If we had one bit of advice for Mark Webber, it would be to stay the heck off of mountain bikes and stick to winning grand prix races. The Australian Formula One driver, as you may recall, suffered a broken leg and shoulder when he crashed his bike in Tasmania late in 2008. The injury almost forced him out of the 2009 season, but he recovered in time for the start of the championship at his home race in Australia and went on to finish fourth in the standings – his best result up to that point in his career. You'd figure the close call might keep him from jeopardizing his career again, but you'd be wrong.
The Aussie contender just released his book, Mark Webber Up Front in which he revealed a second mountain bike accident earlier this year, the first time he got back on two wheels since the previous crash. According to Webber's account, he fractured his shoulder again after colliding with a friend while cycling offroad around the time of the Japanese Grand Prix. By the start of the race, the fracture had yet to recover, so he kept it secret from the public and from his team, took an injection and raced the grueling Suzuka track with the injury. If you picture how much an F1 driver gets tossed around the cabin and how much he has to turn that wheel, often against extreme G-forces, you'll have some idea of how excruciating the pain must have been.
Webber went on to qualify on pole and finish the race in second place – a remarkable result even without taking the injury into account, even more so considering the pain he must have been enduring. Given the revelation, though, we can't help but wonder if more harm was caused to the trust between the racer and his team than was inflicted on his shoulder in the first place.
[Source: Autosport | Image: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP]