A COMBINATION of injury and work commitments has forced Netherton racer Josh Caygill to call time on his Supersport career.
The 2012 British Superbikes season proved promising and then very painful for the Vancraft Triumph rider.
The season had seen steady improvement for the 23-year-old, with a superb points scoring run out at Snetterton in May.
Supersport Championship points were also in the bag from a 14th place finish in the first race at Donington Park in early September, but the second race at the East Midlands circuit was to prove traumatic.
On lap nine Caygill was looking to make up ground only to come a spectacular cropper.
“It was one of those situations where the crash had nothing to do with me, but I got caught up and was left with nowhere to go,” said Caygill.
“Three of us went into a corner but the rider on the inside missed a gear and that caused the rider in front of me to sit up and adjust and I had nowhere to go and ended up going straight over the handlebars at 130mph.
“At first they thought I had broken my neck, in the end I had broken my shoulder blade, cracked some ribs, my collarbone was a bit misshapen and there was quite a lot of soft tissue damage.
“The specialist just said that I was very lucky to walk away from the crash.”
It was a comment that has shaped Caygill’s view of the future.
His injuries kept him out of the final three British Superbike meetings of the season and, while Josh has been hard at work getting back to fitness, the time away from the track has prompted some big decisions.
“As far as the injuries go things have been going well and I am ahead of schedule in terms of getting back to fitness,” said Caygill.
“My rehab work has been coming along nicely, and have been doing a lot of work pedalling on a static bike just to try and keep myself sane and I am probably as fit as I ever have been.”
However, like all racers, this is not the first time Josh and his bike have been parted and, along with the decision of The Vancraft Triumph British Supersport and Superstock Team to retire from the racing paddock last week, his immediate future lies away from racing.
“The team is a family concern as the owner and manager is my dad (Andrew), and he was also wanting to take a step back,” explained Josh.
“I work full-time for the family business VW Vancraft in Cleckheaton, and in many ways it has been a family decision.
“But I have to think about self-preservation – I also have to not believe I am Superman – and I have a lot to live for.
“I have been racing since I was six years old and I have hurt myself countless times, but I have thankfully always walked away.
“I am still in good condition but just now I need to take a step back and not be constantly hurting myself.
“Missing this year might not do me any harm.”
Caygill knows he is going to miss the annual tour round Britain’s racing tracks but just wanted to thank those who have put him on the track over recent seasons.
“It is a bit of a shame to be retiring because we had a lot of riders interested in joining the team,” said Caygill.
“We have full-time staff and you have to think of people and there are so many it would not have been possible to race without their help and support.
“I’d like to thank them all enormously. Steve Clifford and all his team at Feridax, Paul Mousell Shoei Race Service, Shoei Helmets, Sidi Boots, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Steve and Jo – SMUK, Jane Gorick and LPR, Mick Wilson along with Peter Loxam and all at Norbert Dentressangle, GB Racing, Fuchs Silkolene, Doodson Insurance, Mark Roberts from RST Moto Direct, Dan Wheeler and Dread for all the race wear over the years.
“Last but not least a big thank you to Guy Masters, Andrea Friggi and all of the team at Triumph Motorcycles for their support over the past few years.”
But you can’t help but feel that like all racers Josh might not be too long away from the track.
“I am devastated not to be racing, but I have got to look at the bigger picture,” he added.
“At the moment I just need a bit of time – but you can never say never!”