A much brighter Bruce Garland is hoping to be home by the middle of the coming week, after his official retirement from the 2011 Dakar Rally because of injury.

Bruce fractured a vertebra when his Isuzu D-MAX ute bounced off a sand dune and landed heavily during Thursday night’s stage (Australian time) in Chile.

He’s been in hospital in Iquique since the diagnosis, initially flat on his back while the extent of the damage was assessed but now up and about in a limited way, wearing a back brace. He has discovered some positives about his hospitalisation.

“This place has the best view of any hospital in the world. We’re right opposite the ocean and the view is fantastic – the sunsets are spectacular. The staff have been terrific and I’ve got one of the Welsh bike riders as a roommate – a top bloke – so I’ve got someone to talk to.

“He’s got a dislocated shoulder – and he’s not the only one here. This whole floor is full of Dakar competitors so everyone’s calling it the ‘Dakar ward’ now!

“We’re all in the same boat – broken bodies, broken minds and broken wallets! That’s what this event does to you!”

Bruce is relieved that he won’t need an operation, and plans to do exactly what is required to make a swift recovery. Given the nature of the injury, he is well aware that he has come off relatively lightly and he’s eager to get it right.

“I’m going to be in the brace for about four to six weeks, but the actual mending will probably take several months, so I won’t be doing too much dancing. That’s okay – so long as I don’t have to lie perfectly still any more, like I had to do initially, I’ll be fine. I nearly went stir-crazy doing that!”

The Dakar organisation is working closely with Isuzu Motorsports to provide whatever assistance is necessary for Bruce, his family and the crew.  

Meanwhile, co-driver Harry Suzuki – who was not injured in the incident – and the rest of the crew are on their way back to Buenos Aires where they will pack the race ute and all the equipment into a container, before they fly home.

If you would like to send Bruce a get well message, please log on to the facebook page:

Isuzu Motorsports will keep you updated on Bruce’s situation as more information becomes available.

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