The Road to Dakar - Nicola Dutto, the first Paraplegic Motor RiderNicola Dutto is a professional motorbike rider. During his career he won many races, with the Italian and European Baja Championship in 2008 and 2009 as major highlights. His life completely changed in March 2010 when he broke his spinal cord in an accident during the Italian Baja.
Due to his spinal cord injury Nicola lost all feeling below his navel. Holding his balance was a huge challenge. He nearly fell over when trying to put on a t-shirt. Imagine how impossible it would be to hold your balance when sitting on a motorbike.
Riding historyNicola with teamStill, Nicola’s passion for motorbiking remained. In November 2011, nine months after getting out of the hospital bed, Nicola decided to take part in the Baja 1000 on a Polaris Buggy, modified for his needs. After this race he announced something no-one expected: “I will take on the challenge to compete on a motorbike again”.
In 2012 Nicola created a memorable moment in the history of motor racing. He participated in the 500 km long Baja Aragon and became the first paraplegic motorbike rider! A fantastic accomplishment, but Nicola was still facing a problem while racing.
Finding the right wheelchair cushionA fully able-bodied person will mostly stand when riding a motorbike, because the shocks of riding through rough terrain can then be absorbed by the legs. As Nicola sits the whole race the shocks cause a higher risk of developing skin issues under his buttocks. He therefore needed a cushion that offered optimal skin protection that would also work in the intense environment he was racing through.
Nicola’s search was concluded when he met Max Rogmans (CEO Vicair BV) at the REHACARE in September 2013. Max offered to design a special Vicair cushion for Nicola that he could use as a motor saddle. Together with the Vicair R&D team a custom made cushion was developed that served the required specifications and dimensions.
In 2014 Nicola started using the Vicair cushion and finished races like the Baja 500 in Mexico (440 mile) and the “Vegas to Reno”(530 miles). He continued racing on world stages like the F.I.M. Baja World (2015), Best in the Desert (2016) and Merzouga (2017). Still there is one goal left for Nicola… Riding the Dakar Rally!
WATCH VIDEO: https://vicair.com/nicola-dutto/