batec mobility batec handbikes

batec mobility batec handbikes

BATEC RAPID 2

 

batec rapid 2

 


When, right after his accident on the Imola racetrack in 2012, Joan Lascorz started using the Batec add-on handbike, we knew without a doubt that we could never say he was a former racer. The accident that had left him with a spinal injury at the C6 level (quadriplegia) was undoubtedly only a pause in what had been a brilliant career as a Superbike racer.

Our suspicions were proven correct last year when he participated in Baja Aragón 2014 and, without even training, finished it. He may have changed disciplines, vehicles and terrains, but Joan "Jumbo" Lascorz the racer is back for good: the first quadriplegic racer to participate in an official race. A new milestone in the racing world.

 

joan jumbo lascorz first quadriplegic rallyes racer

 

First of all, we want to congratulate you for the award for sports merit you received from the Federación Española de Motociclismo in 2014 and, above all, for your return to competition at the Baja. Tell us a bit about the project. How long had you been preparing? What was the experience like? How did you feel?

Well, the idea to participate in the Baja Aragón came about almost from one day to the next. With a good friend of mine and colleague from the Foundation Step by Step, Miguel, we bought a car in mid-April 2014 with the intention of taking it out as a hobby. And when we tried it, we realised that it was race ready. At that moment, it was clear to me that a new chance to get back into competing had presented itself and I couldn’t let it go to waste. Miguel agreed and we got down to work, non-stop against the clock because the car had to be adapted technically to my quadriplegia in just two months. And I, personally, had to pass a series of tests certifying my aptitude to compete, because no one with my type of injury had ever raced before.

 

 

The week before the tests, we still had to resolve some mechanical issues and I had an uncomfortable gastroenteritis, but we were still able to be on the start line and finish all the stages. Without a doubt, despite these setbacks and my disability obviously, being able to race against the clock and cross the finish line has given me the extra confidence to push me to participate in more challenges. I really have to thank my friends and all the sponsors who helped make this possible.

And this year, what projects do you have in the works? Baja again? Another race?

A group of people has once again trusted me to compete in the Spanish National All-Terrain Rally Championship this year. The first race, Rally TT Tierras Altas de Lorca (Murcia), was last month. We finished 4th in the buggies category and 24th overall, out of a total of 50 participants.

This first year is a test, we’ve put together a humble team structure and we have to wait to see the results. Of course it would be a pleasure to do the Baja Aragón again and go back to the place that gave me back the dream of competing.

What do you think of the PARABAJA initiative promoted by Foundation Step by Step? What would you say to encourage people to participate?

Well, that this sort of initiatives are essential to give people who love racing the push they need to participate in the closest thing to an official race (ParaBaja runs the same route as Baja Aragón). It’s a matter of attitude and sports are a great way to break down barriers. Participating in ParaBaja brings up surprising new sensations.

 

joan jumbo lascorz first quadriplegic rallyes racer

 

We understand you are also working on a foundation-type project. Can you tell us about it?

Yes. When you have this type of accident that leaves you in a wheelchair and you realise you aren’t the only person in the world with this problem, you develop an incredible sense of empathy with people who have a similar disability. This is why we’ve created the 17 Foundation, basically because we believe that through technology and tenacity we can improve quality of life for those with spinal injuries and give them access to adapted rural environments.

In addition to racing, do you have any other hobbies you enjoy in your free time?

When I raced motorcycles, my only way to disconnect from the races was to lose myself in nature and, above all, spend time with animals. I’m also a huge film buff.

We know you also have some other “little pets” ;-) What can you tell us about them?

I imagine you’re mainly asking about Duma. As I said, I love animals… and, undoubtedly, a challenge. I’ve read a lot about the history of the cheetah, their role in different stages of humanity and their particular behaviour, which is so different from other felines. So, after saving up and going through all the red tape, I was able to bring her home with me. The truth is that she lives alongside the rest of my animals without any problem.

Do you like to travel? Are there any trips you remember particularly fondly? You were in Bali recently. What can you tell us about that trip?

When you spend all year travelling the globe for work, you really appreciate spending time at home or nearby. As a result of the accident, I’ve travelled inside Spain on a few occasions, but this Christmas I was invited to visit some friends in Bali and I didn’t think twice. I needed some heat. First transoceanic trip, with layovers… quite an adventure, undoubtedly, and the Batec was essential. It was a huge attraction, everyone was shocked to see this extraordinary invention and stopped me to ask how it works.

You’ve been using our handbikes for some time now. What has Batec meant to you?

Basic mobility. Using a wheelchair is relatively easy on a flat surface. With my type of injury, there’s an added degree of difficulty, as I have limited mobility in my arms and hands. But if you find yourself on a hill or faced with any sort of architectural barrier, no matter how small, things get quite complicated. With the Batec, all of these obstacles disappear. Plus, you can take it into any establishment, restaurants, cinemas, etc.

 

joan jumbo lascorz first quadriplegic rallyes racer

 

What do you think about the evolution of the Batec since the first one you had?

Well, they’ve improved a lot in many ways. From the aesthetics, which is clear, to technical issues like the ease of attaching it, which makes adaptation to the wheelchair extremely easy; and the power, which on my new model, the BATEC RAPID, is considerably greater. And small details like, for example, the rear lights, which are essential for using the Batec at night, the brakes, etc. In short, it’s a pleasure.

We recently read on Twitter that you had a bit of a “battle” with Nani Roma. What would you think of racing Nani on a Batec? Batec Mobility will provide the “hardware” ;-)

Hahaha… well, if there’s one thing racers have in common it’s that we’re extremely competitive and any sort of acceleration spurs us on. I proposed a mixed track to make it a bit interesting. He rules in his Mini but I can give him a run for his money with the Batec. We just have to set a date.

And we couldn’t help adding that in the time between writing and posting this interview, Joan took third place in the buggies category at the Baja Almanzora.

 

joan jumbo lascorz first quadriplegic rallyes racer

 

Thanks, Joan, for sharing your time and your projects with us. Congratulations! NEVER GIVE UP. FIGHTING SPIRIT!

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