See the wheelchair that helps Billy Monger stay on track to motorsport stardom
Following a horrifying crash and the amputation of both his legs, young racing driver Billy Monger was determined to remain active and pursue his dreams. With a little help from Draft Wheelchairs and Ottobock UK, Billy is returning to his beloved sport of motor racing.
18 year old Billy Monger caught the racing bug when he was just a child, participating in karting competitions, before rising through the ranks to join Formula 4 as a teenager. On 16 April 2017, when he was just 17 years old Billy was left in a critical condition after a serious crash during a Formula 4 race at Donnington Park. Colliding with a stationary vehicle, Billy’s crash led to the amputation of both of his legs, one below the knee and one above. Staying true to his persevering and ambitious nature, Billy has continued to pursue the sport he loves. Early on, he sought out a prosthetics company that would create a specialised racing leg for him so that he could get back to driving and he recently achieved a podium finish in the opening race of the British F3 championship at Oulton Park.
For any amputee, having the right tools is an essential part of the rehabilitation process and wheelchairs play a central role. Billy’s wheelchair allows him to get in and out of his racing car whilst wearing his specially-designed racing leg, which is designed only for use in the car and not walking around.
Billy’s wheelchair is a Wolturnus W5, designed by the Danish wheelchair company whose clients include British Paralympic wheelchair athlete David Weir. Tailor made for every individual, the W5 is a light, robust rigid wheelchair which is designed to maximise the energy that the user puts in. Wolturnus wheelchairs are distributed in the UK by Ottobock, a leading mobility company. Robert Redgewell, Retail Business Development Manager at Ottobock UK said “We couldn’t think of a better wheelchair for somebody like Billy who is active and needs a chair that can adapt to the varied nature of his daily life. We hope that Billy’s rehabilitation journey and all of his hard work are able to give hope to people who may be in a similar situation, facing mobility issues for the first time in their lives.”
The chair was supplied by nationally recognised mobility specialist Draft Wheelchairs, a company with many years of expertise in providing wheelchairs and sports equipment to active wheelchair users. Steve Kenyon from Draft helped Billy to choose the perfect design for him. Steve said “for us, welcoming Billy to the Draft family was a natural fit. We were so impressed by his dedication and enthusiasm to return to sport, and we think that he sums up our vision, which is to promote independence and enable easier, more active lifestyles.”
Of course as an 18 year-old used to being at the heart of British motorsports, the team made sure that Billy’s wheelchair was customised just like the cars that he drives. “We definitely upped the cool factor on this one,” says Steve, “the colour (Porsche mint green) is close to his heart as it’s exactly the same as his racing colour. The wheels have been upgraded too.” Not only is Billy’s new wheelchair tailored to Billy’s personal style, the team at Draft have also made sure that it provides maximum functionality to Billy as he continues his journey towards rehabilitation. The seat position has been adapted and the board that Billy’s residual limbs rest on has been shaped to suit the different lengths of each limb, to make sure he is as comfortable as possible in the new chair.
Billy added “It’s been great to work with Ottobock and Draft on my new wheelchair. My ultimate goal is to get back behind the wheel of a racing car and push myself as far as I can possibly go, and this going to be an important part of my journey.”