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Once in a Lifetime | Alessandro Manetti, the wounded kart driver, tougher than pain

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ALESSANDRO MANETTI, THE WOUNDED KART DRIVER, TOUGHER THAN PAIN

10 July 2018
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Sport is joy and passion. But also anger and pain. For example, when a training accident floors you before an important race. At that point, what do you do? Give up or clench your teeth? A few years ago, Alessandro Manetti, a karting talent of the 2000s, chose to focus on the improbable outcome... A story worth telling

We can imagine the first thought: "Where are they? What happened?". Then, slowly, you start to preceive the thin shape of a stretcher, the siren of an ambulance, the voices of the emergency intervention team inviting you to stay calm. And not move! It is at that point that you, Alessandro Manetti from Forlì, twice world champion in your career, a memorable one of which was won in Argentina, understand everything.
You understand that you have been run over by a car during your usual bike training. The training that is a necessity for you, as if it were a potion for longevity, and not just a way to keep you fit for the next race. This time, however, it went wrong. Because there was a strong frontal collision with a vehicle which threw you to the ground, leaving its marks: heavy bruising all over the left side of your body; a compression of the cervical vertebrae; the crushing of the sternum and strong pain in your left shoulder. When you move, your shoulder moves, so it is not broken. But it hurts. Too much pain.

The worst pain, however, is not physical, but something that medical staff cannot heal. The feeling that closes up your stomach and feels like a knife stuck in your chest is the fact that there are only a few hours left (the unfortunate accident happened on Tuesday) at the start of the long weekend that involving the first two finals of the 2007 European Championship. An important race for those who, like you, at 35 years of age know that there are certainly fewer races left to run than those that have already finished.

Thus, while the wounds are still open and the pain inhibits your lucidity, you start reacting to the situation in your own way: you do not despair, do not curse your luck ... Rather, you go quiet, more taciturn than usual, and your cover your anger with your thoughts. It is in this way that in your mind, in the head of Alessandro Manetti, you begin to develop the thought that is not yet over. A conviction that is not based on logic: "It can be done! ".
Perhaps it's a good thing that there isn’t much time to think about it, because, after the medications, it's already time to head for Ugento. The first trial runs are around the corner and the track, as you have experienced many times in your life as a driver, becomes the place where you unload tension, turning the anger for what happened into unimaginable resources to finish the business.

When our eyes meet on Saturday morning, just over three days have passed after the accident and the wounds make an even stronger impression: on the side of your body the patches of raw flesh are far from healing up, and the way you control the movements of your left shoulder makes it clear how much you would not wish to move it at all.
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