WHILE he waits for his body to recover, ex-motorbike racer Russ Mountford’s mind is already set on his next challenge.
The 33-year-old was forced into quitting his high octane pursuits on two wheels after a nasty accident in November at the Macau GP street circuit left him with multiple injuries and a lengthy recovery.
But just a couple of months into recuperating at his Abram home, the itch to get back out onto the track is already proving too fierce to soothe and he is putting blocks in place to make a comeback – this time on four wheels as a superkart driver.
“It’s always been important,” Mountford said as he explained why he wants to put himself back on the grid.
“I’ve never not had something to focus on, I’m just one of these people, I can’t not do anything.”
Speaking with a broken leg, while other injuries to his sternum, wrist and pelvis, which was plated during a seven-hour operation, are still fresh in the mind, Mountford’s new focus offers a light through his recovery.
When you get told to stop it makes you think what you can do insteadRuss Mountford
For a man who has only known racing since childhood, losing it for good proved to be non-negotiable for the dad of two-year-old Emie and partner to Natalie, who has two other children, Kian, ninne and Thea, eight.
“It’s the first time since I was a kid it hasn’t been the case – my life has been bikes,” he said.
“When you get told to stop it makes you think what you can do instead and I’ve done some karting in the past – not serious stuff but with mates.”
But it would be wrong to think climbing into a kart represents a drop in intensity for Mountford.
A 250cc engine may not sound a lot but the power units are capable of launching a super kart from 0-60mph in a shade under three seconds and they can reach an eye-watering 155mph.
But entering the British Superkart championships is the safer option after Mountford’s accident on his 1000cc Honda Fireblade which left him needing to be treated in the Conde S Januario General Hospital in China.
“Superkarting is the closest sensation you are going to get to being on a bike,” he explained.
“They use a bike engine and are nearly as fast as a bike but you’re on four wheels so it’s a little bit safer. I looked into it a few years ago but to go karting and race bikes would have taken up too much of my time.”
“Now I’ve properly looked into it and I met up with the guys who run the British championship at the Autosport Show.
“The chairman of the British Superkart club has been emailing me, he wants to get me on the grid and has been sending me links to karts for sale and things like that.
“It is long track karting so I will be on the same circuits as I am used to, such as Oulton Park.”
Mountford is due to attend a test session at Oulton Park on February 17, so he can get a feel for the sport before the season starts in April. The HGV driver will then begin ticking off items on his shopping list, including a kart, and focus on his recovery.
“I’ve seen a go kart for sale with spares and my family have said go and get it - it will give you something to focus on,” he said. “We have a long road in front of us but we are debating whether to go and get it.
“The British champs want me involved and it would be ideal for me - I’m not one to do sport just for the sake of it - I want to be in competition.
“I’m hopefully going to be fit some time in the next few months - and hopefully back on the track if we get everything sorted and I can get back into work.”
After his body took so much damage, a return to racing would represent an incredible comeback for Mountford.
Watching footage of laps of the Macau GP street circuit, from racers’ GoPros and dashcams, shows a fast, tight circuit which is narrow and enveloped in high walls in many parts.
And the viewing makes it easy to see why recovery isn’t a straightforward process.
“The main thing I’m having trouble with is my leg,” he said. “My sternum is okay, my wrist is okay - my leg is the only thing that hasn’t healed.
“I’m starting to worry a bit but I’m having another check soon – they might have to take some screws out, which is not a massive operation but it’s more surgery so it’s not ideal.”