A FAMILY holiday misadventure has convinced V8 Supercars star Mark "Frosty" Winterbottom that he is not invincible. Winterbottom and his family were waterskiing at Lake Eppalock, near Bendigo, when he fell awkwardly and broke his left ankle.
At first he thought he had just tweaked a tendon, but a trip to the doctor ended in emergency surgery and two screws supporting a snapped tibia.
Winterbottom is racing the clock to be ready for a pre-season test with Ford Performance Racing at Sandown on February 11 and this season's start at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide on March 3.
"You think you're bulletproof and nothing can happen to you," Winterbottom said yesterday.
"You go into denial. But when you're going under the anaesthetic it comes home to you.
"I actually did it on December 30. I thought it was just a tendon, so I put up with it until January 2, when all the blood was coming out of the bone.
"It started to look a bit gruesome."
Winterbottom contacted Dr Karl Le, who is responsible for the health of the V8 Supercars travelling circus, who arranged for him to see a surgeon.
"I was pretty lucky. He did a great job," Winterbottom said.
He denied it was irresponsible or dangerous to be waterskiing, a popular pastime with many V8 Supercars drivers, including three-time champion Jamie Whincup and Rick and Todd Kelly. "It was just one of those freakish things. I wasn't doing anything stupid. It's a good part of our holidays," Winterbottom said.
"We're all revheads and love adrenalin and action. We work hard all year and we want to get away when we can for a break with the family. I've never had an issue before."
Winterbottom was on a new ski behind his new Malibu tow boat. "We've got it on video. My foot came half out and then got caught. That was it."
He said he was confident he would be fit in time for the Clipsal 500.
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