A YOUNG motorcycle star raced at up to 180mph unaware that the slightest bump could have left him paralysed.

Even getting out of bed the wrong way could have left Dennis Hobbs unable to walk after he dislocated two vertebrae in his neck without realising.

Today, he will undergo a major operation to rescue his racing career after scans showed he could have been left paralysed.

Despite the injury, the 22-year-old, from Guisborough, Teesside, finished on the podium in two races in front of his home crowd at Croft circuit, near Darlington, last month and then rode two weeks later.

His injuries were the result of a 150mph crash during a test day at Croft, when he lost control of his superbike and skidded 200 yards across the tarmac, losing his crash helmet. The full extent of his injuries was not realised until after an event at Cadwell Park, in Lincolnshire, when the official doctor for the British Superbike Championship insisted he have another check-up.

He was taken to Leeds General Infirmary, where he has been confined to bed since last week.

Dennis, who had been challenging for the title of the British Superbike Cup before the accident, may be forced to wear a metal frame around his head and neck after the operation to help him heal.