Quadriplegic gets hot lap of a lifetime

Jeff Watters with quadriplegic Justin Stevenson

Jeff Watters with quadriplegic Justin Stevenson in his Commodore Cup racing car at Sandown today

Quadriplegic Justin Stevenson has gone for the lap of a life time around Sandown Raceway today.

Stevenson, 41, broke his C4 vertebra when a speeding driver crashed into him at high speed on a Melbourne freeway on Australia Day, 2008.

The crash left Stevenson paralysed from the neck down, in a coma for 12 days and hospital for more than sixth months. Extensive physiotherapy has seen him regain significant control of his arms though he remains consigned to a wheel chair and 24-hour care.

Commodore Cup racer Jeff Watters owns a business called ‘Automobility’ which specialises in wheelchair conversions of vehicles. Automobility converted a VW road car for wheelchair use so Stevenson could travel to where he needed to go.

Today, around a sodden Sandown in Melbourne, Watters took Stevenson for a pair of hot laps in his V8 Commodore Cup racer.

“I figured that there was no reason why Justin couldn’t go for a run,” Watters said.

“He’s been in a light aircraft and even gone paragliding so strapping him into a race car seemed like something we could do and we’re glad we did it – it was a great experience for me and even better for him, I think.”

Justin was lifted in and out of the car by four people, and wore a foam neck brace to help support his neck during heavy cornering.

“It was incredible, I’m buzzing and will be for hours,” he said.

“It was a great thing to experience and I have to thank Jeff for the opportunity. It was a great experience.”

Commodore Cup, along with seven other categories are competing at Sandown Raceway this weekend in the Shannons Nationals.

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