Racing has always been something Tim Hunt is passionate about.
“I’ve always been a NASCAR fan. When I was young, I went to many tracks with my parents,” the 42-year-old Derby, Vt. native said. “My aunt and my uncle took me on a very large trip after I had my accident.”
When Hunt was just 14, he was injured head-to-toe when a tubing accident left him with broken bones and spinal damage. The incident left his left arm paralyzed, and after years of experimental surgeries, Hunt decided to get his arm amputated.
“It was more in the way, and I couldn’t move it or use it,” Hunt said. “The surgery itself was a walk in the park. The day after I had my arm amputated I mowed for eight hours with the guys.”
Hunt ran a landscaping business prior to taking over the shop at North Country Campers, and looks at an often 14-hour workday as his own kind of therapy.
“I keep myself busy to occupy my mind because I don’t do anything for medication. I take some ibuprofen here and there, but I deal with pain by working.”
Even with the injury, and a busy work day, the racing fandom in Hunt only became more impassioned. His first experience behind the wheel came when he decided to compete in demolition derby at 15, before he could even get a driver’s license.
“When I did go to get my driver’s license, they put a restriction on my license that I could only drive automatic transmission,” Hunt said. “It ended up that the only way that I could get that restriction off my license was to go back and retake the driver’s exam in a standard transmission, and they physically could not take enough points off to fail me.”
Now in his second full year racing in the Street Stock division at Thunder Road, he’s further proving that driving doesn’t seem to be much of an issue.
“I shift from first gear to second gear just before I pull out onto the track, and then I really don’t have to shift at all while I’m on the track,” Hunt said.
When the summer season ends for Thunder Road and winter approaches, Hunt also closes up his RV garage and switches to the career he went to school for: occupational therapy. For the past two decades, Hunt has worked at North Country Hospital as an occupational therapy assistant.
There, he works traveling around school systems helping children with fine motor deficits. At the outpatient clinic, Hunt specializes in something he’s very familiar with: treating children with hand and arm injuries. It’s fitting, because Hunt is proof that those injuries don’t have to limit you in life.
“People all the time will say, ‘how do you do that?’ and, honestly until someone points it out to me, I don’t even realize.” Hunt said. “I have a one-handed mind for everything I’m doing.”