One week after a horrific crash in which he lost his leg, Stuart Scoular is setting himself a challenge to get back on the road again.
In an exclusive interview with the Herald, the 41-year-old said the crash at the Targa Rotorua Rally last Sunday where he suffered multiple breaks and had to have his right leg amputated from below the knee, was just a "six-month inconvenience".
The father of two preschoolers faces another six weeks at Waikato Hospital before he can return to his Sydney home to continue his rehabilitation and, in his words, "get back on my feet again ... no pun intended".
He was competing in the first stage of the second day of the rally on Lake Arapuni Rd near Putaruru when he felt himself take the corner too fast but thought it would be okay - until the Subaru Impreza WRX he was driving landed on a concrete culvert.
As he and his brother Bret, who was co-driving, waited for help, Stuart asked him if he was all right before adding he thought he had a broken leg.
Bret replied that he was fine but looked over at his older brother and said: "Mate, don't look down - you've got more than a broken leg."
It was then that he saw Stuart's foot was severed.
The Wellington-born partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia was cut from the vehicle and airlifted to Waikato Hospital where his lower right leg was amputated that evening. He also suffered a broken back, broken pelvis, broken left leg and ankle, broken right thigh and has undergone several operations. Bret walked away with minor injuries.
Stuart said he was well aware of the risks when he chased his dream and started racing in the Targa rally three years ago and considered himself lucky that the safety gear had protected him from injuring his head, chest or internal organs.
He was also grateful the amputation had been below the knee so he still had movement in his leg.
His recovery has been speedy - he has already been shifted from the intensive-care unit to high dependency to the general surgery ward - and this has been attributed to his fitness routine, which he had ramped up to support his motor racing.
Stuart was confident he would be back running and working out once he recovered from his injuries and got a prosthetic leg and was even setting himself the challenge of being part of the Targa rally again, although he was not sure how his wife, Debborah, would feel about him racing.
"I think you need to stay positive in terms of ambition and keep going," he said. "Nothing is going to change - I've got an inconvenience for six months ... probably six months of finding my feet and working out what I can and can't do - no pun intended."
His wife returned to Hamilton last night from Sydney with their 4-year-old twins, Zack and Chanelle, who had been told their daddy had been in an accident.
"Zack our boy, he loves cars and racing, turned around and said when is daddy going to buy a new race car," Stuart said.
His wife was finding the news tough but like her strong husband was also forward thinking.
"She's a positive person, too, and a very supportive person and she's realistic enough to understand the challenges going forward," hesaid.
While he was still in recovery, he said he would have to be patient.
"I can't roll over, I can't get out of bed, I can't sit up. There's all these things I can't do.
"The thought of spending six weeks lying on my back is not an attractive one but there's nothing I can do about it."
He accepted that there would be challenges as he recovered but said he had a very supportive family, great colleagues and he received a lot of support from the Targa community and what he described as the "amazing crew" at the hospital.By Nikki Preston Email Nikki