This just in...Jamie Whitham, a 20-year veteran of racing, has seen his career cut short by health concerns: after getting over Hodgkin's Disease, now it's glaucoma of the left eye. At the end of last season he first encountered slight vision difficulties and sought medical treatment (he had laser treatment to burn some tiny holes in his retina to drain fluid), though the full impact of the problem has only now become evident. Jamie maintains near normal vision for daily activities but the impairment becomes more acute during the stresses of top-level competitive racing and this has led to his decision to retire. Doctors have suggested that the cause of the problem may be the chemotherapy treatment that Whitham received in 1995 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease - a form of lymphatic cancer, from which he made a full recovery.
On top of this, his Belgarda Yamaha team-mate Paolo Casoli has also retired, because of head injuries sustained in a testing crash last November. The 37 year-old Italian is completely over the trauma but retains some mild tissue damage (anencephaly) which, in the case of another crash, could lead to more serious complications. Casoli, who in all other respects can lead a normal healthy life, has chosen to follow the advice of his doctors and retire from racing.
...so, Jurgen v.d Goorberg takes over for next season, though ex-125GP rider Simone Sanna will be testing with the team on 26th and 27th this month
Shock horror, but I've spoken to Jamie and he's ok and may look at other championship series in future...I'm hoping to get him back into World Endurance
...anyway, he's up for co-commentary, if I can swing it.
Just thought you'd all like to know!