MOTOR SPORT: CREWE rider Stu Wilson will never forget the opening race of his first full season in the British Super-stock series.
The 24-year-old experienced the joys of leading a race in front of 30,000 spectators and the pains of a dramatic 120mph crash.
Wilson admits he is 'on a vertical learning curve' in the British Super-bikes support series but only enhanced his reputation during an eventful opening round at Silverstone.
Wilson, who is being backed by German power tools manufacturer Metabo this year, qualified in 18th position on his Suzuki GSXR 1000.
Stu, a former European BMX champion and seven-times club karting title-holder, was leading the first race of the day before his spectacular fall.
'Everything was going really well and to be at the front of a race in front of so many spectators was something else.
'It was a real buzz. I was going well but had been having a few problems with the suspension on the bike. I hit one of the ripples on the track which have been caused by the Formula One cars and the speed they go at.
'I hit one of the ripples and lost my front end. I wiped out at 120mph and did about a dozen back flips before coming to a halt.
'I've broken a bone in the little finger in my left hand but I'm okay and will be ready for round two this weekend.'
Despite his fall, Stu succeeded in raising a few eyebrows, not least among his sponsors.
'I don't think the people from Metabo could believe the spectacle of the event and I think they were delighted by the fact I was leading the race.
'The fall was probably good publicity for them because everyone was talking about it. I think I was lucky to get away with only breaking bones in my hand.'
With rain falling on a dry circuit, Stu wasn't alone in failing to finish.
Only 12 bikes from the field of 30 took the chequered flag on a day of falls.
'It was an eye opener in many ways. I'm on a vertical learning curve really because I'm competing against 20-odd young riders of similar ability.
'The aim is by round four, which is at my home circuit of Oulton Park, to have a familiar race set-up for dry as well as wet conditions.
'This weekend will be interesting because I've never raced at Brands Hatch before. I'm raring to go.'