Disabled but Still Riding and Racing
September 05, 2012
Sloansville, New York's Bill Ingersoll started riding dirt bikes at age 7, switched to 3-wheelers at age 14 then on to four wheels on a Honda 400EX in 2000. Like many die-hard ATV enthusiasts do he started racing motocross and cross country events. He then moved through the local ranks and got serious enough to purchase the first made-for-racing quad from the big four, a 2004 Yamaha YFZ450.
Despite not having the funds, connections and resources to compete like many riders do, in 2007 he decided to see how far he could go on a national level. The same year he accomplished what many wish they could, he won his class at the Unadilla AMA ATV MX National.
In 2008 Bill decided he would skip most of the 2008 events and devote the year toward getting ready for an all-out assault on the 2009 Nationals. He worked 70 hours per week and purchased and built a full-on racer and practice quad. His plan was going well. In preparation for what would have been his breakout season on the national scene, he decided to run the remainder of the 2008 NEATV-MX Series and a few local races, where he would get his 2009 program dialed in a little early.
Unfortunately his breakout year wasn't meant to be. On August 22, 2008 another rider collided with Bill during a practice session at a local supercross race leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
He is now disabled but his passion for the sport of ATV racing and recreation continues. With that, we fired a few questions at him and discovered quite an inspiring story from quite an extraordinary individual....
You're living what is probably the biggest fear that riders try not to think about when they suit up to ride or race. How have you dealt with your horrible accident?
It was difficult at first, you literally have to relearn every aspect of life. Initially I had not realized the injury was not just walking, I now had to become aware of injuring any portion of my body I could no longer feel, and due to the lack of mobility you do not heal as fast because circulation is not as good nor are your bones as strong because you're no longer putting weight through them. I soon began to realize how different life now was and how much thought and planning I was going to have to put into even the smallest detail of my everyday life. It was too much to swallow in one shot when less than a week earlier I was walking around care-free with no worries, it was a long process to fully grasp the situation and learn how to live with it. Fortunately it has not slowed me down much.
I know I speak for everyone reading this, I really feel for you. It's a life-changer that I wish on no one. Did riding again ever cross your mind at that time?
Thanks. It did, I figured at some point I would ride again, but I have to admit, initially I would say I was bitter about it what happened. You can only sit in the house watching TV for so long before you get bored and want your life back.
When did you take your first ride after the injury?
It was probably December of 2008. I rode a snowmobile a bit, then in about March of 2009 I got a quad and I began riding again.
|Bill used to practice on an ATC 200X on his backyard track.|