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.
Pre-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.
Arriving 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.
In 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
MW are very proud to announce the arrival of Wendy Rixon to the Estate & Trust Dispute Team.
Wendy has many years of experience in all aspects of contentious probate work including challenging the validity of wills (on grounds of mental capacity, undue influence or otherwise), claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and TOLATA (Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act) claims.
Wendy is also a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (CTAPS), a further recognition of her expertise in this often complex and specialist field
Examples of Wendy’s successes in the past have included an Estate worth £1.2 million, comprising a farm, and her successfully recovering 60% of the Estate, plus costs, for a spouse who had not been provided with reasonable financial provision from her husband’s Estate. She has even acted for a claimant alleging a Will had been forged (a difficult ground to succeed upon) and succeeded in overturning the Will at trial on that basis (leaving an earlier Will to be admitted to probate under which the claimant received 50% of the Estate).
On joining MW Wendy says
“I am excited to join MW’s Estate & Trust Dispute Team. I am looking forward to the challenges ahead and continuing to help those vulnerable clients who feel they may need a helping hand to rectify those injustices often arising on a loved one’s death”
Wendy joins MW’s rapidly expanding Estate & Trust Dispute Team which is headed up by Hayley Bundey in our Devon office. Working with her in Devon is Hayley Prideaux as well as Sharon Bell who is based in our Sevenoaks office. With further new starters due to join in the coming months the team is continuing to grow to meet the demands of their rapidly expanding client base and are ready and able to help callers with any queries they may have about their Estate or Trust Dispute.
At McMillan Williams, our mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone" and our Specialist Estate & Trust Dispute Team can advise you on all aspects of Inheritance Claims and Estate and Trust Disputes (including TOLATA – Trusts of Property - claims).
If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know if you would have a claim against an Estate or in relation to a Trust or Property then our Specialist Estate & Trust Dispute Team can guide you through the process step by step and as quickly and painlessly as possible.
McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited are excited to announce that it has incorporated South London High Street Law Firm Ormerods with effect from 3rd October 2016.
McMillan Williams CEO Colum Smith
“At McMillan Williams our mission is to “To make quality legal services accessible to everyone” and this acquisition further extends our capability and presence on the high street.
We welcome the Ormerods team into the MW Family who will complement our already strong team of specialist solicitors helping our clients to achieve pragmatic and affordable justice across all areas of consumer and commercial law.”
Ormerods Managing Partner Simon Cook
“We are looking forward to bringing our historic legal expertise to McMillan Williams. Their reputation as a modern and forward thinking law firm combined with their extensive infrastructure will enable us to continue to provide excellent service to both existing and new clients alike.”
McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited is a high street law practice with 24 offices across London, The South of England and Devon. Providing pragmatic legal solutions across a full range of consumer and commercial legal disciplines for over 30 years, MW employs over 200 Solicitors and Legal Executives with an annual turnover of £30M.
Ormerods Solicitors continues to trade but cannot undertake reserved legal activity and is not insured to do so. Any complaint or undertaking you have from Ormerods should be sent to Ormerods at their continuing service address 45 Friends Road, Croydon, CR0 1ED
On Saturday 6th August, the staff at MW Solicitors will join with 180,000 others in celebrating Brighton & Hove Pride. We will march in solidarity and community fellowship in the Pride Parade which this year takes on an added significance, in commemorating the tragic loss of life at the Orlando bar shooting that took the lives of 49 innocent people and severely injured many more.
The Pride Parade has its roots in challenging social injustice, a march of protest, a march of solidarity and an annual demonstration of the determination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer members of society who would not allow themselves to live in fear or suffer oppression. The tragedy of the recent Orlando terrorist act is that it highlights that persecution and intolerant attitudes still exist and still need to be challenged.
So whilst the Pride Parade and the Festival in the Park, both of which we are taking part in, is rightly a celebration of LBGTQ life, it is also a reminder that there is still much work to do in this country and in many other countries in achieving equality and access to Justice for Everyone!
This year we will be taking to the streets of Brighton in our open top Pride Parade Bus and we will have a stand in the community section of Preston Park, we have over 70 Volunteers already which is superb, We encourage you all to turn out, support Pride and wave us all on!
McMillan Williams are pleased to announce the following promotions with effect from 1st May 2016:
PROMOTION TO DEPUTY HEAD OF LEGAL SERVICES
Deputy Head of Legal Services
All 3 of the team have been at MW for many years, however Anton is the second Senior Member of the business (along with the CEO) to have trained at the firm.
We are immensely proud that Anton has achieved the promotion to this level in a record breaking short time.
Anton is responsible for all property related areas in the business in addition to assisting the CEO's Department containing the Legal Services Management Team.
PROMOTION TO REGIONAL PARTNER
Regional Partner for the Kent Region, Private Client, Sevenoaks
PROMOTION TO PARTNER
Crime, New Addington
Contested Probate, Devon
Contested Probate, Sevenoaks
Personal Injury, London Bridge
A special mention to Neil Hayes who becomes the first person in MW history to be appointed to partner status having obtained his subject matter expertise purely from experience as opposed to having followed a more traditional academic pathway. We are especially proud of the fact that our ABS status opens up opportunities such as these, which enable us to reward hard work, commitment, skill and expertise that is not necessarily founded on a formal legal training/qualification.
We use the word "Partner" to refer to the most senior individuals of McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited and its use in connection with the business of McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited should not be construed as an indication that any individual carries on business in Partnership with any other individual within the meaning of the Partnership Act 1890 or is personally liable to you or any other party for any acts or omissions.
Individuals named as Partners owe no personal obligations to you in either contract or tort.
Our team from MW Sevenoaks will be in attendance at the 2016 Sevenoaks Business Show at the STAG Theatre today from 10:00am till 2:00pm.
Our expert Solicitors are on hand to answer any of your legal questions such as Residential and Commercial property transactions, Commercial Dispute Resolution, Professional Negligence, Insolvency and debt collection, Challenging a Will or estate planning advice and Notary work. We will also be showcasing our work as specialist Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Solicitor.
You can meet two of our Solicitors, Peter Williams and Mark Stubberfield who have recently been shortlisted for the Kent Law Society Awards 2016 in the respective categories of "Young Lawyer of The Year" and "Outstanding Achievement"
Don't be shy stop by Stand No. 6 and say hello.
The Sevenoaks Business Show is an annual event with fantastic talks and opportunities for business to business networking. This year's event will be opened by The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP and there will be three free talks at the House in the Basement Youth Café from 10:30am -12:30pm.
McMillan Williams are proud to announce that three of our Solicitors have been shortlisted for the Kent Law Society Awards 2016.
Peter qualified in 2013 and is an Associate Solicitor at MW Sevenoaks. As one of our specialist property solicitors, Peter deals with all aspects of conveyancing for both residential and business clients. He is an expert in all aspects of property transactions including Sales and purchase, mortgages and remortgages, Transfers of Equity, Leasehold transactions and extensions and deeds of variation.
Peter is also a keen networker and will be in attendance on the MW Stand at the 2016 Sevenoaks Business Show on 22 April 2016.
Mark qualified in 2006 and is a Partner and Head of both our Court of Protection Team and Private Client Team (Kent Region) based in MW Sevenoaks. In 2015, Mark qualified as a Notary Public and he is also an accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly. He is a regular participant in the Free Wills schemes run by Age UK and Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice.
Mark is a consummate private client Solicitor and specialises in advising clients on Court of Protection, Wills, Estates, Trusts, Tax Planning and Power of Attorney issues.
Caroline qualified in 1988 and is a partner and member of our specialist Family and Children Law team based at MW Bexleyheath. Alongside Georgina Earle-Hutton she was a founding partner in the Bexleyheath firm Landes Hutton LLP, now part of MW Solicitors Ltd. A long standing member of Resolution and previously Chair of the Bexley Community Legal Service Partnership, Caroline is accredited by the Law Society and is a member of both the Family Law Panel and the Children Law Panel.
Caroline assists clients in all aspects of family law including divorce, cohabitation disputes, injunctive relief and children disputes. A trained and experienceed family mediator she offers couples going through separation with constructive, sensitive and practical solutions and advice.
The Kent Law Society was established in 1818, before the Law Society of England and Wales, and has a long and proud history. The society has over 500 members comprising solicitors, fee earners and trainees who practise within the Kent County boundary. The Society was formed to promote the best interests of its members in Kent and it promotes the careers of new and trainee lawyers starting to practice in the County.
The winners of the awards will be announced at the dinner following the AGM on 13th May 2016.
At McMillan Williams we like to share the success of our corporate relationships and are very proud to announce that on 18th February 2016, Karen Bach (founder of KalliKids) and Talan Skeels-Piggins (Founder of Talan Motorsport and The Bike Experience Charity), were installed as Freemen of the City Guild of Entrepreneurs by its Deputy Master and Alderman of the Ward of Tower, Sir Paul Judge, at an historic ceremony at Guildhall in the City of London.
The Guild of Entrepreneurs is one of the newest City Guilds, founded in 2014. MW's Charge d'affaires Nicola Manning is one of its founder members and a Court Assistant (equivalent to its Board of Directors ). It is made up of men and women who have invested their own money and time in setting up and running successful businesses. Its aims are to:
The KalliKids goal is simple. To give parents access to tried, tested and KalliKids approved activities. They check every last KalliKids provider, giving you complete piece of mind and inspiring activities for your kids. With so many trusted providers onboard, they offer something for everyone.
Find trusted children’s activities in your area today www.kallikids.com
The KalliKids ethos of giving families information they can trust and opportunities inclusive to all, resonates with the core belief of MW Solicitors to make quality legal services accessible to everyone.
The foundation of both companies is firmly routed in giving you the best possible service with the most reliable information, whether it be attending your local nursery, to securing legal assistance for your family.
MW Solicitors and KalliKids work together to ensure your family has a trusted place to turn to when you need it most.
Motivational speaker, winner of the 600cc paraplegic class at the Di. Di. World Bridgestone Cup, GB Paralympian and Founder of The Bike Experience.
At the start of 2003 Talan was an active PE Teacher and ex Royal Navy Lieutenant. On March 8th 2003 he suffered a motorcycle accident, which shattered his back and fractured his neck in several places. Initially just given 30% chance of survival and told to expect a hospital stay of 2 years, Talan was left paralysed from the chest down. Eight days after the accident he set myself the goal of learning to ski, getting into the GB Team and competing at the 2010 Winter Paralympics. This has since happened, and Talan is now part of the world’s first privately funded disabled race team.
This truly remarkable team was thought up by Talan in 2011. The team’s first solo race with the approval of the ACU was in 2012 with Club Thundersport. Since then, the team has raced in Assen in a 3 hour endurance race as well as few select races in the UK. 2014 saw the team sponsored by McMillan Williams Solicitors Ltd and for the first time, race a full season with 3 national racing clubs. Following on from the success of 2014, the team expanded for 2015 to include 2 new riders: 1 paraplegic and 1 above knee amputee. With 2016 around the corner, watch this space for more exciting racing ahead!
You can find out more about the inspirational Talan Skeels-Piggins at www.talanracing.co.uk.
McMillan Williams are proud sponsors of the Brave Heart Hero Award at the Bath Chronicle Pride of Bath Awards 2016
Do you know someone who has overcome fear or faced danger to help others?
This special award will be given to an individual who has responded to an immediate need and significantly affected the life or lives of others. This may be someone who has rescued a person from a dangerous situation or shown courage to help another in difficulty. This could also include someone who has bravely faced tragic or devastating personal circumstances and gone on to make a positive difference to the lives of others.
We hear a lot about the big society these days, but our city has always been enhanced by people who think nothing of doing something for others. These awards are all about thanking them for what they do and giving them the credit they deserve.
The 8 categories of awards recognise those people who go above and beyond the call of duty, those who care for others and their communities and those who have been involved in remarkable acts of bravery.
The Awards ceremony takes place on the 14th April at Bath Racecourse. Please show your support by following the event on Twitter and celebrate the Award Winners using the hashtag
Slater & Gordon, the heavily bankrolled new entrant to the UK legal services market who bought Quindell’s professional services arm in the UK for $1.3bnAUD one year ago, has now lost its newly appointed in-house counsel, Moana Weir, after two months.
The departure comes as Slater & Gordon have until the end of the week to assure its bankers that it has found a way to service its $741mAUD net-debt position. This comes on the back of a $958mAUD 6 month loss reported in February, a 95% decrease in share price over 12 months, a write-down of the Quindell acquisition to almost nothing, and a glut of class-action lawsuits from investors related to bad acquisitions.
If Slater & Gordon are unable to find a way to reassure their financiers, their loans will fall payable within twelve months.
Slater & Gordon's high profile UK acquisitions include: Quindell Legal Services, Claims Direct, Fentons, Goodmans, Pannone, Pickering & Partners, Russell Jones & Walker, Taylor Vintners.
Read more from Jonathan Shapiro at the Sydney Morning Herald