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Friday, 22 August 2014

Walney motorcycling legend Les looking to get back on track after heart bypass

JUST six months after undergoing an emergency quadruple heart bypass, Walney motorcycling legend Les Trotter is back on track.

The 70-year-old has received the all-clear from his cardiologist to stage a remarkable return to the sport that has dominated his life for more than 50 years.

But while his reconstructed heart might be up to the rigours of racing, the bigger challenge could be convincing his nearest and dearest of the merits of a possible comeback.

“The only difficulty I’m going to have next year is with my daughter (Helen Johnston) because she’s threatened that if I ever get back into racing motorcycles again, she will put me in hospital,” he said with a laugh.

“I foolishly promised my wife (D’reen) and my daughter after the operation that I was finished, but now I’ve got better I’m seeing things in a different light. My excuse is that when I made that statement I was full of morphine and hallucinating and I didn’t know what I was saying.”

The TT ace, who has raced all around the world but is perhaps best known for his famous win in the 1976 Senior Manx Grand Prix, dramatically collapsed in April while at The Forum for a coffee.

He immediately recognised the symptoms – chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath and pins and needles – as a heart attack.

He was so ill he genuinely thought “if I closed my eyes, I would die”.

But after being operated on at Blackpool and nursed back to health by “the angels” at Furness General Hospital, the lure of the track is as strong as ever.

The Dominion Street resident has already successfully taken a road bike out for a short spin “just to see if I could still do it” and is now contemplating a return to competitive racing when the season starts next year.

“It’s not a sport, it’s a bloody disease,” he said. “I have to retire some time, but the bottom line is I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do.

“I’ve had a damn good career and done everything I wanted to do. I’ve won in the Isle of Man and got a podium at Daytona.

“The problem is when you get on a racing motorcycle you think you’re 18 again and it’s only when you get off and creak you realise you’re not.

“But I would like to go out with a win.”

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