‘When I broke both legs that was one of the worst pains I’d had’ – King’s Lynn Stars’ Lewis Kerr
- Credit: IAN BURT PHOTOGRAPHY
You know those things people used to put on their desks which stated 'you don't have to be mad to work here, but it helps'?
Designed by, and for, speedway riders apparently.
Lewis Kerr laughs at the suggestion that men who sit on a bike with 500cc of muscle power underneath them and no brakes may just have a sprocket missing.
But he knows better than most.
Last summer, as he was really hitting his straps for King's Lynn Stars, he crashed. This was no ordinary crash: hitting an air fence at full speed left him with a badly broken leg and foot. Bad enough for the meeting to be abandoned.
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Bad enough for you? Three years earlier Kerr had to be put into an induced coma for three days after sustaining a bleed on his brain after an accident – proof that the 29-year-old, from Snettisham, is one tough cookie.
What last July's crash did was end his season, just as Lynn were heading towards the top of the Premiership table – they would, ultimately be beaten in the Grand final by Poole but in many people's books they were the best team in 2018.
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Kerr had to watch the final stages of the season from run-in: it didn't sit comfortably.
'It was a bit of a killer really,' he said. 'I came to every meeting to support the boys. I didn't want to be left out because I had done half the year, but they were really good to me and kept me involved as if I was still part of the team, but it was a killer watching them winning and wanting to be part of it. It is a shame what happened in the grand final, but maybe we can do a better job this time.'
That grand final defeat – not helped by injuries to two other key riders, Niels-Kristian Iversen and Michael Palm Toft – will provide added drive in the coming weeks as the Stars look to go one better.
'It certainly spurs me on,' adds Kerr. 'I remember watching those home meetings and saying to my wife, how much I wanted to be out there and how hard I was going to work in the winter to make sure I was. It has been really tough but I have worked hard and I am looking forward to it.'
Given the serious nature of those crashes, Kerr could be forgiven for being in two minds over the prospect of getting on a bike again. But the nature of the speedway rider beast suggests the thought never occurred to him.
'I didn't find it hard getting on the bike at all really. The minute you start thinking like that you shouldn't be out there.
'Yes, there were some dark days during the winter where it was 'why me again?' and that sort of thing. Neither crash had been my fault and I was wondering when my luck was going to change. There were days like that, but it just spurred me on to work harder and have a better season... hopefully.'
So, are you all a breed apart, slightly mad perhaps?
'A lot of people say that don't they,' says Kerr with a smile.
'When I broke both legs that was one of the worst pains I'd had. I still remember the last thing I shouted among all the swearing was 'just give me morphine'. I still remember it. Normally if I crash I get straight back up – I think that is from my motocross days, when you crash, you get back up and get back out there. So I always jump up, but I knew what I'd done.'
Kerr has had some warm-up meetings, but it's down to the real thing when the Stars head to Ipswich's Foxhall Stadium on Thursday night for their first test of 2019 – a Premiership Supporters Cup tie.
'We are a good solid team and I don't see why we can't go one better this year – and hopefully I'll make it all the way this time.'