant big birthday she was taken out by another competitor who ‘tucked’ his bike behind her going into a corner. His bike went underneath hers while she was at the apex which turned her bike into the safety bales. You can see the results at the top of the page…
What you can’t see are the injuries she sustained which included four fractures in her pelvis, severed artery in her face, broken scaphoid and ribs. The bike not surprisingly was wrecked but fortunately the engine survived and as all racers do, she pushed hard to get out racing at the Ulster Grand Prix 6 weeks later.
“The pain was unreal but I achieved my goal of racing competitively on Thursday and Saturday at the UGP.”
And so enthusiasm undiminished, Yvonne is looking forward to a new season’s racing because as she puts it “I’m addicted”. All we can do is sit back in wonder and imagine what might have been if she’d seen that bike twenty years earlier. But what more can you say no than maximum respect and we’re proud to be a part of Yvonne’s racing journey.