Former Carey Student Benny Stevens – World’s Fastest Amputee
At 31 years of age, Benny Stevens has experienced many personal challenges. Yet somehow he has maintained a strong, positive outlook on life that has served him well both personally and professionally.
A proud West Australian and successful multiple business owner, Benny has always tackled these challenges head-on; pushing boundaries, taking risks and living life on the edge. He has survived stage three cancer and leg amputation, but this hasn’t prevented him from being a professional stuntman, an international Top Fuel Harley Drag Racer and the world’s fastest amputee!
Benny started at Carey in 1999 as a Year 8 student and graduated in 2003; with Small Business Management being his favourite class and one that would stand him in good stead for the future. Benny is the first to admit that he put his learning second as he believed his life was sorted, yet seven years later he was looking for a job and had no direction; wishing he had tried harder in the classroom and done his homework!
Chasing adrenaline rushes have been part of Benny’s passions from the age of five when he was first introduced to motorcycles. They were a big part of his life growing up on a farm, and he even managed to remain injury free until he had an accident at nine years old; the start of many more to come in his riding career! None of this deterred Benny and he used his resourcefulness to fund his expensive passion for Freestyle Motocross. By working at his parent’s plant farm during weekends and school holidays, he could put the business skills he had learnt at Carey into practice. After completing Year 12, Benny began working full time in the family business, undertaking further management responsibility, while still practising his stunt riding. His goals at this stage were very clear: To run the family business successfully and perform professional motorcycle stunt work.
In 2008, Benny got his first attempt at stunt work, performing Freestyle Motocross at a rock concert. All went well – no accidents, no breaks, no falls and he felt he was on his way to fulfilling his dreams. However, in early 2009 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which had spread to the abdomen, so life was put on hold while he underwent numerous bouts of surgery and chemotherapy. Benny is a firm believer that ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and before long he was back on his feet with new goals to build his own landscaping business. His hard work and determination paid off, the business went from strength to strength, even branching out into Earth Moving and Skip Bins.
Despite professional success, Benny never lost sight of his dream to perform on motorcycles and was still out jumping on his bike in various shows. Of course, like most motorsports, the risk of an accident while training or performing was ever present. His first major accident was at the Perth Motorcycle and Scooter Festival in 2011, where he broke both ankles and shattered his right knee. Always optimistic, Benny was grateful to have survived the accident, even though he had to spend significant time in hospital and rehabilitation. Just over a year later he had his second major accident, high in the air, the wind caught his bike and spun it around, crashing down on Benny’s left leg; causing a spiral fracture of his knee that took some time to heal. A year later he had the opportunity to perform at a major sporting event in Perth, which had the potential to lead to further opportunities on the East Coast and in New Zealand. However, during training, Benny had his third major accident as he completely overshot the landing and hit the hard ground of the Perth Motorplex at breakneck speed: crumpling both his bike and his body! This signified the end of Benny’s stunt career as he suffered two broken legs, ankles and wrists, plus broken ribs, sternum and numerous complications. Spending several months in hospital, with an extensive recovery process.
Benny never experienced any regret, because he had always known and accepted the risks in his sport, so instead, he began planning a different life path with new goals and new challenges. First of them was to compete in the AIBT Billfish competition, which he did with his broken legs, ankles and wrists! He drew on all his inner strength to overcome the limitations of his injuries and win the Sail Fish class of the event. Feeling unstoppable, he returned home to a round of visits with his surgeons who were trying to figure out how to save his right leg! Eventually, it became clear that the damage was too severe as with no bone growth in the six months since the accident, and minimal circulation to the damaged areas, his surgeons concluded that amputation was the only solution! So on May 6 2014, his right leg was removed from below the knee and he had to learn how to walk with a prosthetic leg. During this time he was visited by family and friends, one of whom joked about becoming the world’s fastest amputee which captured Benny’s imagination. It became his new life goal and spurred him onto a speedy recovery!
By July 2014, Benny was back working full time in his business and then purchased a motorcycle that he believed could help him achieve this goal:- A nitro-fuelled Harley Davison drag bike. Two years of determination, practice and training followed until his goal was achieved. Benny set a track time of 6.96 seconds for the quarter mile and clocked 202mph, beating both of USA Reggie Shower’s records.
Today Benny is still competing on his 1000hp drag bike and operating his highly successful businesses. He wants to inspire other young people to live their dreams, no matter the barriers and challenge professionals working with amputees to rethink their expectations. For Benny, each day is a new challenge, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Proving that ‘Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character and character hope’ (Romans 5 vs 4). We wish you well in your future Benny!