On the 20th May 2017 I took part in the first International Disabled World Cup motorcycle race at the famous Le Mans Circuit in France.

This historic event was an official support race at the HJC sponsored French round of the MotoGP series. As one of the two British racers invited to attend the event, I was excited and honoured to be representing Great Britain in the 600cc category.

Bridgestone Le Mans Grid PhotoPre-race reparation did not go entirely to plan as two weeks before the race, whilst demonstrating at the Donnington Endurance Legends event, I suffered a jammed throttle and went over the front of the bike, spearing myself head first into the gravel. Whilst I wasn’t too badly injured, the bike needed a new fairing and an investigation into why the throttle stayed wide open. After eight frantic days I was heading into the Channel tunnel with a repaired, but untested, race bike on my way to France.

Team Talan MotorsportArriving at Le Mans, the International Bridgestone Handy Race paddock was found to be some distance away from the actual main paddock and pit lane, just outside of the actual Bugatti Circuit and along the 24Hour circuit. Surrounding us were campsites filled with bikes being bounced off the rev limiters non stop. Never before have I seen such a fanatical bunch of petrol heads incessantly feeding engines with fuel and listening to their exhausts bark a cacophony like an orchestra.

Whilst waiting in the transport to get to the track for Practice and Qualifying, we were treated to a thunder and lightening storm that brought hail down so hard the current session was red flagged.

The circuit became wet, really really wet. Our practice began in light rain and that got gradually heavier throughout. Everyone was cautious to begin with, but soon found that the newly surfaced track was giving amazing levels of grip. Having a new fairing changed my sitting position as the race tail piece with hard foam seat covering sat me considerably higher than being on the standard seat piece. The new position put a lot of strain on my wrists, not so much of a problem in the wet as I wasn’t braking hard, but it would be an issue in the dry.

#83 Talan Skeels-Piggins on trackIn our qualifying we were red flagged half way through, the thunderstorm once again brought hail and standing water. Once it was safe we headed back out to finish the session. I was lucky enough to know the Data Engineer from the Mistral Moto2 team, so I was parked outside the garage which offered a bit of shelter.  One of the rider’s dads popped out to offer his thoughts…

Mr Wayne Gardner (1987 500cc World Champion) simply thought we were all mad! At the end of qualifying I was 7th out of 30. A decent position to be in considering my top speed was between 10-20kmh slower than all the other top nine racers.

Later that evening my team and I were able to go back and visit the Mistral Moto2 garage to have about 30 minutes chatting with Wayne, get a good look at the Moto2 bikes, tour around the Tech3 MotoGP garage and finished off by meeting with their rider Karel Abraham. Karel was interested to hear about the racing as well as The Bike Experience (a charity I founded to teach disabled people how to ride motorcycles). It was great to see the interest from all the racers, and ex racers, in what we were doing.

Saturday brought sunshine, clear skies and a crowd of thousands of race fans. The start was a ‘Le Mans’ style grid line up, followed by two lap formation behind a safety car, then eight laps for the chequered flag. In pairs we lined up behind the safety car and I set about warming up my tyres. I was on brand new Bridgestone R10s that were stone cold due to a mechanical failure of the generator. Initially the under-pressure tyres caused me to bounce around and slip under braking.

After the first lap they were beginning to get some heat and the bike began to turn as I expected. At the end of Lap 2 the safety car pulled in, we rolled down towards the start line, all waiting for the Tricolore flag to be waved. The noise of the crowd went through my helmet, my ear plugs and into my very core, it was intense and massively addictive. The flag dropped and we were racing.

As expected, the 1 litre bikes came shooting up past me and the ones in front pulled away. I was cautious with the cold tyres and didn't want to get involved in any fairing bashing at the first chicane. Through the chicane and down to Chapelle the group was slightly spread out, and by the time we went into Garage Vert for the first time, there was a bit of order about the race.

I was gapped by the faster bikes on each straight and was forced into some very late braking in order to catch up. After the third time of locking the front on the brakes I decided it wasn’t going to be safe to continue this style of riding for the race. I went back to what I knew best, smooth riding. The seating position proved to be a problem for me. With a very dry and grippy surface I was able to brake hard, but that meant my backside started lifting from the seat and bouncing me off the centre line of the bike. I do not have stomach muscles, and so the act of trying to straighten myself up on the bike means lots of pulling and pushing on the bars whilst dragging my tummy onto the tank. As a result I cannot simply focus on going fast, as I can’t be sat on the ‘upside’ of the seat in a corner at pace. Nevertheless I enjoyed a decent battle with two litre bikes and another 600.

The chequered flag came earlier than I had expected, as I didn’t see the last lap flag waved to us. Suddenly it was all over, the marshals lined the circuit, the crowds waved and cheered, we all gave thumbs up to the other racers and waved back to the spectators. I was ninth overall from thirty starters. The position translated to fourth in all of the 600s (twenty of us) and second place in the 600cc paralysed class. A very respectable finishing position and one I and be proud of. The victory in my class went to fellow British rider Michael Reynolds, and congratulations go to him.

There were so many memories to treasure: being part of a MotoGP event, getting invitations into Moto2 and MotoGP garages, meeting the racers you see on TV, wheeling out onto the start/finish straight and hearing the cheer of five thousand people. The most important part was that we, the disabled racers, got to show the world that anything is still possible.

My thanks go to you; my sponsors, my supporters, my friends, my family, my fellow racers.

Talan Skeels-Piggins

We Can Help

MW Solicitors are proud to have sponsored Talan Motorsport Racing since 2014 and continue to support the spinal cord injury community by working closely with organisations such as the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) and the Back Up Trust.  Our specialist Personal Injury Solicitors are experts in getting clients the help they need to rebuild their lives after Spinal Injury trauma.

If you would like to speak to a specialist to discuss your case call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

In England and Wales, unlike other countries, a person can leave their estate to whomever they choose. Therefore, if you want to leave your whole estate to Charity and not to your spouse or children, you have every right, legally, to do that. This right is known as Testamentary Freedom.

Adult Child Claims


Wendy Rixon
Wendy Rixon
Associate – Estate/Trust Dispute Division

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows for certain people to bring a claim against the estate if they can show that reasonable provision was not made for them under a Will or an intestacy.
The 1975 Act widened the scope for adult children to make such claims, albeit that they have to show a real need for maintenance from the estate. Therefore, if they are capable of earning a living and have no real mental or physical disabilities they would, you would think, find it difficult to mount a claim.

The long awaited and widely reported judgment from the Supreme Court of Ilott -v- Mitson has made people question if it is still worth writing a Will if the terms of that Will can be so easily overturned.

3 Ways You Can Protect Your Testamentary Freedom

If you are intending to omit a child from your Will, you should think very carefully about how you document your decision.

  1. Leave a Note - It is sensible to leave a note with your Will explaining your reasons for not leaving them anything. The note should be a true and accurate record of the reasons but should not take the form of throwing everything at it. It should be remembered that the Will may be made many years before the death (and Inheritance Act awards are subject to the facts at the time of the court hearing, not at the time the Will was made or even on the death). Therefore, just because you think, today, that your son or daughter is doing very well for themselves and does not need your help thank you very much, does not mean that this will be the case at the relevant time. If there has been a fall out, this should be documented, emotionally, and the reasons or perceived reasons given. The letter will not prevent a claim, but it will provide background as to whether leaving your child out of your Will is reasonable, which is the basis of the 1975 Act.

  2. Leave a Small Legacy - Some testators are encouraged to leave a small legacy rather than nothing. This shows that they have considered any moral claim that they may have and, again, can go some way towards indicating that you have left reasonable provision (in all the circumstances) for your child.

  3. Add a No Contest Clause - You can put a no-contest clause into your Will which states that if the legacy left to them is challenged, they forfeit the right to anything. Although not legally binding, it can have the effect of making the challenger think twice before taking the risk of losing whatever legacy they were left. This can particularly be the case if the legacy left to them is significant enough to make them think twice about challenging it.

It is important to appraise your will writer fully and comprehensively about your family background and family members, particularly if you are not intending to leave them anything, so that they can provide you with the best advice about how to prevent a challenge to your Will after your death.

We Can Help

At MW,our mission is “to make quality legal services accessible to everyone” including those who find themselves embroiled in a 1975 Act claim.

Our dedicated Estate and Trust Dispute Team are specialists in navigating the tricky waters of such claims to help ensure the best outcome for our clients. Our specialist lawyers have experience in helping both Claimants and Defendants to adult child 1975 Act claims and we are best placed to guide you through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible.

f you would like to take advantage of our FREE CASE REVIEW, call us today on 020 3551 8550 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

News stories are not all about celebrities, politicians, and famous people.


Ryan Dunleavy
Ryan Dunleavy
Partner & Head of Media Law Reputation Management

A cursory glance through the newspapers or viewing the television news on any given day shows that probably most news items focus on ordinary people who may be doing extraordinary things, or who may find themselves in an unusual situation.

Take the example of 22-year-old Marcus Hutchins, credited with halting the global spread of a massive international ransomware attack, WannaCry. It was estimated that Mr Hutchins prevented more than 100,000 computers across the globe from being infected by WannaCry.

Yet, despite being feted as a hero in the Press, there was a negative side to all this publicity for Mr Hutchins, a person who used the alias of ‘MalwareTech’ to avoid being identified. He was propelled into a Media spotlight that often brings with it unwanted attention. It has been reported, for instance, that Mr Hutchins has said that he will have to move house after a newspaper identified him and published his full address, resulting in him being hounded.

As part of the WannaCry story, it was not just Mr Hutchins who was targeted by the Media, but also those who knew him.

Media attention can often be short lived, but like a tornado that rips through a town, the duration of the event is not always as significant as the damage it leaves behind.

We Can Help

If you become the focus of unwanted Media attention, it is important to act quickly.

At MW Solicitors we can help individuals who receive unwanted Media attention. There are various legal avenues that can be explored to counter this attention, and our experts in MW’s Media Law and Reputation Management Department are not just experienced in the law regarding these matters, but also in how to communicate with the Media in an effective manner.

By way of contrast to Mr Hutchins’ situation, if a client wishes to obtain Media attention for a brand, event, or simply because they have a newsworthy story, we also assist with how, when, and on what terms information is conveyed by clients to the Media. That way clients can speak to the Media in the knowledge that Press intrusion will only go so far.

If you are seeking legal and reputation management assistance in relation to Media attention, call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

Wheelchair Skills Training

MW Solicitors Ltd are extremely proud to have become the principal sponsors of the Back Up Trust Wheelchair Skills Programme.

Joining Forces to Help Spinal Injury Survivors Rebuild Their Lives

Every day three people sustain a spinal cord injury, through accident or illness and at MW our expert Personal Injury solicitors represent many clients with vital legal assistance throughout the personal injury claim process.  We are acutely aware of the tremendous resources provided by Back Up through wheelchair skills training, peer support and vocational rehabilitation. 

In addition to providing financial support for these vital services, we will also be providing hands on support in the form of volunteer assistants who will attend each and every wheelchair skills training session throughout the UK.

About Back Up

Back Up was founded in 1986 by the former British and European Freestyle Champion and James Bond stunt double Mike Nemesvary, whose life was devastated when he broke his neck during a training session. Despite being paralysed from the shoulders down, Mike was determined to get back to the life he enjoyed.  Back Up was initially set up to offer ski courses for those affected by spinal cord injury. Over the years, Back Up has expanded its services to challenge and empower people to get ‘back up’ to a place they were at before their accident.

Back Up exists to inspire independence in anyone affected by spinal cord injury and to encourage everyone to get the most from their lives.  They work with people of all ages, from young children to the elderly, whatever the motivation or background.    

Back Up relies on a vital family of volunteers, mentors and skilled professionals, who provide unrivalled support and enthusiasm and who help deliver services that rebuild confidence and self-belief. 

About MW Solicitors

At MW, our mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone" and we aim to support clients throughout their lives with our teams of skilled, experienced lawyers. 

If you have experienced a no fault injury MW can provide pro-bono or discounted assistance, whatever your legal needs.  Where your injury has been caused by someone else’s negligence we have a specialist serious injury and medical negligence team with decades of experience acting for the most seriously injured in the UK and abroad.  After suffering a life changing injury we believe rehabilitation in all its forms is key.  We have case managers who can assist with practical issues from the start and then we are with you and those that rely on and care for you throughout the course of your claim and beyond.

If you or a loved one have suffered a Spinal Injury and would like to know more about how we can support you through your rehabilitation and through the claims process, call our expert Personal Injury team on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk 

 

Tending an Eledely Relative

Sharon Bell, Partner and a member of MWs Estate and Trust Dispute Team outlines the role of the Court of Protection and the circumstances when a Statutory Will may be necessary.

Statutory Wills and the Role of the Court of Protection


Sharon Leanne Bell
Sharon Leanne Bell
Partner & Acting Head of Estate and Trust Disputes Department

Statutory Wills are made by the Court of Protection. The Court of Protection is a specialist court set up to protect the interests of those who cannot make financial and welfare decisions for themselves because they lack mental capacity. 

A person who lacks mental capacity, by definition, is not in a position to make a Will or make any amendments to their existing Will. However, if the making of a Will or an amendment to any Will is considered necessary then the only way someone can make a Will on behalf of a person who lacks capacity is by making an application to the Court of Protection for a Statutory Will.

A Statutory Will may be considered necessary if:

  • the person making a Will has never made one before
  • the estate has increased in value and tax planning is required
  • the estate has decreased in value
  • a beneficiary has received a substantial gifts and the will should be adjusted
  • a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) under an existing will has passed away.

The Court of Protection is most likely to allow a Statutory Will if the person who lacks capacity has never made a Will or there has been a significant change in their circumstances.

The Court will consider whether or not it is in the vulnerable person’s “best interests” for a Statutory Will to be made. It is usual that the Official Solicitor will be appointed as an independent party to represent the interests of a vulnerable person.

The Court will always try to encourage the vulnerable person to be a participant in the proceedings if possible and the court will look at the criteria laid down in Section 4 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 as to deciding what is in the vulnerable person’s best interests. The court will look at:

  • past and present wishes and in particular any previous testamentary wishes that may have been made when the vulnerable person had capacity
  • the beliefs and values that would be likely to influence the vulnerable person’s decision if they had capacity
  • other factors that the vulnerable person would be likely to consider if they were able to do so.

The court will also take into account how the vulnerable person may wish to be remembered after their death. It is arguably in their best interests that they are remembered with fond memories and affection.

Every case will be different and the court has a wide discretion as no one factor in the Section 4 criteria will outweigh any other. The court just has to be satisfied that the making of a Statutory Will is in the best interests of the vulnerable person.

We Can Help

At MW, Our Mission is “to make quality legal services accessible to everyone” including those who lack the capacity to act for themselves.  Our Specialist Estate & Trust Dispute Team have extensive experience handling Statutory Will applications.

If you would like more information on  a Statutory Will could be in the best interests of a family member who lacks capacity then take advantage of our FREE CASE REVIEW; call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

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