Double World Superbike champion James Toseland has become the latest high profile name to support the valuable work of The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS) by becoming a celebrity ambassador for the service.
Toseland, who became the youngest ever World Superbike Champion at the age of 23, joins TV actor, adventurer and fellow motorcycle enthusiast Charley Boorman, pop star Simon Le Bon and England Rugby International Mike Tindall as the latest sporting ambassador.
Toseland, who is due to marry pop star fiancée Katie Melua later this year, will support TAAS with its national PR campaign, fundraising and awareness. The charity will also this year launch a bespoke Children’s Air Ambulance service across the UK, which will be dedicated to the transfer of critically ill children and babies between specialist hospitals across the UK.
First established in 2003 as a charitable organisation, TAAS now provides a vital Helicopter Emergency Medical Service across five counties in the heart of England operating out of Coventry and East Midlands Airports and is one of the busiest Air Ambulance HEMS services in the UK.
Last year The Air Ambulance Service reached its 14,000th mission landmark through its combined services of Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and DLRAA and is called out to attend an average of 150 missions each month. It is one of the busiest Air Ambulance Service’s in the country and serves a combined total population of around 4.4 million.
Road traffic collisions involving motorcyclists, along with other motorbike related sporting events including trials, moto cross and road racing, are ranked in the top three rescues that TAAS are called to attend.
Motorcyclists whether pursuing leisure activities on their motorbikes or professionally competing in the sport, often suffer multiple serious and life threatening injuries, many of which involve head and spinal trauma. These injuries require the utmost care and the fastest possible medical attention, which the TAAS’ clinical teams and helicopters provide. With the recent establishment of a national Major Trauma Centre network, this service also further facilitates accessing these centres of excellence quickly, which can have a big impact on lifesaving care for motorcyclists.
TAAS is a charity that James Toseland was particularly keen to support and become involved with after a serious injury in 2000 at Cadwell Park during testing that resulted in him experiencing the lifesaving work of an Air Ambulance which attended to him on scene. As a professional motorcyclist and sportsman who has himself experienced and sustained injuries, he is all too aware of the dangers motorcyclists face in everyday life on the road and competing professionally in motorcycle sports.
Speaking as he visited the TAAS operational base at Coventry Airport, Toseland said: “As a professional rider in a fast and very competitive sport that has elements of danger at every bend and corner, I am well aware of the potential serious injuries that all motorcyclists face.
“Having been involved in a serious motorbike accident myself where I was airlifted by an air ambulance, I know firsthand the incredible work that these people do day in day out.
“Like many other people and fellow motorcyclists I owe a debt of gratitude for being in the safest possible hands and receiving the very best clinical care and attention at the time.
“I know how important it is to help support the valuable work of The Air Ambulance Service raising awareness and funds so that they can continue to provide the very best emergency medical care and attention.”
Becoming a World Superbike champion at the age of 23 instantly catapulted James Toseland into a league of esteemed biking legends, that includes Carl Fogarty, Troy Bayliss and Neil Hodgson. With a career that started off in trials, motocross and then road racing, Toseland was a gifted rider, working his way up through the ranks of 125cc racing and British Supersport. In less than five years riding for Honda, Ducati and Yamaha, he had risen through the ranks competing in the British Superbike Championships, World Superbike Championships and the elite Moto GP series, before twice claiming the title of World Superbike Champion.
In 2011 after his crash in Aragon Spain, which involved a serious injury to his hand, Toseland announced his retirement from the sport. An accomplished pianist and musician, Toseland now spends his time in a media career commentating on the sport, as well as being an ambassador for the Donnington Park Race Circuit. He also spends time on charitable projects and performing with his rock band “CRASH”.
Commenting on James Toseland’s appointment as an ambassador for TAAS and The Children’s Air Ambulance CEO Andy Williamson said: “Having a double world superbike champion like James Toseland on board as an ambassador supporting our cause is a great privilege. James has experienced first hand the valuable work of the Air Ambulance Service after being air lifted from the scene of a serious motorcycle accident.
“By having James on board will help us reach out to the motorcyclists and fans of motorcycle sport in trials, moto cross, GP and road racing.
“It will help us to not only communicate safety and awareness messages, but to also better inform people of the work we do for the motorcycle and biking communities.
“His support will raise valuable awareness and funds to help maintain our service.”