HUDDERSFIELD racer Tom Tunstall has not given up on returning to British Superbike action this season – despite delivering the message from his hospital bed in Cambridge.
In avoiding a crash on the fourth lap of newly-configured ‘300’ circuit at the Norfolk race track, Tunstall hit debris on the track and his tumble left him with a double fracture of the pelvis and spinal damage.
However, despite his injuries, the 33-year-old from Denby Dale is not giving up on making a return before the end of the season.
“I’m in limbo as far as the rest of the season is concerned and obviously it is a significant setback,” said Tunstall.
“It is too early to say right now. To be honest to be walking with a zimmer frame already this week is a bit of a surprise.”
The new-look Snetterton track is reputedly one of the fastest circuits in the series and Tunstall had been happy with the way the Doodson Motorsport team and his BMW S1000RR were shaping up to the challenge.
“It was a case this weekend of trying to get used to the new Snetterton circuit,” said Tunstall.
“With the new layout there were only about three corners that we had seen before.
“So the weekend was really down to getting used to the circuit and we felt that we were making good progress with the bike through practice and qualification.
“But when it came to the race it was just unfortunate that on the fourth lap, coming out of the new Montreal corner, either I didn’t see the yellow flags as there had been a crash or it all just happened too quickly, but there was debris on the track and I hit it pretty much before I knew it.
“That threw me off the bike and that is where I did the damage. My pelvis was broken in two places and I also damaged the sacrum, a large triangular bone at the base of the spine which meets the pelvis, and it is all a bit close to the internal organs, but fortunately there was nothing damaged which is very good in some respects.
“Obviously what has happened is going to have repercussions as far as to the timescale to coming back is concerned, but we will find out in the coming days.”
The initial aim for Tunstall is to get home and he was hopeful of being back in Yorkshire this weekend.
“I was airlifted to the hospital in Cambridge and one of my main priorities is to get transferred back to Yorkshire as soon as possible so I can be close to my family and friends.
“But the issue is my pelvis and while I need to keep moving to keep my muscles from wastage, if I move too much I could do more damage.
“They will be taking more X-rays tomorrow and hopefully they will not have to resort to surgery – at the moment I’m just hoping that I can get through this without an operation.”
After bedding-in on his new bike, the season was beginning to pick up for Tunstall and he had gone to Snetterton with high hopes.
“It is a little ironic that the season was really beginning to take shape,” said Tunstall.
“We got off to a false start this season after breaking my foot in testing – prior to that it had been about four years since I broke anything which is good going in this game.
“But we got to grips with the new bike and the set-up and, by Croft, I was on the podium.
“And we had looked set to do the same at Thruxton, only to get knocked off, and we were feeling in good shape going in to the race at Snetterton.
“As far as the bike goes the major work had been done and for the last few rounds it was down to the small nudges needed to get the bike ready and in the bigger scheme of things we were making very good progress – so the accident is a great shame on a few levels.”
There was not too much joy for Huddersfield’s other riders at Snetterton.
In the British Supersport Championship Netherton’s Josh Caygill had to settle for 29th and 24th place finishes in his two races, in the National Superstock 600 Championship Jonathan Lodge also had a 24th place finish and Holmfirth’s teenage sensation Joe Irving, who has been making a big impact in the British 125GP Championship and Academy Cup, was down in 15th place.