• Donnington Grove

#TheBigEvent Guest Speaker Christopher Ganley on My Life-changing Incident

“I joined the army in 2006 and was a soldier in 1st battalion the Rifles. I served in the Falkland Islands just after my 18th birthday and was deployed to my first tour of Afghanistan in 2008. After returning in April 2009, I served in Cyprus before heading back on tour.

During the next few years I trained and served in various locations including Kenya. I was training to become more qualified in my job roll. As I was going through the process, my company Sargent Major, who raced for the army on motorbikes invited me to a few race events to work on his bike. In 2013, I went to the Isle of Man Manx GP to help two riders from the army race team compete in this race. Having always had a love affair with motorcycles, this event made me realise that I wanted to race at a competitive level.

During my time serving in the Army, I was involved in a serious incident on my road bike. The severe injuries obtained saw me put into a medically induced coma for 1 week. Once I awoke from my coma, I struggled to work out where I was and what had happened. My right arm was in a cast from the tips of my fingers to the top of my arm and was placed on a stand.  As I tried to remove my arm from the stand with my left hand, I realised that I had lost my arm in the incident.

The life-changing incident saw my left arm ripped off on impact and my right arm had to be rebuilt from just below elbow. I also suffered a broken back in 3 places, bleed to my frontal lobe, broken ribs, popped lung and a severe nerve damage down the left side of my body.

During my rehabilitation at Headley Court, a centre for injured soldiers, I was spending my time working out simple things like tying my shoe laces and buttering bread. Such tasks I found more difficult than working on a motorbike. I used the opportunities at Headley Court to rebuild my muscles as I was preparing to ride my bike again.

Determined to ride again, even whilst sitting in my hospital bed, I designed a way I could ride my bike with only one arm. Once I was released from hospital, I immediately started stripping and rebuilding my bike I bought for racing. I started adapting it to see if It was possible to use as a race bike.

Five months later, I had my bike back. I took the bike to a track to see what I could do with one arm. After a day of testing, I wanted a bigger and faster bike to carry on my dream of racing. I bought a new Yamaha YZF R1, now named the aRm1, and started racing in 2017.

Christopher will be doing his talk at #TheBigEvent this year on 14th September! Book Now