Billy Monger Turns Adversity Into Triumph

When you’re touted to be the next Lewis Hamilton, the world should be your oyster. However, Billy Monger’s world came crashing down on him before he celebrated his 18th birthday. Billy, like most young lads in the motorsport scene, had set his sights on getting into Formula 1. Having started karting at a very young age, ‘Billy The Whizz’ was a successful racer in the Ginetta Junior Championship, which is a one-make racing series based in the United Kingdom.

Image credit – Sky News

In 2016, he joined the F4 British Championship, securing three podiums and finishing 12th in the championship. But in April the following year, at Donnington, he was in one of motorsports’ most horrific crashes. Billy’s car crashed into the stationary vehicle of Finnish Patrick Pasma at 120mph!

To give you an idea of what happens to an average family car if it crashes at 120mph, it would look like this:

A crash test done by Fifth Gear to show an impact of an accident at 120mph. Image credit – dailymail.co.uk

See the heart-stopping video of the crash from Billy’s POV.

Just imagine the excruciating pain he must have been in as he was trapped in the car for over 90 minutes! Help came from every direction as they rushed to remove him from the wreck. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital and even though he went through numerous operations, doctors were unable to save his legs.

A JustGiving page was set up by his family and friends. Formula One superstars like Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Felipe Massa and others lent a helping hand to get Billy the necessary care, treatment and therapies by amplifying the message.

Billy Monger and Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 British Grand Prix. Image credit – Sky News

Last December, Billy was honoured at the FIA Prize Giving Gala in Paris, receiving the President’s Award from Jean Todt eight months after losing his lower legs. The President’s Award is given to those who have “displayed courage, determination and sportsmanship but to also include those that have contributed greatly to the broader FIA community”.

This story is not only about his crash but also the remarkable turnaround by a person so young. He said on his 18th birthday: “All the support just makes me more determined to get back in the car and get racing again. That’s the goal.”

Barely four months after his terrible crash, he made his return to the tracks when he tested a Fun Cup Volkswagen Beetle, adapted with additional hand controls at Brands Hatch.

Billy says his dream of reaching F1 remains unchanged. He told Sky News: “My focus is on driving in F3 next season, we are working on a budget for it and long term I want to get into F1.” He may have lost his legs but he has won our hearts. Let Billy’s story be an inspiration to us all.

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