RISKING IT ALL

In the world of motorsports, where the stakes are high and ironically the notion of “speed is king” is ambiguous considering its detrimental effect at the slightest error, it is a must for every rider to be reminded of the risks each time they take a step onto the race track. For Passawit Thitivararak, Thai rider of Astemo SI Racing with Thai Honda the dangers became all too real when he crashed at the Sugo International Racing Course last year during the ASB1000 race. But what sets Passawit apart is not the crash itself, instead his journey of resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

In Practice 1 of Round 3, IDEMITSU FIM Asia Road Racing Championship 2023, Passawit’s life changed in an instant when he broke his neck bone and his index finger, He suffered a spinal cord injury which left him numb. The injuries were so severe and with bleeding in his brain vessel, the road to recovery seemed almost impossible. Passawit recalled the struggles vividly, “I spent mornings chatting with my family and by noon, I have forgotten everything.” It took three long months just to begin feeling better, and the journey was far from over.”

Despite the physical and emotional toll, Passawit driven by passion refused to wave the white flag in defeat. . He began his racing journey from the age of four and ever since then, racing had been his lifeblood, and even the near-tragic accident couldn’t extinguish the burning desire within him. With the unwavering support of his family, especially his father who cultivated the love for motorsport in him, Passawit embarked on a journey of comeback, beating the odds with each step forward.

Four months after the crash, Passawit returned to the track, slowly rebuilding his strength and confidence. But one reminder of the accident lingered – the ability to smell again. Doctors offered a glimmer of hope, a 50/50 chance of recovery within a year, but Passawit remained undeterred. “It’s okay if I cannot smell,” he said, “as long as I can see, taste, and most importantly, can still feel the exhilaration of racing, I am content.”

The road to redemption was not without its challenges. The 2024 season opening round brought its own set of obstacles, with front tyre issues causing a few minor crashes that slowed down his comeback. But with steely determination and an unyielding spirit, he pressed on, refusing to let setbacks define him. “I’ll still go for it,” he declared, “Because motorsport is my life.”

For Passawit, the podium may seem like a distant dream, but his sights are set on a more achievable goal which is finishing top five for this season. In a field of world-class riders, each race is a testament to his courage and resilience, a reminder that true victory lies not in the accolades, but in the unwavering pursuit of passion and purpose.