Superbike ace Brad is fighting back after crash horror at Brands Hatch

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Brad Jones, British Superbike Rider

Stalbridge superbiker Brad Jones is gradually being eased out of an induced coma following his terrifying crash in a race at Brand’s Hatch. Brad, 23, suffered injuries to his head and chest and has undergone an operation at King’s College Hospital, London, to pin and plate his fractured pelvis. He was airlifted to the hospital following the first lap crash on July 24. It was only Brad’s third race in his debut season in the premier British Superbikes Championship. His parents Tim and Maxine and girlfriend Courtney Jones have been at the hospital since. Days before the crash, Courtney and Brad had put in an offer on what would be their first home together, in Sherborne. “The family are allowed in for an hour a day, but only one at a time, so they are allowed 20 minutes each,” said Bob Jones, Brad’s grandfather, at his home in Stalbridge. Bob said that, at times, Brad has been partially conscious as hospital staff regulate the amount of drugs he is taking on board. “At one stage, he squeezed his mum’s hand and was able to focus but then he is back into the coma,” said Bob. “He could hear, he could raise his hand. “He has punctured both lungs, has broken ribs and is breathing through a tube down his throat, which is making him agitated. “The doctors plan a tracheotomy to help him breathe. There was a little bleeding on the brain and he is having scans. He is coughing but the doctors think that is good. “He will be eased out of the coma gradually, all being well, but Brad won’t even know about that. They will tell him about the other broken bones later.” Brad works for his grandfather’s heating engineering business in Stalbridge and is known widely in the area through his house visits, as well as in the biking community. Such is his popularity that a fundraising page (justgiving. com/crowdfunding/ bradjones-20) set up to support Brad’s recovery passed its £20,000 target within a few days. The page is full of supportive and heartfelt messages from friends, the biker community and customers. Some even successfully manage to bring humour. “Come on Brad, keep fighting. My boiler ain’t going to service itself,” posted Adrian Brown. “The support has been overwhelming,” Bob told The New Blackmore Vale. “A lot of customers have obviously heard, and in Stalbridge I know people who don’t have much money but who have been giving what they can. “The support from riders and teams has also been humbling. It’s not just money, there have been so many messages of support, offers of transport – everybody has come together.”

Brad Jones, British Superbike Rider
THUMBS UP: A fundraising page set up after the crash raised £20,000 within a few days, such is Brad’s popularity in the local community and the motorcycling world

Brad, or Bradders, is a popular figure on the circuit, known as a likeable and unassuming person. He is very good friends with fellow biker Scott Redding, a well-known figure in racing, who has stacks of tattoos and a huge social media following. “The two of them are chalk and cheese in looks and temperament but they get on like a house on fire,” said Bob. “They regularly go for pushbike rides of 100 miles or more where talk of motorbikes is banned.” It was Scott who encouraged Brad’s cousin Lucy Calvert to set up a fundraising page to cover the cost of keeping Brad’s family with him, rehabilitation and any further treatment Brad may need in the future. Scott and friends also sold T-shirts, caps and stickers at Thruxton race circuit last weekend with the hashtag #KeepFightingBrad. Brad would have been racing at Thruxton that weekend on what is his home circuit. “Scott and Fraser Rogers (another biker) have been fantastic,” said Bob. “They were at Thruxton signing autographs or having selfies taken for £5 a time. Even Fraser’s mum was helping out. I’m sitting here in Stalbridge with a bucket of money they raised. There is £7,000 in there.” The family has said that any money donated will be used to give Bradley the best possible recovery, and that anything left over will be donated to the Air Ambulance and King College Hospital. But for now, it is a long wait for Brad and has family as life goes on hold. After initially staying in a hotel, Brad’s parents and Courtney have now moved into a long-term AirBnB opposite the hospital, saving on the hotel and its exorbitant car parking charges. “It was £50 a day and they never even moved the car,” said Bob. Also on hold is Bob’s boiler and Aga servicing business, which he has built up over decades, and is where Brad and his cousin Ollie worked. Except that Ollie has also broken his collarbone. “I’ve had to come out of retirement – but I’m only doing emergency callouts,” said Bob. “I’m doing very little – but I tell you, I was watching that race live on television, and I didn’t think Brad was going to make it when I saw the screens go up around him on the track. “Within 14 seconds of the first medic getting to him, the air ambulance had been called. “And a week or so later, Brad is still with us. There will be setbacks – but he is fighting.”

EXCLUSIVE
By Steve Keenan
newsdesk@blackmorevale.net

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