I was shocked to hear about Mark Webber’s savage accident today. On a fast descent on his bicycle, he collided head on with a 4WD vehicle while competing in his Tasmania Challenge. It sounds like a really nasty shunt and it left his right leg badly broken. He has had surgery to repair it, a metal pin inserted and it will be a lengthy rehabilitation. It’s probably along the lines of the surgery Barry Sheene had and although there is no bright side to an accident like this, it’s probably just very fortunate that it was not his left leg, which is the braking leg for an F1 driver. There are many corners in F1 where the driver needs to put 90kg of pressure into the brake pedal, so the left leg needs to be very strong and it would take more to rehabilitate that one, I’d imagine.
Mark is a very keen cyclist, he rides road and mountain bikes as part of his training for F1 and this event in Tasmania is a really stiff physical challenge. He’s the kind of bloke who likes to push himself to the limit physically and doesn’t hide from a challenge. He’s relentessly self critical too. Earlier this year he went riding with Lance Armstrong in the hills around Monaco and related how Lance said to him, ‘Right, now it’s time to go into the hurt box,” at which point he took off up a steep incline, pushing his body to the limit. Webber went after him and said later he knew exactly what “the hurtbox’ was that day!