Dan Sayle retires from sidecar racing after 2018 Classic TT crash

Dave Molyneux and Dan Sayle
Dan Sayle competes with Dave Molyneux at the 2017 Southern 100

Eight-time Isle of Man TT winner Dan Sayle has retired from sidecar racing following a horrific crash in 2018.

The 38-year-old received life-changing injuries in the high-speed incident at Ballaspur in the solo Lightweight race at the Classic TT meeting.

Sayle, who made his TT debut in 2002, said the lasting effects mean he will "never sit on a sidecar ever again".

He also revealed he has been suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since the crash.

"I was going through flashbacks from the hospital and trauma from that crash. I developed PTSD and I still am suffering with it," said Sayle.

Over the winter, however, he opened up to his family about his ongoing issues and has since started treatment, which he described as a "difficult and delicate" process.

Dan Sayle and Dave Molyneux
Dan Sayle (left) won many of his TT titles with driver Dave Molyneux (right)

He has not closed the door on competing on a motorbike at the Classic TT again but said he needed to "slow things down" and let his body recover.

Sayle is the most successful Manx sidecar passenger in TT history and has also won three Manx Grand Prix races as a solo competitor.

But he suffered numerous injuries in the 2018 crash, including a fractured skull, broken spine, leg, arm, pelvis, knee, two punctured lungs and more.

Doctors thought he might never walk again and more than 18 months later, he is still wearing a cage on his left leg and awaiting reconstructive surgery on his shoulder and a new kneecap.

Back to racing

Despite the after effects of his injuries, Sayle returned to racing on a motorbike at last year's Southern 100 less 12 months after his crash and also competed in the Junior and Lightweight races at the Classic TT.

"I had in my head I would get myself back on a bike and it might stop [the flashbacks]," he said.

Concerned the painkillers he was taking would result in a positive doping test, Sayle stopped taking medication and resorted to using alcohol to help him sleep throughout his comeback.

Dan Sayle
Dan Sayle has won sidecar and solo races on the Mountain Course at the TT and Manx Grand Prix

"I think I was scared of sleeping. I would normally last two or three nights and then I would go on a massive bender to get me through it," the Manxman said.

"I got through it but, if anything, it did not get better it got worse."

Racing at the Classic TT last August "brought everything into context pretty quickly" for Sayle and led him to the decision to end his sidecar career.

"There's that much broken bone-wise in my back and my neck and my skull. I don't have that capability anymore," he added.

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