Burned
by Gary Graham

After returning from the Gulf War I decided that it was time for me to get involved with Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing, You know the type, 175MPH knee dragging fun at its best and thatís just how it was for the first few years, but sometimes the need to win outweighs any thoughts about safety. I was racing in a 4 hour endurance race which requires coming into the pits at high speed for refueling every hour, and after performing this task many times before I had no doubt that this time would be just like the others. The problem started just after stopping the bike, as this is the time when they dump fuel into the tank and on occasion you end up with fuel spilling into your lap, which makes for some discomfort while racing, but up until this stop it was no real danger (or so I thought).

Some how the high octane fuel had spilled from the tank onto my legs and on the red hot titanium exhaust pipes and ignited with me sitting on the bike with a full tank of racing fuel between my legs. Now if that didnít get my attention the intense pain from the burning flames sure did, and I jumped from the burning bike, stopped and looked at the flames rising from the motorcycle and wondered why I was still in so much pain. What I failed to notice (my helmet blocked all downward view) is that my legs were still on fire. At this point I think I could have passed any of the race bikes on the track while on foot, but I stopped, dropped, and rolled until the flames went out.

The result of the accident was deep third degree burns to my left leg, and deep second degree burns to my right. It took a total of 4 months to heal as well as three operations.

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