It is just over ten years since Carlos Villar was paralysed following an on-track accident whilst racing for Berwick Badnits.
The tiny Argentine, whom Bandits fans took to their hearts, broke his back when he was involved in a horror smash at Shielfield Park.
Now, a decade later, Villar has written a message to fans, giving them an insight into how he has managed to cope with being wheelchair bound.
He describes how he felt after the accident and how he had to come to terms with the hand fate dealt him.
Villar, or Carlucho as he was also known, was brought to Britain by former Berwick promoter Peter Waite, and he quickly developed a reputation for his cavalier style of racing.
In a letter he sent last week Villar said: “It’s hard to believe, but it is ten years already October 18, 2003 – that day luck was not on my side.
“The question I ask myself quite often is ‘Why me?’ But I have not found the answer. I have had many sleepless nights thinking about it.
“I survived the accident, but I broke two vertebrae in my back and cut the spinal cord which steals 70 per cent response of my body. If I could re-shuffle the cards, would I do it again?, I don’t know.
“Today is a day of reflection, but I don’t know if there is sadness or joy. I don’t know why things like this happen, but I have had to accept the situation.
“I had a lot of ignorance about a wheelchair, although I always had a great respect for each of the ‘superior people’ who are able to overcome obstacles of such a dimension.
“I never imagined it would be so difficult, just figured it was two-wheel drive, having to learn everything from scratch.
“I imagined that no-one would want me and I thought that no-one would want to care for me. How would I earn a living with dignity?
“I found many obstacles, some I could overcome, but others I had to dodge. I had to beat myself every day, very hard, encouraging myself to go out and keep my head high.
“I was embarrassed, I felt judged and observed. I thought I felt different, evil, contageous, thinking how I would manage to live in this situation. But over time I have found many people have helped me.”
Remarkably, Villar took up stock car racing back in his homeland, in a specially adapted vehicle.
“I have managed to achieve almost 100 per cent independence, which I thought I would never achieve,” he said.
“I have got some pride back, and my next goal is to compete in a championship. At first I struggled with this, but now it is my passion.
“When I was riding speedway I thought I had at all – but in a split second I had nothing. I was in a hospital fighting for my life, then fighting to continue living.
“The stock cars meant I was able to return to the track again. It takes a lot of time, and a lot of effort, and there are days when I feel selfish because I am doing it for me.
“But I have paid my dues and I know I have done nothing wrong. The accident was not through choice, but it was my responsibility and I never wanted it to be an emotional burden to anyone.
“Now, I try to fill my days with happy and fun thoughts, but it is not always the case – sometimes there are sad and dark days – the human mind is a very complex place and there are times we do not know how to react.
“I get melancholy and really miss the beautiful moments.
“But I know there are still some good things to come. We have to try and live life to its fullest.”