Did anyone see the BBC programme about Billy Monger last night (BBC 2 documentary ‘Driven: The Billy Monger Story’ Monday 19 October at 9pm)?
Billy first got behind the wheel of a vehicle at the age of three, when his father, a former kart racer, bought him his first go-kart and had been racing vehicles in one form or another since the age of 8 until just before his 18th birthday when he was involved in a horrific crash. Billy hit a stationary car while travelling at over 100mph resulting in him having to have both legs amputated.
The resemblance of his story to that of Sir Douglas is in many ways uncanny following that horrendous accident. Billy who, like Sir Douglas, lost one leg above the knee and one below, was as determined to get back behind the wheel of a racing car as Sir Douglas was to get back in an aeroplane. Both had to do battle with the authorities to get the rules changed to allow this and both succeeded. Sir Douglas eventually persuaded the RAF to let him fly whereupon he proved himself to be one of the most successful WW11 pilots and Billy has persuaded the authorities to let him race again. Hopefully he will go on to have the same success on the track as Sir Douglas did in the air. He is learning to master a bespoke hand-controlled racing car so that he can recapture the feeling of speed that he loves and, unbelievably, is already competing successfully again. The Bader spirit in spades and we wish him every success.
Movingly, Billy thanked everyone who had helped him following the crash saying:
A huge Thank you to each and every every one of you! ….The one true hero of this tragic event has been my sister Bonny who gave me the will to keep fighting! A value that I will continue to hold now…and for the rest of my life. Billy Monger
More from the Sun Reporter, 19th November 2018:
Billy, from Gatwick, was heavily involved in kart racing from a young age.
He competed all over the UK and the Channel Islands before he joined the F4 British Championship.
The young racing driver, referred to as “Billy The Whizz”, was also a successful Ginetta Junior racer.
Since his move to the big leagues in 2016, he took three podiums and finished 12th in the championship.
But on April 16, 2017, he was involved in what was described as one of British motorsports most horrific crashes resulting in a double leg amputation.
Defeating all odds, Billy walked part of the track where he crashed into another car on prosthetic legs just months later.
In December, less than a year on from the crash, he received the President’s Award from FIA President Jean Todt.
The gong is given to those who have “displayed courage, determination and sportsmanship but to also include those that have contributed greatly to the broader FIA community.”
The following month it was announced brave Billy was returning to racing and aimed to take part in the Formula 3 championships in the 2018/19 season.
He said: “My focus is on driving in F3 next season, we are working on a budget for it and long term I want to get into F1.”
On March 31, 2018, Billy achieved a podium finish in the opening race of the British F3 championship at Oulton Park.
What happened at Donnington Park?
A terrifying video shows the moment Billy smashed into a stationary vehicle at 120mph during the Formula 4 championship race in April 2017.
He was trapped inside his vehicle for more than 90 minutes at the Derby racetrack, before he was airlifted to hospital in Nottingham.
Although he underwent a series of operations, doctors were unable to save his lower legs.
In a tweeted statement after the crash, Billy said: “The marshals, medics, doctors, air ambulance and extraction crews at Donington along with all the staff at the Queens medical centre – what can I say?
“Without you guys I wouldn’t be here today! I will always thank you for saving my life.”
What’s the JustGiving campaign for Billy The Whizz?
A JustGiving page was set up by the Monger family, Steven Hunter from JHR Developments, Nick Armstrong and Tom Ingram, to raise money to help the young lad return to a “full and active life”.
Describing the 18-year-old, the page reads: “Billy is a complete one off, a cracking young man with a spark that makes it impossible for anyone not to like him.
“Full of spirit, Billy is one of those people that instantly lights up a room. His positive, plucky outlook on life is not only hugely endearing but also incredibly inspirational and it’s phenomenal to see how respected and loved Billy is.
“Having always been a fighter Billy has already overcome big hurdles in his career – struggling for budget Billy has fought his way into top flight Motorsport.”
Formula One megastars Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button both got in touch with Billy to personally express their support.
- BBC iplayer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p06qx4gt/driven-the-billy-monger-story
- Billy Monger crash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoD8-yjgeGM
- Billy Monger on his return to racing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvK9_eDDRTc