Paralympics: Alex Zanardi races to victory in hand cycling
Eleven years ago Alex Zanardi was being airlifted to hospital with two makeshift tourniquets tied around his legs. A former Formula One driver who had recently moved into CART racing, Zanardi had collided with another car and spun off a track the track in spectacular fashion.
As rescuers sifted through the wreckage they realised that the Italian's legs had been sliced from his body. He had lost so much blood that a priest began to read him his last rites on the way to hospital.
Today Zanardi was back on a motor sport race track. Under glorious blue skies at Brands Hatch he raced to victory in his hand cycling class in a race that pays testament to one of the motor world's most colourful and determined athletes.
Competing in the H4 handcycling time trial, the 45-year-old beat Germany's Nobert Mosandl by more than 27 seconds at Brands Hatch despite being a good two decades older than most of his competitors.
Zanardi took up handcycling five years ago and even with his advancing age has already won a slew of races including a silver at the World Championships in Denmark last year. He also won the New York marathon in 2011 and has sought to utilise some of the design technologies used in Formula One in constructing his racing chair.
He has also continued to race after his horrific smash. After designing himself a special set of prosthetic legs he returned to professional motor racing, winning four times in German touring cars as well as testing a BMW F1 machine in Valencia in 2006.
Given his love of motorsport the Brands Hatch course is one he knows well. Zanardi first competed at the famous Kent circuit as a young Formula 3000 driver 21 years ago in a time where many of his rivals in yesterday's race had not even been born. He also finished third at Brands Hatch four years ago in his specially adapted car.
In an emotional victory celebration, Zanardi got out of his handcycle and raised it high above his head. “Last time I was here I was going about five times faster but I still love this circuit!” he said.
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Follow the latest events from this Champions League fixture
Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind"
Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say
Luis Suarez: Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies from spine injury after doing somersault celebration
Arsenal vs Hull: Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan lead criticism of Arsene Wenger after 'uncomfortable' interview with Jacqui Oatley
Adel Taraabt criticism from QPR boss Harry Redknapp sparked by player walking out of team meeting prior to Liverpool game
West Brom vs Manchester United player ratings: Saido Berahino scores highest, whilst Marcos Rojo scores lowest
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments