Millimetres away from death

Joe Faragher back home following his accident in this year'sTT Races. Below, with partner Susie Fargher and daughter Maisie-Jo

Joe Faragher back home following his accident in this year'sTT Races. Below, with partner Susie Fargher and daughter Maisie-Jo

A doctor described it as the worst neck injury he had seen anyone survive.

But just over three weeks on, TT racer Joe Faragher is back home again with partner Susie Fargher and four-month-old daughter Maisie-Jo.

Joe, who is 26 and lives near Baldrine, was riding a JKJ Honda Fireblade, number 84, when the accident happened on lap two of the Superstock race on Tuesday, June 3.

The incident, on the approach to the 26th Milestone, also involved Karl Harris of Sheffield, who died of his injuries.

Joe suffered multiple fractures but the big cause for concern was a huge neck gash from barbed wire fencing at the side of the road which chipped a vertebra before bouncing off and exposing the jugular vein.

‘The doctor said he could see the vein pulsating and he could put his hand into the wound and touch my windpipe,’ Joe said.

‘I was unlucky to crash but aside from that I’m very lucky to be here. It seems unreal. It’s hard to take it in.’

Apart from a fleeting memory of one of the marshals telling him he was going to be all right, as he was loaded into the rescue helicopter, he has no recollection of the accident.

‘I remember a few things from Noble’s Hospital. I don’t even remember starting the race,’ he said.

‘It seems I borrowed a marshal’s telephone while I was lying in the field and called my dad (five-times TT sidecar winner Nick Crowe’s former sponsor, Andy Faragher). I don’t remember doing that but I must have remembered the number because it was not my telephone.’

Mr Faragher Sr and Susie were both at the TT Grandstand at the time.

‘I knew to the exact minute when he should have been in for his pit stop,’ Susie said.

‘So when he was late I was worried. You just get that big wrench deep down in the stomach when you know something has happened. I checked on the live timing and he hadn’t gone through the Bungalow. Then I saw the pit crew stand down so I called his dad and asked him to find out what had happened.’

Andy added: ‘I was on my way up to the race office to find out what had happened and I got a phone call. It was from Joe and he said, ‘‘I’ve crashed on the mountain and hurt my leg’’.

‘It didn’t sound too bad. Then I went along to the hospital and it was like a scene from a horror movie,’ he added.

‘When I went in there and saw Joe’s neck I was just horrified.’

Joe is full of praise for the care he received both at Noble’s hospital and at Whiston in Wigan where he was transferred by air ambulance two days later.

Surgeons at Noble’s set to work sewing up the neck wound which, though stiff and still sore, has healed amazingly well with minimal scarring.

Joe said:‘I’ve got vague memories from in the helicopter and in Ward 11. Gary Johnson came to see me and he kept getting told off by the nurses. But the first proper memories are from three days later after I was taken to England.’

At Whiston they operated on his leg to repair a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula as well as doing skin grafts where the bone had exited the back of his leg. His blood-stained leathers and scored helmet are testament to the effect of the barbed wire. In addition he damaged his ankle and has a ‘stable’ fracture in his back, meaning he currently has to wear a support when standing. Nerve damage means he has limited movement in his left arm and can’t lift it above shoulder height but that should improve in time.

He also has several broken ribs. ‘I’m not sure how many,’ he said. ‘But I could hear them crunching when I was being sick.’

He’s currently taking 27 pain killers a day and has to return to Whiston in a few days’ time where an external fixator (cage) is to be fitted to his broken leg.

Fortunately his business partner will be looking after their building firm for the time being: ‘There are still bits and pieces I can get on with for the business but no manual work for the time being,’ he said. ‘And in six weeks’ time I will be able to put weight on the leg again.’

In the meantime, black-humoured friends have created a home made ‘Disabled Parking’ sign at the end of his drive, supported by two crutches.

Is he going to race again? ‘I’d love to do it again,’ he said.

‘But if I do go back, I want to make sure I’m fully fit first. I don’t want to struggle with it or be a danger to me or anyone else.’




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