Hampshire & Isle of Wight

British powerboat racer 'may quit' after crash

A British powerboat racer says she is considering giving up the sport after being injured in a second serious crash in two months.

Shelley Jory-Leigh, 39, of Southampton, was in Sardinia for the latest leg of the Grand Prix season at the weekend.

During testing the boat came off a wave and on landing the bow shattered.

She suffered head injuries and a broken nose and her co-driver Patrick Huybreghts head injuries and a dislocated shoulder.

Both were taken to hospital but Ms Jory-Leigh has now returned to the UK where she will have to undergo further medical treatment. Mr Huybreghts is expected to make full recovery.

Image caption Shelley Jory-Leigh is back in the UK but will need further medical treatment

Ms Jory-Leigh had only just recovered from an accident in which she lost control of her boat during the final of the Malta Grand Prix of the Sea in Valletta on 13 June.

"This incident, coming so soon after Malta has made me reflect on my life as a powerboat racer and the dangers involved," she said.

"As many top water sports men and women know the sea is just so unpredictable.

"Although I take every precaution and train as hard as I can for each race nothing can prepare you for the feeling when you face real danger and life-threatening conditions.

"This incident has made me really appreciate my life, my family and perhaps the world outside power boating.

"It may be a long time before I get back into a competitive power boat. I have known what it is to win a British championship and perhaps that's enough."

Ms Jory-Leigh was travelling at 87mph (140km/h) in Malta when her boat hit a large wave awkwardly and Mr Huybreghts was catapulted into the sea. Both were taken to hospital.

The accident happened while they were on the ninth lap of the race in their 41ft (13m) Spirit of Belgium racing boat.

Ms Jory-Leigh, who presents BBC Radio Solent's H2O show and lives in Sarisbury Green, has been powerboat racing since 2002.

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