They see me rollin’…

While it may seem like Groundhog Day in Noble’s Hospital for Royce and his mother, Debbie, slow progress is being made with his injuries and each milestone is getting the pair closer to returning home to Australia.


PIC: Royce getting vacuum-sealed before a shower – “You’ll stay fresh nigh three weeks, lad,” said local butcher, Paddy O’Reilly


The hospital staff have been great in making Royce’s stay as comfortable as possible thus far. Since the last update, Royce’s right-leg can now bend at 50 degrees and his left an impressive 70. The two braces used on his legs have a notch at the knee which is moved a click at a time while Royce builds up strength and mobility. The cast on his right-wrist has now been removed, but is yet to bear weight with the hand and overall movement is still limited.


Had the accident happened back in Oz, now would be the time Royce could go home to relax before starting weight-bearing physio back at the hospital. Due to flight restrictions of being able to bend your legs 90 degrees and load-bear on at least one leg, it’s not possible. As there’s no real need for Royce to be taking up space in the hospital, the plan for the past fortnight has been to move him to the Joey Dunlop Foundation (JDF) House, which is now happening tomorrow. It’s been a long stay, but he’s excited about a change of scenery.


PIC: The Joey Dunlop Foundation House at Braddan Bridge on the Isle of Man


The JDF has been a great support to us in the past and does a lot for racing on the Isle of Man. The JDF accommodation at Braddan Bridge House is purpose built for less able lodgers to have somewhere to stay when the TT and Manx GP is on, or just when visiting the picturesque Isle. The rooms offer bed hoists and bathroom facilities are wheelchair friendly, so it will make for a comfortable and convenient stay. Royce will be sharing a room with mum, Debbie and has a service bell ready to ring when pillows need fluffing or soup needs cooling. Royce will still need to visit the hospital often once he begins weight-bearing physio, so the use of maxi-taxis will become a regular occurrence.


To make getting around easier, Royce has taken arrival of a new wheelchair that can be self-propelled by one arm. He can scoot around the hallways and will no doubt become stronger in his left arm – handy for the Ducati dry-clutch.


PIC: Royce’s first outing on his new set of wheels… just needs some performance parts for those long hallway straights


Lots of people and organisations have been extremely generous in offering their best wishes and support to Royce and Debbie. There are too many to list, but dozens of locals have made the effort to come visit, support and assist in many ways. Even those abroad who have sent care packages, cards and flowers are all extremely appreciated.


In the coming weeks, we’ll have an update from Royce’s new digs and hopefully will be receiving good news about the leg recovery.

Road to Recovery

With all surgeries complete, Royce now begins the long road of recovery. While the staff at Aintree University Hospital have been fantastic, Royce has been moved back to Noble’s Hospital on the Isle of Man.


Taken by plane, similar to Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service, it was just a short flight to the Isle. Currently, the UK has a virus spreading through hospitals, so Royce has been given his own room just in case – which he’s obviously not complaining about!


PIC: While his arms and legs are beaten-up, Royce was very lucky not to sustain head or spinal injuries


While the short flight was do-able, Royce can still not bear wait on his legs, so the risk of a blood-clot while on a flight back to Australia is far too high. The next month of recovery will involve purely resting up and basic exercises, before then beginning the next stage of rehab – upping movement and pushing to get muscles moving again.


Mother, Debbie took the ferry back over to the IOM to stay with Royce. She has been put up by our friends, the Kneens and can’t thank the family enough. The IOM has become a second home over recent years, so both Royce and Deb feel very welcomed and relieved to be back on the Island.


PIC: “Here comes the aeroplane…” – Nurse Beth


Sadly, both Royce’s partner Beth and Father Les had to fly back home to Adelaide, Australia over the weekend. Beth has been a rock for Royce since the accident and hasn’t left his side. While the initial shock was extremely traumatic, Beth was fantastic in relaying information back home to family members and has since made sure Royce is comforted during a pretty scary time.


There will be slow headway made from here, but keep an eye out for updates on Royce’s progress.

Racer on the Mend

After an eventful week, Royce has made it through all his planned surgeries and is on the long road to recovery. After initial scans at Noble’s Hospital, Isle of Man, Royce was air-lifted to Aintree University Hospital, Liverpool, to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed the exact injuries.


The operations on his legs lasted approximately seven hours, both knees being a lot worse than expected. Unfortunately, the right femur had been forced downwards, causing extensive damage to the knee cartilage. Although painful, it is far less life-threatening than the bone being pushed upwards internally. The wrist operation was also a success, but has left Royce in quite a bit of pain and almost fully bionic.


PIC: Royce is now a certified Scouser since being laid up in Liverpool the past fortnight


With the body needing time to repair, Royce won’t be able to start bearing weight on his legs for a couple of months and most likely be in hospital for about three. That being said, physio has already begun with doctors getting him slowly to move limbs and sit up. For those that have been through significant injuries before, it’s understood that while being painful, this type of exercise will contribute to Royce getting back to full health sooner.


Going forward, the plan will be to move Royce back to Noble’s Hospital on the Isle of Man to begin his physio. We are just waiting for a med-flight and bed to become available which could be any number of days. The hospital staff have been fantastic, but from here on it really is up to Royce to push himself through recovery. The Rowe family have some great friends on the IOM, so residing there for the next few months will be much homelier for Royce and Mum, Debbie.

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PIC: Team member Ali made Royce a Manx symbol medallion using the earthing-wire from the infamous lamp post


The Triumph itself didn’t fair quite as well. The team needed an angle grinder just to get it to fit inside the crate ready to ship home. After recovering the wreck from Union Mills, telemetry on the bike shows the speed was approximately 160km/h at the point of impact with a force of minus 4.5 G’s.


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PIC: What’s left of the lamp post at Union Mills


Every spectator, ambo and marshall at the scene of the crash offered to help in any way they could when Les Rowe returned to the area to collect the bike – all were extremely glad to hear Royce was recovering well from what they described as a horrendous crash to witness. Well-wishes have flooded in from all around the globe, including the competing racers Royce was dicing with at the time. The team would like to thank everyone that has offered kind words, as every little bit helps and is appreciated by the family.


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PIC: The rest of the Rowe Racing Team have now waved goodbye to the Isle for another year


While there is a long road ahead, we’ll keep everyone updated on the latest improvements and movements from Royce. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, he’ll be back in Oz to spin a yarn on his 2017 Manx GP exploits.