Photos - Laben Photography
November 2012 should have put an end to promising Southland Speedway rider Adam Shuttleworth's brief career. The then 15 year old had come through the ranks at Oreti Park Speedway, following in his older brother Daniel's footsteps, he claimed back to back Burt Munro Challenge Trophies in 2009 and 2010 in Junior Solos, and was earmarked to be a future star of the sport.
Unfortunately this all came to an end at a club meeting when Adam had a horrific accident, hitting the concrete wall feet first at full throttle, prior to the days of the now life saving air fence.
Adam was rushed to Southland Hospital with multiple injuries and underwent emergency surgery before spending days in the critical care unit. Adams injuries included over twenty breaks in his leg, multiple breaks in his pelvis, broken arm, hand, knee, leg and two breaks in his back, he would be lucky to walk again let alone race speedway.
Adam spent over a month in hospital and was wheel chair bound for a number of months, before the long recovery of walking took place, but Adam was always upbeat and determined to get back up and going again.
He had amazing support from the entire Speedway community, including the then World Champion Chris Holder who sent Adam various items and had Adam join him at the World Speedway Grand Prix in Auckland.
Through the entire ordeal Adam was positive he would be back to fight another day and November 2015 after having all his titanium rods removed he was given full clearance to race again, a decision that left parents Warren and Sharleen more than a little nervous, but backed Adam on his return.
With Adam now 18 he had to go directly to the senior ranks, he knew it wasn't going to be an easy task getting back on the bike, at his come back meeting he was as expected a little gun shy, but he showed no signs of being scared off from the accident.
Adam picked up a couple of third placings, but more importantly he stayed on the bike, much to the relief of his parents, Adam said "his body felt fine, there was no pain but he felt a bit buggered".
Roll on 2016 and Oreti Park Speedway host the Southland Championships for Sidecars, Solo A grade and Solo B grade which Adam is entered in. Adam was instructed by his father Warren "just to take it easy, stay on the bike and just do the laps", this is pretty much what Adam did, picking up a few minor placings to bank some points.
As the races went by Adam's confidence started to grow, even managing to secure a win in the heats to book enough points to make the winner takes all final.
The final had talent across the entire field, Adam lined up against Paul Highstead, Zane Pay from Invercargill and George Congreve of Christchurch, Adam got a great start and passed his challengers on the outside of the same corner he had his accident in, putting the demons of that day to past.
He managed to hold onto the lead throughout the final despite making contact with the wall in the last lap, while under immense pressure from Congreve, claiming the Southland Championship, an amazing comeback to what was a career ending accident.
Just moments before the final Adam's brother Daniel won his maiden Southland Championship in A grade Solos, giving Adam that little bit more motivation to win.
While Adam is still a little shell shocked by the result, he knows he still has alot of work to do, but this is the confidence booster he needed as he looks to once again progress through the Speedway ranks.