November 3, 2022 7.30 am This story is over 17 months old

Lincolnshire racing driver who defied the odds to walk again is fundraising to compete

He needs help funding an upcoming 24-hour race in Mexico

A disabled British racing driver who was once told he might not ever walk again is now fundraising to compete in a 24-hour racing event at a Formula 1 track in Mexico after some successful races this year.

Jonathan Ogden has been diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Ankylosing Spondylitis Arthritis, which some people would say are setbacks.

However, the 22-year-old from Bardney near Lincoln says “these are my strengths and let me rise to the challenge and makes me more hungry to achieve.”

He is now trying to raise £10,000 to compete at Abono Endurance 24 at the The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City on December 10 – make a donation here.

Jonathan needs to raise the money to be able to compete in “my first proper international race” in Mexico, which would see him in a team with three other drivers representing Motorsport Academy. Jonathan’s team would be driving in an Audi A1 shell with a copper 1.8 engine in a race to be first to cross the finish line.

Half of the money would be for Mexico, with the rest for competing in events next year, including entry fee, renting a race car, and other associated costs, and he will raise the rest from his own pocket.

From struggling with pain to chasing a dream

When Jonathan was just four-years-old he tried to get into Go Karting and when he was six he enjoyed playing with his pedal and wheels on the Xbox. He hoped to go professional as a child, but couldn’t afford all the costs associated with it.

Jonathan has also struggled with pain in his legs and back, and across his whole body his whole life. He said nobody believed him at first or thought he was just being a classic boy who wanted to sit in his room and play Xbox, or was being lazy, but this “wasn’t the case”, he said.

He was in and out of hospital from a young age with various different pain problems. At the age of 10, he went to hospital and had multiple scans and, although doctors couldn’t work out what the problem was, the pain became manageable again.

When he woke up one school morning, aged 12, he suddenly couldn’t walk and had hyper sensitivity in his legs, which shot up and he described it as a “huge flare up” as “nothing could touch my legs without it hurting”.

Doctors at Lincoln County Hospital at the time were unable to work out what was wrong with Jonathan, but he was told there was a chance he might not walking again. Jonathan said the hospital staff were all good, but he felt frustrated at not having answers.

Jonathan spent two years in a wheelchair, during which time he was referred to children’s hospitals in Nottingham and Sheffield, and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

He was then diagnosed with with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which affects his nerves and gives him pain all over.

Jonathan then signed up for a rehabilitation programme and between December 2014 and January 2015 he spent Monday to Friday at Great Ormond Street Hospital to help manage the pain in his legs, have intense physiotherapy, and learn how to walk again.

Jonathan’s weight loss journey between March 2021 and the same month in 2022.

When he was 20-years-old, Jonathan was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis Arthritis, which he says affects his joints, fuses his bones together, and causes pain.

Jonathan knew he needed to get back into shape from being in a wheelchair and over the last year he is now walking again and lost 11.5 stone (down from 22 stone).

Jonathan’s first time back in a go-kart in August 2016 after getting out of his wheelchair. He’s pictured with his friend Todd and his brother James.

He said: “I didn’t just want to sit and take it (when being told I might not walk again). It’s not a nice thing being told, especially when you’re a kid and your friends are outside having fun, and thinking that you won’t be able to do that anymore.

“In the nicest way, it annoyed me as it’s not how I wanted to live my life. I didn’t know what to do at the time, but I was determined to do something to get back on track.

“I am still in immense pain, even today, and have been all my life. I have to do a lot of physio and exercises to manage it each day.”

Jonathan loves motor racing and is pictured here at the HSA Sprint Championships at Loton Park.

Jonathan has been competing in virtual sim racing at a good level, including against some professionals.

This also led to invites to compete in some physical racing events, including HSA Sprint Championships at Loton Park, the Trackday Championship in Anglesey in Wales in June where he finished 5th, and a 10th-place finish at the Ford KA Endurance at Oulton Park in Chester in September.

During this time he was then invited to compete in the 24-hour racing event in in December. If he raises enough money, he would join a team of three other drivers and compete against around 50 other teams in a 24 hour race, with each of the quartet driving for six hours.

Jonathan racing at EnduroKA (Ford KA Endurance) at Oulton Park in September this year. | Photo: Mark Lees

When speaking about his fundraising page he said: “The main thing with the fundraiser is I want to show people that they shouldn’t let anything get in the way of what they want to achieve.

“Finally, I am getting the opportunity to do it and the only thing holding me back is the cost. I want to make the impossible possible.”

He added that the names of those donating to his fundraiser will be written on his helmet to show his appreciation to “thank people who make it possible.”

Jonathan competing in Anglesey in July 2022.

Jonathan has been invited to race with Vpex Motorsport in the KA Endurance on race tracks around the UK in 2023.

He also plans to keep racing with McEntee Racing for the HSA Speed Championships, and help with funding will play a key role in deciding what happens next.

Jonathan dreams of one day becoming a GT3 endurance racer.

When asked about his ambitions for the future, he said: “My dream from when I was younger was to be a GT3 (Grand Touring) endurance racer and I feel like I’m not too far away.

“It all comes down to funding and experience, but I am hopeful I can achieve this in the next five years and would love an opportunity to show what I can do.”

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