RALLYING: RALLY KING BURNS RULED OUT FOR ANOTHER YEAR
By Byron Young
FORMER world rally champion Richard Burns, who underwent surgery for a brain tumour four months ago, has been told by surgeons he will be out of action for two years rather than one.
Burns, who turned 33 in January, had hoped to return to action with the Subaru team next year.
Close friends revealed Burns has thrown himself into a training regime determined to prove the doctors wrong. Friends and doctors have been truly amazed at the way he has faced the issue with such courage and determination.
"His attitude has been just incredible,'' said a close pal. "He is back training and has thrown himself into his health and fitness. He is in much better shape and we are all very pleased to see the progress he has been making.
"But he has been told he will have to miss this season and the next.
"Obviously he wants to be back in a car as soon as possible. But the doctors have told him they don't give a damn about the rallying.
"It is his health that is their top priority.''
Doctors first diagnosed his tumour when he blacked out while driving his Porsche on the M4 on the way to the Wales Rally GB last November.
Passenger Marko Martin, a fellow rally driver, had to grab the wheel and steer the speeding car to safety.
Later Burns, who was due to rejoin the Subaru team this year after two years with Peugeot, blacked out again in the reception of his hotel. Scans at a London hospital revealed a tumour called an astrocytoma, which has been treated with radiotherapy and surgery.
At the time Burns was told he would be out for 2004 and it was a blow when he learned it could be 2006 before he is back in action in the world rally championship.
Burns has launched into a regime hoping to defy that prediction.
"Everyone is really behind him and amazed at how he is handling it,'' added the friend.