Motocross rider returns to speed rush despite paralysis

AT THE WHEEL: Tyson Litfin became a paraplegic after an accident in 2012 but can now race again after building a specially modified car.
AT THE WHEEL: Tyson Litfin became a paraplegic after an accident in 2012 but can now race again after building a specially modified car. Rob Williams

SINCE losing the use of his legs in a horrific motocross accident, Tyson Litfin has been on a constant mission to continue living his life the only way he knows how.

For a bloke who always enjoyed his motorbikes and cars, that could mean only one thing.

While the accident in 2012 will keep him off the bike for the foreseeable future, there are certain ways around the problem of trying to drive a car as a young man with no feeling below the waist.

Mr Litfin, with the help of his father and some auto performance experts, has converted his Nissan Silvia into a completely hand-operated, speed machine.

With a 5.7-litre V8 and an automatic gearbox, Mr Litfin hopes to set the Queensland Raceway circuit alight this weekend as part of the Drift Matsuri 24-hour event.

"We've been working on the car for about a year," Mr Litfin said.

"We have put a new motor and gearbox in it - obviously we had to convert it from a manual to automatic - and we've had it set up with all hand controls."

The brake pedal has been replaced by a huge lever to the left side of the steering wheel.

Pushing the lever forward activates the brakes on all four wheels, while pulling it back activates the rear brakes.

The accelerator is now positioned on a secondary hoop attached to the inner side of the steering wheel.

Being able to participate in motor sports again has been a vital aspect of Mr Litfin's recovery from a disastrous accident in May, 2012.

He has also undergone stem cell treatment in Germany.

It may only be a minute step in a long journey, but with the help of regular physiotherapy, he noticed some movement in his left leg a month ago.

"There are ups and downs," Mr Litfin said.

"I stay positive and keep myself busy. The moment you sit around doing nothing is the moment you get depressed.

"I would like to take this car around Australia to show people that you don't have to stop after this sort of injury. You don't need your legs to have fun."

Topics:  editors picks paralysis stem cell therapy

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