McPhee has not long made his way home from Australia where following on from a horrific accident at the Phillip Island GP; he was left stranded in Melbourne as his injuries prohibited him from flying. After a wet start to the meeting, the conditions were dry in time for the race, windy but dry.
Disappointment at Phillip Island for McPhee
Ahead of the race, McPhee had received a grid penalty meaning that he had to start the race from fourth on the grid instead of the front row as he had qualified. He got a fantastic start, dropping to fifth initially; he was part of the huge gang of 250cc riders battling for the lead. After the first major incident in an extremely eventful race which he head managed to avoid, he soon found himself in the lead.
Major crash for the Scotsman
In true Moto3 fashion however, it did not last long as he was overtaken by his competitors. But despite being in contention of a podium, it all went wrong for him with 18 laps remaining. He tucked the front at the top of the hill before they entered a tight 90 degree turn. He was immediately ran over by Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) and then continued to tumble down the grass area. He was clearly hurt, as were other riders involved in the carnage, and the race was immediately stopped so he could be tended to.
Lying face-down on the grass he was immediately tended to, before being stretchered into a track ambulance; conscious. After undergoing initial checks in the medical centre, he was then air-lifted to St Kilda Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, where they found that both of his lungs had been perforated and that he had lost around 40% of their function. He had also damaged his thumb and it had to be operated on to fix the bones that had been displaced.
McPhee returned home after being stranded in Australia due to his injuries
Although it would be left to heal naturally, it meant that McPhee was stranded in Australia for four to five weeks as it would have been unsafe for him to fly with the pressure from the cabin. He remained in Melbourne to begin his rehabilitation, a few weeks later he had the pins removed from his hand .Then finally on December 5th he was given the ‘all clear’ and got a business class flight home to Glasgow and was accompanied by Dr Bruce Elliot.
McPhee to become a factory Honda rider
Since, he has become a member of a new team supported by Dorna that will join the Moto3 grid for the 2017 season. He will ride a factory Honda that was originally meant to be backed by broadcaster BT Sport as part of a five year deal set to expire at the end of the 2018 season. Running the team, “British Talent Team”, will be Alberto Puig who is partly responsible for the success of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.
It is a fantastic opportunity for the Scottish rider who will be making the switch from Mahindra, as he rode for the Peugeot MC Saxoprint Team during the 2017 Moto3 season, and became one of nine different winners in the class when he won his first race in the Czech Republic.
McPhee discusses his future
Although McPhee said that there are “some details that [they] don’t quite know”, he was able to confirm that it will be “a Dorna team run by Alberto Puig”. He spoke of how there is “still no sign of BT” and said that “maybe they’re going to come in at a later date”.
The Scot is happy however that he will “have a factory Honda” which he revealed was “one box [he was looking to tick off”. He revealed that he will have “no personal expenses either,” something that he feels is “one less thing to worry about”. He knows that it will be “nice to fly the flag a bit” and feels that “with Dorna involved” that the “budgets will be no problem”.
He spoke of how he thinks that “having Alberto involved is nice too” as he knows that he has a “good reputation in the paddock” and also a “great history”, and so he feels that Puig is going to “do the job properly”. Reflecting on the end of the 2017 Moto3 season, McPhee felt that it was a “shame” that they were unable to “test before the end of the year”, but now he plans to “get started in early February and hopefully get going soon enough”.
Britain’s future looks bright
Not only will the team benefit the 250cc rider, it is looking like it will benefit many more of Britain’s up and coming motorcycle stars. He spoke to the Motor Cycle News about the questions he has been asking such as “the colours” and also, “what it’s going to be called”; he confirmed that for now it will be known as the “British Talent Team”. He spoke of how their “plan in the future” is to go ahead and “bring more riders through". He compared the ambition of the team to that of the Asia Talent Team but said that it would “be on a smaller scale”. He said, “The plan is for one rider next year, but in the future to expand it to two.”
So now McPhee can relax as he continues his recuperation over the festive period. Once things get underway, he can work on continuing on the success he built up in the 2017 season, and with a factory ride for the Scotsman, then the potential for the Scottish rider is prodigious.