Ian Hutchinson to miss 2023 season on medical grounds
Isle of Man TT star Ian Hutchinson is to miss the 2023 racing season on medical grounds after suffering a stroke while cycling in Spain as a part of a pre-season training schedule.
The 16-time TT winner had been due to ride for TAS Racing at this year’s Isle of Man TT, as he had in 2022, but has since had his licence revoked as a result of the incident during training.
Hutchinson, 43, posted on his Instagram page at the beginning of March that he felt ill while cycling in Spain and attributed fellow British Superbike rider Jason O’Halloran for ‘saving his life’. The post read: ‘Had a stroke while cycling in Spain 2 weeks ago. Jason saved my life. All good now, thank you more than I can ever believe mate.’ Australian O’Halloran responded with: ‘You’re a tough bugger.’
The Yorkshireman’s racing career has experienced both extreme highs and lows, with his 16 TT wins making him the fifth most successful rider of all time in the event, including winning five races in a week in 2010 – a feat yet to be repeated. However, a horror crash at Silverstone in British Superbikes later that year resulted in a severely broken leg, which almost resulted in amputation.
Five years later he was back to winning ways at the TT, winning back-to-back trebles in 2015 and 2016. A pair of wins in 2017 kicked off race week in style, before a crash at 130mph at the 27th Milestone in the Senior TT caused Hutchinson to re-break his left femur, and resulted in his left ankle being removed.
A statement from TAS Racing said that Hutchinson had already made a ‘remarkable’ recovery and had been cleared to drive his car, but protocols within the sport mean that the ‘Bingley Bullet’ must sit on the side-lines for the next 12 months. He shall still be in attendance at both the TT and the North West 200 to represent both the team and its sponsors.
“First and foremost our concerns are with Ian and we look forward to supporting him on his road to making a full recovery,” said TAS Racing team principal Philip Neill. “Clearly we are disappointed to miss our first Isle of Man TT in 23 years, aside from the Covid years of course. Everything was in place for this year’s event together with Milwaukee and our other valued partners. We now look forward to finalising our plans for the North West 200 and another British Superbike season.”
While TAS Racing will not compete at the TT this year, it will still compete at the North West 200 in May – following the event’s recent reinstatement – with Alastair Seeley. The Carrickfergus rider is the most successful competitor in North West 200 history, holding an impressive 27 wins around the 8.9-mile Triangle Circuit, and will also wear TAS Racing colours once again in the British Superbike paddock, competing in the National Superstock 1000 Championship.