Royce back on home soil

Thanks to the amazing work by the staff at Aintree Hospital, we now have Royce back on home soil to start the rehab process in Adelaide.

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PIC: Even after the tediously long flight, Royce and Beth had a smile after landing back in SA

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We’d like to thank everyone for their well wishes over the whole period and the continued support through Royce’s recovery.

Catching up with Royce over a Nippy’s juice and frog cake, he said, “Home sweet home! The last few weeks spent in Liverpool I was pretty ready to go home.

“Beth and I were both getting a bit homesick, but the nurses were doing a great job keeping our spirits up and so were the messages from home.

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PIC: An honourary red

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“The day trip out to Liverpool city was freezing! But was great to get out for a cheeky Guinness and a wonderful feed.

“The physio work I’ve done in the hospital has brought me to my feet and slowly hobbling around now, but still lots to go to get my muscle back.

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PIC: The rehab is well underway

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“Plenty of Maccas and fatty foods will be had to try and aid in my plight to put back on the 20kg I lost.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone that sent messages or spoke to my family to pass on well wishes, I really appreciated it all and it gave me that little extra encouragement to work hard and get home.

“Cheers everyone, it will take a bit more than this to keep me down!”

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PIC: Seeya later, Aintree!

Baby steps for Rowe recovery

After working hard to build strength back up in his injured body, Royce has been transferred from the Critical Care Unit to the Major Trauma Ward at Aintree, and is making good progress.

 

Whilst recovering, he will remain in the UK. Due to some of the procedures undertaken after the incident, there’s a certain recovery time that must be adhered to before being allowed to fly, so he’ll be staying put until at least mid-December. By that stage he should be much fitter and have an easier journey home.

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PIC: Royce with his latest accessory at Aintree Hospital

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The support from the racing community in the Isle of Man and the UK has been overwhelming, with many people contacting and visiting Royce.

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PIC: Just some of the Manx GP marshalls who were at Alpine corner to assist Royce at the time of the incident. We thank all of them (some not pictured) who went above and beyond for us during the difficult time immediately after the crash and subsequent days following.

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Mum, Debbie and partner, Beth have been residing at the hospital accommodation since the incident, and have had many people take them out for shopping or lunch breaks. People from home have also been sending their best wishes and providing support, which is greatly appreciated.

 

We’d especially like to mention Ali Hay, who has made a number of long trips from Cumbria to Liverpool with supplies. Wyn Evans and Will Kneen have also given up much of their time, and Island Express has gone out of their way to assist us. The Ducati Owners Club of South Australia and the Manx Grand Prix Supporters Club have also provided kind assistance throughout Royce’s recovery, which has been a massive help.

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PIC: Royce and team member Simon Milazzo during practice week, who has been providing an enormous amount of support to us behind the scenes.

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Since the incident, we’ve had the task of preparing the bike for shipping from the Isle of Man back to Australia. Ryan Cringle spent an entire day helping Les retrieve the Triumph after it had been impounded and then released. That job would have been impossible without his assistance and are profoundly grateful for Ryan taking the time out to help us.

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PIC: Ryan cleaning off about half a ton of the best Manx soil and several litres of oil from the bike before shipping.

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We’re also very grateful to the staff at Aintree Hospital who have provided outstanding care which is regarded as world’s best practice. We understand racing is a dangerous sport and are lucky to have Royce still with us – many doctors have had a hand in his recovery, but the initial protection came from the quality of his gear. Nothing could have prevented the injuries totally, but we recognise the quality of Furygan leathers and Shoei helmets which proved to be outstanding.

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PIC: Royce and Rosie the aid dog hanging out

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Now awake and conversing huskily as his lungs repair slowly, Royce had this to say while sipping on his blended full-English breakfast smoothie, “Slowly but surely I’m making progress. My lungs have increased in size a little. Coughing fits have subsided, with only a little phlegm coming up from the infection which we have seemed to beat.

“The displaced rib of my broken ribs can cause me a little grief when on my back but seems to have healed well. I can say I’m a proper biker now having broken my first collar bone! It has healed well with a nice bend so you clearly see it was broken as proof!

“My legs are slowly getting stronger with the right in a moon-boot and the left femur being able to weight bare. Physios are getting me to walk a bit very slowly using a pull pit machine.

“My scaphoid is still in a cast, probably for another week or so. I had a hearing test because when I woke from ICU my hearing was gone in the right ear. The test confirmed that the impact my head had in the crash damaged my inner ear which is unfortunately permanent. When we get back to Oz, hearing aids seem to be the way to go… or a large megaphone.

“Apart from that I’m tip top! The hospital plans to get me on a vigorous rehab program very soon, so that should get me up and about a lot more.”

 

Once again, the team would like to thank every single person who has gone out of their way to help or just check-in on Royce and the family. We’ll provide further updates as Royce continues to improve.

Royce showing signs of improvement

It’s now been three weeks since Royce’s incident at the Manx GP and he’s thankfully beginning to show signs of improvement.

Late last week, the doctors felt Royce was stable enough to begin lowering the amount of sedation he was receiving. It’s been a slow process, but he’s slowly coming to.

Each day he seems to get better at communicating, initially just by mouthing words but now has built up the strength to quietly talk.

Strength has also slowly built in his chest, meaning his breathing has improved dramatically.

With that said, due to the tracheostomy, he’ll still need some help for a little while until eventually removing the tube altogether so the entry-cut can heal.

The planned surgeries to his ankle, collarbone and ribs will no longer be needed as too much time has passed and the injuries have begun to knit themselves. His ankle was set and plastered from the beginning, so hopefully the only thing affected are his dance moves… which couldn’t get much worse.

Once the doctors feel Royce is ready and has the necessary strength, the rehab will begin. The hospital staff are keen to get him moving as soon as possible to ensure it’s a smooth and successful recovery.

The family again would like to thank all the individuals and organisations that have sent well wishes and offered support in their own incredible way. The support shown to Royce and his loved ones over this time has been amazing.

Update on Royce’s condition

It’s been just over a week since the racing incident that landed Royce in Aintree University Hospital, Liverpool, where he remains in the Critical Care Unit (CCU). While the family have kept positive throughout, it’s been tough watching slight progress be made, only to be dealt another harsh blow of further complications. It’s the classic two steps forward, one step back scenario.

Monday’s planned surgery to his ribs was not proceeded with as the potential benefits did not match the stress it would have placed on Royce, given his overall health and other injuries still causing discomfort.

The other remaining operations on his clavicle, hip and ankle are also on hold as we keep him stable.

This is very much a game of patience, as we wait for Royce to repair himself sufficiently to move to the next step. We know his determination, so have faith it will happen eventually.

The plan over the next couple of days will be to gradually take him out of sedation, but he still won’t be able to communicate for some time yet as he remains in CCU for a few weeks.

The staff at Aintree have continued to provide amazing support throughout this tough journey, including giving Mum, Debbie birthday cake earlier in the week. Not the nicest place to spend a birthday, but I think everyone guessed her wish!

The doctors at Aintree recently made comment that they’ve never had a patient for whom they’ve received so many calls from fans asking how they were. Although being a comforting sentiment, unfortunately the hospital is unable to release information.

It’s likely that it may be a few weeks before there are any major developments as it is a long road, but we will keep people updated as news comes to hand.

Royce’s condition improves, but still a long road to recovery

Since arriving at Aintree Hospital, Liverpool, Royce has undergone a successful surgery to mend his broken femur and pelvis.

While these were our main points of concern early on, as well as the lungs, there were also fractures to Royce’s collarbone and ankle that we knew would need minor surgery eventually, which is now planned for this coming Monday.

While things are definitely improving, it’s tough to see him still under heavy sedation. This is to assist his lungs in recovering properly, given the amount of pain he’ll be in when waking up.

Tests have been conducted by staff to ensure he’s responsive and in true Royce fashion, he passed with flying colours. After Monday’s surgery, the plan is to gradually ween him off the sedatives and allow him to wake up slowly.

The medical staff at Aintree have been, and continue to be, terrific and are confident Royce will make a good recovery, however this will take some time.

We are very grateful to the many people who have enquired about Royce’s condition and have sent love and best wishes.

A special thanks goes out to our friends Laura and Chris who were kind enough to drive Debbie and Beth (Royce’s mum and partner) to Aintree Hospital from the ferry.

Back on The Island as we dealt with Royce’s situation, we saw a magnificent gesture by the winner of the Senior Manx Grand Prix, Nathan Harrison, who mentioned Royce and wished him well in his victory speech.

From here, we’re hoping for a successful surgery on Monday and the chance to finally speak to Royce once he slowly comes to. There will be further medical plans to come and hopefully some timeframes from doctors, which we’ll keep everyone posted on.

Incident update following Tuesday, 27 August practice

Although recovering well from illness and being back on the pace for his MGP Lightweight class, the Rowe Racing Team regrets to announce that Royce has unfortunately had another incident on the Isle of Man in the MGP Junior/Senior practice session overnight.

Heading out on the Triumph, Royce came off on his first lap at Alpine, a very fast, sweeping right-hand corner.

He’s broken his left tibia, the ball joint of his right hip (subsequently breaking his pelvis) and all the ribs on his right-hand side – which has caused his right lung to collapse. There is also a break to his wrist, and a number of lacerations and abrasions to his body.

If anything can be considered lucky out of the incident, he did retain consciousness throughout and has no brain or spinal injuries.

He wasn’t able to talk much as he was in severe shock and heavily sedated by the time the team reached him. He was first treated at Nobles (local Isle of Man hospital) where the staff were fantastic – we can’t thank them enough. However, to be safe and due to the difficulty of treating the hip injury, he has been airlifted to Aintree Hospital in Liverpool. The family will be flying over ASAP.

The support from everyone on The Island has been great and we thank everyone for their well wishes through this trying time. We’ll provide more info as it comes to hand.

Resting up for the big dance

First the rain was hampering our campaign and now Royce is feeling under the weather! He was admitted to Nobles Hospital late on Sunday with what is believed to be a serious case of food poisoning.

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PIC: They kept my old room for me!

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He spent nearly five hours in there on a drip but doctors are confident that he will recover quickly, however we are going to have to monitor the situation. It may affect our programme if he doesn’t recover his fitness as soon as possible, but we have faith that Royce knows his body well enough to make an educated call.

Last night (Monday) we had the opportunity to go out for a single practice lap at the end of the days classic races but Royce still wasn’t feeling 100%, so we decided to sit it out.

Instead, we found a good vantage point to watch an epic Classic Superbike race. After leading most of the way, Michael Dunlop retired just a couple miles from the finish to see our friend Dave Johnson take the win.

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PIC: Hoping this fog lifts and we get a sunny couple of race days! (Credit: Deb Lock)

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Due to the time lost Monday morning because of fog, we have four laps of qualifying scheduled for Tuesday, which was supposed to be a day off for rest. It’ll be two on each bike, as long as Royce is feeling up to it.

The racing then starts on Wednesday, so we’re all hoping he’ll be ready to give it his best shot! Luckily, we’ve got another rest day scheduled for Thursday, before a big day of racing on Friday.

 

SCHEDULE FOR TUESDAY 27TH AUGUST 2019 MANX GRAND PRIX

11:30: Roads close around the Course

12:15: Manx Grand Prix Newcomers (A,B) Race (4 laps) & C (3 laps)

14:45: Manx Grand Prix Senior and Junior Qualifying (2 laps)

15:30: Manx Grand Prix Lightweight / Ultra Lightweight Qualifying (2 laps)

16:45: Roads scheduled to open around the Course

 

 

Super Saturday

After a week of poor weather, it was fantastic to get out for two laps on each bike Saturday morning in perfect weather. As the day went on, it got really warm – not Aussie warm, but enough for the Poms to start sunbaking!

The team is still sorting the Triumph out, but it’s going well. The Ducati is now fixed and back on song performing well. After the late night and hassle of missing our second session, we found it was a ten cent fuse that had broken… annoying, but such is the foils of racing on The Island – it’s a little further back to the pits compared to Royce’s usual trailer ride at Mallala!

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PIC: A flying Duc in the sun (Credit: Tracey’s Pics)

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During first practice, Royce managed to pass John McGuinness on the Duke. McGuinness was riding the immaculate green Paton, which he then piloted to the Classic Senior chequered flag in the afternoon.

As with all sessions, the day didn’t go exactly to plan. We somehow tore a front tyre on the Ducati, but Royce and team still are not sure what caused it.

We also damaged a front tyre on the Triumph when Royce clipped a kerb through Kirkmichael.

Not wanting to miss out on the party, the pit crew then managed to show support by sustaining a punctured tyre on the van – Rowe Racing Repairs sprung back into action!

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PIC: “Yep, it’s definitely flat – do we need glue?” – Royce showing off his mechanical knowledge.

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The second practice scheduled in the afternoon was cancelled after a red flag incident at Ballaugh stopped the Classic Senior TT. It’s lost time, but respect for the Mountain and fallen competitors comes first.

So, with the Saturday afternoon off after a busy couple of weeks, the team went down to Hillberry to watch Bruce Anstey win the Classic Lightweight TT.

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PIC: Our local viewing spot at Hillberry.

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Tomorrow (Sunday) we’re working on the bikes and checking everything before a final practice session on Monday at the usual 6.20pm timeslot. Then, the rest of the week it’s time to race!.

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PIC: The Trumpy is improving after every lap (Credit: Tracey’s Pics)

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Monday 26th August – Roads Close at 0930 hrs until no later than 2100 hrs

 

10:15hrs Junior Classic TT Race 4 laps

 

13:00hrs Classic Racer Magazine Classic TT Lap of Honour 1 lap

 

14:15hrs RST Superbike Classic TT Race 4 laps

 

16:15hrs Manx Grand Prix Newcomers A Race 4 laps

 

Manx Grand Prix Newcomers B Race 4 laps

 

Manx Grand Prix Newcomers C Race3 laps

 

18:20hrs MGP Senior/MGP Junior Qualifying (No Newcomers)       2 laps

 

18:55hrs          MGP Lightweight & Ultra Lightweight Qualifying (No Newcomers)2 laps

 

The Battle of Ramsey

What a hectic day on The Island!

After the inclement weather earlier in the week, we had been granted two sessions for Friday – one in the afternoon and one in the evening, giving us a chance to get four laps in on both bikes.

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PIC: Royce on the line, finally staring into a blue horizon.

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The first session was on the Ducati. This was its first run since we arrived and it performed extremely well, Royce lapping just behind leader Dave Butler. Royce’s 110mph lap has given the team some much needed confidence heading into race week. Most of all, it was good to just get out there!

It was then time for the Triumph, which performed well following a few suspension tweaks. Royce is still lapping well, sitting in the top 20 riders as he slowly increases pace in certain sections. We changed the oil in the Triumph in a carpark just after the first session to be safe.

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PIC: Rowe Racing Repairs – We come to you!

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In the evening sessions, Royce was out on the Ducati first up and it was running well, allowing him to slowly build rhythm back up. Unfortunately, this was short-lived as he broke down at the Ramsey hairpin – basically the other side of The Island from the pits.

Royce managed to ring Les and tell him where he was. The recovery operation got underway as Les and Brian headed out to Ramsey, leaving Brian there to look after the bike, and then racing back to get Royce into the pits before the second session (MGP Junior/Senior on the Triumph) which had subsequently begun, ended.

It was quite the drive and we returned to the Paddock just as the session closed, missing it by literally one minute. Locky and Mark had the bike idling and ready at pit exit as we’d phoned them to tell them we were almost there but just missed it.

We then had to get back to Brian once the roads had re-opened, not getting there until about 10pm.

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PIC: No rest for the wicked!

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The team are now working through the night to get the Ducati fixed in time for an early practice session tomorrow (Saturday). The team have an inkling on what the issue may be, but obviously won’t take any chances on the Mountain Course, so will be checking the entire bike over for outliers.

Although losing two valuable practice/qualifying laps on both bikes isn’t ideal, Royce is still in high spirits and had this to say:

‘The morning started off well, with two solid laps on both bikes.

‘It was great to get some saddle time on the Duke, I felt comfortable on that quickly and will just keep building things up slowly. I’m still finding my groove on the Triumph but am just making sure I don’t rush the process of getting back to my old pace. It will come with time.

‘The evening session was a bit frustrating with the bike losing power coming into Ramsey, forcing me to retire. Ah well, plenty of track time for tomorrow!’

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PIC: On the pipe, boy! (Credit: Tracey’s Pics)

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The announcement came through not long ago that Saturday’s racing will have an amended schedule to account for some additional practice. The timing now runs as follows:

 

REVISED RACE DAY SCHEDULE – SATURDAY 24TH AUGUST 2019

11.00: Roads close around the Course

11.30: Classic TT Superbike and Lightweight Qualifying (2 laps) & Manx Grand Prix Senior and Junior/ Newcomers A Qualifying (2 laps)

12.05: Classic TT Junior Qualifying (2 Laps) & Manx Grand Prix Lightweight/ Ultra Lightweight/ Newcomers B&C Qualifying (2 laps)

13.15: BENNETTS SENIOR CLASSIC TT RACE (4 laps)

15.30: Back to the Future: The Hizzy Years Commemorative Lap

16.10: DUNLOP LIGHTWEIGHT CLASSIC TT RACE (4 laps)

18.10: Classic TT Superbike Qualifying & Manx Grand Prix Senior & Junior/ Newcomers A Qualifying (1 lap)

18.25: Classic TT Junior Qualifying (1 lap) & Manx Grand Prix Lightweight/ Ultra Lightweight/ Newcomers B&C Qualifying (1 lap)

19.30: Roads scheduled to open

 

After finally seeing some track time, the followers back in Oz have been flicking channels to find the best source to hear Royce.

As reported, Manx Radio is great for listening, along with manxgrandprix.tv for cool live footage. In terms of live timing and Sulby Speed Trap, we’ve found that live.iomttraces.com is great – you just need to sign-up with an email address, then pick the session and class you’d like to keep track of.

We also would like to thank every single person who has been showing support over the past few weeks! We’re all run off our feet here, so it’s sometimes hard to reply or pass on news in a timely manner. But, after just ticking over 1000 Facebook followers and regularly getting a couple hundred readers for each post on this blog, the support is well felt!

More rain hampers extended practice

After a soggy few days, the Clerk of Course had planned a double session for Thursday to help make up for lost time.

Unfortunately, the morning weather didn’t want to play ball and the extra early session was therefore canned. So, we waited around throughout the arvo for the evening session.

Just before the roads closed, there was a traffic accident on the mountain, so the start of the session was delayed by an hour.

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PIC: With the cold and rainy weather, The Duke stayed in bed all day.

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In the meantime, the rain returned and visibility dropped.

The Clerk of the Course decided to let Classics and Manx Grand Prix Lightweights out on an untimed sighting lap, but most Lightweight riders (including us) decided against it as the roads were too wet all around the course and there was nothing to be gained.

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PIC: A pink pub in Peel.

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We’re hoping for a double session tomorrow but will run the Ducati on a dyno first thing in the morning just to give it a blast and check it over before we get on track.

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PIC: Royce talking to Irishman Dave Butler in Parc Ferme waiting for the session to begin. Dave is starting the Lightweight class at number 5 (Royce is starting at 6) so we’ve been setting up alongside each other all week.

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Royce had this to say about another frustrating day on The Island, “We were so close to getting out tonight! It’s hard for me and the crew to get geared and amped up to go racing and then to pull the plug at the last moment.

“A bit of frustration hit tonight, with a delay due to a crash up on the mountain mile. The lap available out in the wet wasn’t gonna do us any good – there’s nothing to learn from it, so we decided to give it a miss.

“Tomorrow’s double sessions should supply some good saddle time finally.”

 

As it stands, the official statement for Friday’s riding is as follows:

Gary Thompson had already confirmed the additional Friday afternoon session due to the time lost earlier in the week. The confirmed schedule for qualifying for the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix tomorrow (Friday 23rd August 2019) is as follows:

12.30: Roads close around the Course

13.00: Classic TT Senior & Junior/ Manx Grand Prix Lightweight & Ultra Lightweight/ MGP Newcomers B&C qualifying

14.30: Classic TT Superbike & Lightweight/ Manx Grand Prix Senior & Junior/ MGP Newcomers A qualifying

16.30: Roads opening around the Course

18.00: Roads closed around the Course

18.20: Classic TT Senior & Junior/ Manx Grand Prix Lightweight & Ultra Lightweight/ MGP Newcomers B&C qualifying

19.15: Classic TT Superbike & Lightweight/ Manx Grand Prix Senior and Junior/ MGP Newcomers A qualifying

21.00: All roads open around the Course