A DISASTROUS incident that left Oxfordshire resident Vanessa Ruck with life-changing physical injuries is what inspired her to quit her job and enlist in one of the most challenging motorcycle races in the world.
Six years and 58,000 Instagram followers after the 33-year-old was hit by a red-light-jumping car, the adrenaline-lover is determined to push her body to its limits.
After the crash Ms Ruck spend many months bed-bound and in painful physio treatments while recovering from six major surgeries on her shoulder and hip.
But when the incident turned her seemingly-idyllic life upside down, she discovered salvation in her new love for Harley-Davidson.
She explained: “I had to make a lot of changes in my life following my injuries.
“No sports, no adventures, no social life, there were even days when I could not get out of bed.
“One day I decided to get a motorbike to drive to work as they are not as physically exhausting as cycling and this is when it all changed.”
About six months later she bought her first bike – a Suzuki 600 – she and her husband Alex, also an adrenaline-junkie, treated themselves to two Harleys.
Ms Ruck admitted she had always loved sports whether it was kite surfing or snowboarding, however, motorbikes and the open road that have given her a new sense of adventure after the crash.
The daredevil described herself as a ‘small-town girl in a slightly male-dominated world’ but she said she is not letting that or her physical injuries to stop her from ‘seizing the day’.
Now Ms Ruck is training for several major championships.
The first one at the end of March is the ACU British Extreme Enduro Championship in North Wales and then the five-day Red Bull Romaniacs in July.
As any other motorcyclist Ms Ruck confirmed that a dream come true for her would be to compete in the annual Dakar Rally opened to amateurs and professionals, which is known to be ‘the hardest and most demanding race, physically and mentally’.
She added: “Every little motorbiker dream is Dakar but at the moment I do not know where I am going.
“I am just taking any opportunity that comes my way and riding as much as I can.
“The biggest goal for me is to remain grateful for what I have got and if I can help show other people that life can throw some big curveballs but actually it is how people approach them.”