In 1975 the motorcycle legend, Barry Sheene, suffered significant injuries including broken bones aplenty in a huge crash at Daytona. Barry proceeded to begin one of his greatest comebacks, from what could have ended his season, 49 days later at a little old race circuit called Cadwell Park. Barry went on to lead the race before retiring before the finish. This earmarked his comeback and the beginning of his journey to win two 500cc world titles.
52 years later the Thundersport GB army rolled into one of the most exciting circuits in the country as the King of the Mountain bank holiday weekender began at Cadwell Park. Worlds apart the story told here strikes a similar resemblance to the journey that Barry Sheene took all those years ago. This time the rider is Jordan Rushby, a young aspiring talent with a focus to be the best he can be and reach the very top of Motorcycle racing. Jordan entered Cadwell Park following two race weekends that resulted in multiple injuries and hospital care which set him back in points but could easily have ended the year prematurely. Significantly Jordan was passed fit to compete at Cadwell but still in the early stages of recovery from his second fractured spine in as many years ! Not the most simplest of injuries to brush aside !!
Jordan came to Cadwell eager to put the past where it belong and focus on a complete race weekend of progress, recovery and most importantly, points finishes.
The team rolled into Cadwell ahead of the weekend to get fully set up and prepared for the challenge to get Jordan back on the bike and begin the momentum following his injuries.
We caught up with Jordan and asked him how he was feeling before the race; " I felt fragile, I wasn't fit at all, but I was determined" There was never any doubt that he had given up hope to push himself through the pain barrier to kickstart his season once again.
Asking Jordan what his goals for the race weekend where, he calmly replied; "To be honest with you, I went with the intentions of finishing every race in the points and I did that, so I was over the moon reflecting on it. But it was frustrating to be riding round outside the top 10 at my local track where I know I can fight for podiums and do the times the front boys were doing"
It signified Jordans intent but showed his frustrations as his mind was keeping ahead of his physical ability, pushing forward with each lap through testing and gaining momentum in Qualifying to post some strong times which saw him finish just outside the top ten in P11 for the afternoons race.
Jordan posted out to his Facebook followers after the session "Struggling a bit with my back still. Got a bit of work to do to get me back with the front boys. Just glad I'm back out on my bike and will try to get up near the front before end of the weekend."
Jordan went on to say "I was stiff and aching every time I got on the bike. I was good for 3/4 laps before the pain kicked in" which was clear in how he was positioned on the bike at the end of each run.
One thing we know for sure is Jordan has a great technique from the lights so the qualifying position would only set the tone for the challenge ahead and lap 1 of the first race would see Jordan push forward into a position he could work from throughout the race.
We asked Jordan what was going through his mind before the first race. He was still focused on the task ahead and had this to say; "I had the mindset of finishing the race as best I could with the circumstances and anything else that came along the way was a bonus. Sure, I was nervous but this isn't the first time I've had a little set back in racing and I'm sure it won't be the last"
As Race 1 arrived, Jordan started fantastically well once again picking off a number of riders in the first few laps.
A red flag incident caused a race restart with 8 laps remaining and once again Jordan pushed from the line into P5.
Holding position until the final laps closed in Jordans times dropped slightly losing 2 positions quickly with a couple of laps to go but would hold on to take P7 and collect some strong points in the first of 3 races this weekend!
Jordan managed to put some stronger times in during the race and would find himself at the front of row 3 to compete in the two races on the Bank Holiday Monday. Changing conditions meant more of the same in the first race of the day but it was cut short due to another red flag incident.
Jordan made a bright start and pushed forward early on posting some strong times in the 1:34's.
The lead runners got quicker and quicker dropping into the 1:33's and then championship leader White took fastest lap with a 1:32 to win the race.
Jordan's times slowed progressively clearly showing the strains of the injury and the chasing pack pushed on meaning Jordan would come home in P12 at the flag. A frustrated Jordan knew he could have held the position in the top ten but the race slipped away and the most important things was to end across the finish line taking the points with him.
Race 3 was the polar opposite as the rain came and went throughout the day. The lap times were a completely different story for all riders with some picking up the pace in the drying conditions to run away at the front as others dropped significantly.
Jordan would remain on course to repeat the earlier result, finishing P12 and ending the weekend with good mileage under his belt and points to add to his overall tally so far.
Once the dust settled we had one burning question to ask Jordan; What did you enjoy the most about Cadwell park during the race weekend?
Jordan's enthusiastic response came from the heart... "I love cadwell park in general, it's a proper 'riders circuit' riding it no matter what's going on just puts a huge smile on your face. I love the fact all of my friends and sponsors and everyone come to it to watch and support. It's just always a mint weekend"
The championship table saw Jordan drop down since the last round as it began to open up with multiple challengers for the top spot. White would remain at the helm and Jordan now sits in a close 5th with so much more of the season to go and so much more to play for
As we shift our attention to the next round at Mallory park in a few weeks time we asked Jordan what we should expect from him as his recovery continues; "Before Mallory I'll be getting myself in the gym, getting myself fit. In my mind I'm ready to be fighting for them race wins. I'll be where I'll be at the end of the day, but my goal is to win the championship and that's what I'll be trying to achieve"
With this focus and determination we are sure to see an inspired Jordan take the midlands circuit by the scruff of its neck for sure.
It goes without saying that without a strong team behind you, in motorsport, it will be difficult to maintain a front running position throughout the year. We asked Jordan how his bike was feeling after his Dad, Nigel Rushby, and ever present Jamie Wilson had spent countless hours prepping and rebuilding in between the last round;
"The boys work tirelessly on the bike. The bike always feels mega, can't fault that. In fact at Cadwell I was the one holding back the podiums, the bike was more than capable of it, I just wasn't fit" A typical Jordan self evaluating his performance with a humble spirit that is ever present in the paddock with the team which extends to our very good friend Ben Crowe who is doing fantastically well in the GP1 Sportsman class
Our final question to Jordan continued around who he would most like to thank following the effort that went into Cadwell Park; "I wanna thank my dad and Jamie for getting the bike ready to race. I wanna say thanks to John Warrington for working Friday night putting a new engine in one of the two bikes. I just wanna thank everyone who came out and supported me and stayed out in the horrible weather of the last race. All of my sponsors as always. And lastly my girlfriend and my friends for keeping my spirits high throughout the weekend" A truly remarkable show of strength and a return from a serious injury to be surrounded by such an incredible group of people, this season has begun once again and not one of the team will give up on the belief that Jordan Rushby will be right there at the end.
We look forward to bringing you all of the updates of Jordans next race at Mallory Park on the 24/25 June in the fifth round of the Thundersport GB 600 Elite Championship.
As usual we would like to thank all of our sponsors and team for making this possible. We are lucky to be supported by some great national companies, who offer financial backing for our racing costs and product to help Jordan race at the front end of the grid.