Cecil Towner, 35, of Richmond, Va. and his speed shop HTP Performance have become one of the most well respected high-performance motorcycle builders in all of drag racing. Towner spends a lot of time on the dyno fine-tuning his beastly creations.
Unfortunately on July 17th, Towner suffered a freak accident while dynoing a 2008 Hayabusa with a 240, wide tire kit on it.
“I made one pull on the bike to get a baseline on it and everything went fine. I let the bike cool down then I fired it back up and proceeded to start with tuning the bike,” Towner said.
Towner’s next pull resulted in the massive tire exploding at the redline, just over 10,000 RPMs.
“As soon as the explosion occurred I felt a very hard blow to my lower back. I immediately jumped off the bike and as soon as my feet hit the floor my legs gave out. I was laying on the floor trying to yell but the blow knocked the wind out of me. My father and one of my employees came running in. They found me lying on the floor,” Towner said. “I couldn’t sit up or stand on my own so my dad called the ambulance.”
Towner was rushed to the hospital and checked into a trauma room. The doctors ordered X-rays and a CT scan of Towner’s back.
“They found I had four fractures to the transverse process of my spine. The blow to my back enlarged my spleen,” Towner said. “Luckily none of my injuries required surgery. I just need time and rest to heal.”
Towner spent the next 24 hours in the hospital for observation.
The experienced bike builder is still stunned.
“I’ve had a couple of incidents on the dyno but I also dyno a lot of bikes so the ratio of having bad things happen is very small. They do happen unfortunately,” Towner said. “I don’t know if anything could have been done to prevent this from happening. The only thing I haven’t checked is to see if the tire on this particular bike was Z rated or not. It’s something I’m sure going to check from now on.”
Towner expressed his sincere gratitude to everyone who has checked up on him and wished him well.
“I would like to thank all my family and friends that have sent their prayers and concerns,” Towner said. “This really helps getting through this whole process.”