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Christina Mackenzie back to racing nine months after horror hit-and-run

The Land’s End to John O’Groats women’s record holder has qualified for the UCI Worlds and won a QOM in her first race since being injured by a yet to identified SUV driver

Scottish endurance cyclist and time-trial specialist Christina Mackenzie participated in her first competitive cycling event and sealed a spot in the UCI World Championships’ road race, nine months after a horrific hit-and-run crash with an SUV driver towing a trailer.

Mackenzie made headlines in July 2021 for breaking the almost two-decades old women’s cycling record for the punishing 839-mile long Land’s End to John O’Groats, finishing the ride in 51 hours, five minutes and 27 seconds and beating the previous time by an hour and 40 minutes.

However, in September last year, she suffered a broken pelvis after being struck by a hit-and-run SUV driver who “left her for dead”, while she was training near Stirling. She said that she felt “excruciating pain” and had “no mobility whatsoever” after the collision.

But nine months and some gruelling physiotherapy sessions later, she has not only found herself back in the saddle, but also qualified for the 2023 UCI World Championships road race, set to take place on 4th August in Perth.

“It’s been nine months since my last race,” she wrote on Twitter. “It was great to be able to enjoy cycling again with friends & get back on a start line.”

> Christina Mackenzie "disgusted" by hit-and-run driver who "left her for dead"

She was representing the Stirling Bike Club at the Tour of Cambridgeshire, a two-day event in Peterborough comprising of a road race and a time trial. She finished an impressive fourth place in the time trial over the hilly route, and came fifth in the 66-mile long road race, even winning a Strava QOM on the ToC finish sprint.

Christina, who lives in Cambusbarron but is originally from Stornoway, had set herself the target of competing at the International Island Games, being held in Guernsey in July. She entered the Tour of Cambridgeshire to better prepare herself for the games.

“The plan was to compete at the Island Games and I used this race to get myself ready for it, but to have qualified for the World Championships it amazing. I’m delighted”, she told the Observer.

> "It was really quite daunting": Christina Mackenzie back on her bike after "horrific" hit-and-run recovery

In January this year, Mackenzie was able to go for a bike ride for the first time since the crash. Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland's Drivetime programme, she recalled her challenging rehabilitation, which involved even learning to walk again.

When she got on her bike, she admitted feeling “twitchy” during the 45-mile ride which passed the crash site near Kippen and told the BBC programme “it was really quite daunting” and the collision “knocked my confidence completely”.

“I just felt really twitchy, looking over my shoulders the whole time,” she said.

At the time of the crash, Mackenzie spoke of the difficulty to understand the driver not stopping to help, saying, “I'm disgusted by it. I'm not just a cyclist, I'm someone's sister, I'm someone's daughter.”

Her injuries left her housebound for the first month and even after that the first two months were “just horrific, the pain that I was in, no mobility whatsoever” and had a serious impact on her mental health.

> Lorry driver who killed Davide Rebellin failed to stop at scene of fatal collision because he didn’t think he was at fault, says brother

The driver of the black SUV, believed to be a black Ford Ranger with tinted windows — towing a silver trailer, has still not been found despite a lengthy police investigation.

Christina Mackenzie hit-and-run suspect

Christina Mackenzie hit-and-run suspect

Ms Mackenzie described the knowledge that the motorist responsible still has not been caught as “frustrating” and a “complete disgrace” and explained how the police had told her they had made door-to-door inquiries, spoken to local farmers and attended markets, but came to the conclusion the driver was not local.

> “Today feels like a big win”: Imogen Cotter makes racing comeback – seven months after being struck head-on by speeding motorist

The horror crash scuppered the end to what was a sensational year for the Scottish endurance athlete. In May last year, Mackenzie set a new women's solo record for the famous North Coast 500, covering the 516-mile route in 36 hours, 39 minutes and seven seconds.

And in August, she became Scottish 100-mile time trial champion and at the start of September took her second British 12-hour championship, recording 263 miles on the Monmouthshire course.

Adwitiya joined in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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Fignon's ghost | 11 months ago
1 like

As Partridge would say.
" Christina Mackenzie. A lady. "

Great story AP. Inspirational figure.

Now if we could only find the lowlife who did this. Someone must know... How unmistakable is that double cab and trailer ensemble?

OldRidgeback | 11 months ago

It's great to see her back on a bike competing again. I still find it astounding that Police Scotland was unable to trace the hit and run vehicle, given that it's a specific model with a specific colour of which there are few. More distinctive still was the trailer. Put those factors together and surely it couldn't have been too hard to determine the offender, especially since mobile phone data would likely show who was and wasn't in the area at the time. 

open_roads replied to OldRidgeback | 11 months ago

not least because it's a special edition - chromed mirrors and black wheels. There can only be a few hundred of those at most.

Paul J replied to OldRidgeback | 11 months ago

Guaranteed the locals, particularly those in farming, know who that is.

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