Flying High - a Dirt Bike Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Imagine jumping fifty feet in the air and flying forty yards. Add thirty rabid motocross racers riding wild and you've got the basis for this story, complete with bittersweet ending....

Flying High
In 2005, I was flying high, literally and figuratively. I was what is known as a journeyman privateer on the AMA Supercross Tour. If you’re not familiar with Supercross, I’ll try to explain. It involves riding motocross-type bikes on a dirt track that is built for race purposes in a large stadium. The tracks are all set up with very high jumps and numerous hairpin turns and tricky technical sections.
As a journeyman, I’d won the right to race with the professionals during a previous qualifying race, but I didn’t have any sponsors - yet. This meant I was riding a primarily stock motorcycle and traveling from race to race with my Dad who served as my mechanic and race crew. We traveled in style, in his old blue Ford Econoline van with my motorcycle, his tools, and our sleeping bags in the back. 
We were on such a razor-thin budget that sometimes, we actually did have to sleep in the back of the van, and chain the motorcycle to the bumper outside because their wasn’t room for us and it together. Most sponsored professionals had big contracts, three or four customized bikes, a race trailer, and a full-fledged professional crew. If they didn’t sleep in cushy hotels, it was because they had forty foot motor homes with cushy queen sized beds and fifty inch flat screen TVs. It was tough to accept the differences at first, but I adjusted quickly.
At my first professional race, I got second place and a brief bit of limelight on the podium that night. I also met Cindy, a smokin’ hot Monster Energy girl, after that race and we’re still together today. After it was all over that night, and I was lying down in the back of the van, I rededicated myself to work harder. If I could win just one race, my chances of lucrative sponsorships – aka big bucks were much greater.
I remember my next big race under the lights like it was yesterday. It was a warmish Friday night in October, 2005. We were in Anaheim Stadium, and the place was packed. Over fifty thousand people were standing and cheering as we started our bikes. I needed a great start because it’s tough to catch up to the sponsored bikes if you get behind early. I got an excellent hole-shot, and Jimmy Stewart, the favorite was squeezed on the first turn and went down in the tires at the edge of the track.
Out of turn one, I was in third place. With thirteen riders behind me and only two in front, I was confident and knew I had to be bold. Three turns later, I was still in third place and approaching the monster jump. This jump was twenty five feet high, and at race speed I would approach fifty feet off the ground and clear thirty five to forty yards of distance in the air. During practice, I had only taken this jump at about seventy-five percent of my race velocity which seemed ok at the time.
As I shifted from second to third approaching the jump, I had pros on either side of me, setting up to pass me in the air. I juiced it to the max, intent on keeping my position through the first lap. Jumping is technical and tricky. The perfectly executed jump requires excellent timing, rider position, and speed. I felt the surge of adrenaline as I popped the throttle off the top of the hill. I leaned forward on the bike, gripping the seat with my knees, bikes on either side of me and gaining.
In an effort to stay ahead of the others, they tell me that I leaned forward during the landing, and somehow engaged my front brake which catapulted me over the handlebars. I don’t remember any of this, but they tell me it was definitely the 2008 Supercross wipeout of the year. As I was tumbling forward on the ground, first my own bike rolled over me followed by two other riders who inflicted more damage. My bike probably broke my right arm as I was trying to push it away. 
Andy Nolan’s Red Bull sponsored Honda came down on my right thigh which was broken in seven places. When I watched the highlight film later, that part was blacked out as the compound fracture actually pushed my femur through my riding pants and spurted blood all over the track. It was Mike Yardley’s orange Gatorade-sponsored KTM that caused the most damage. 
I had been pushed down the track some forty yards by this point. Mike landed alongside another rider who I didn’t know prior to that race. Unfortunately, the unnamed rider landed with difficulty and pushed Mike into me. Mike’s front tire rolled over my shoulder and neck. The shoulder fracture was no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the spinal injury changed my life.
Fast forward to here and now. It’s 5:30PM, September 1st, 2009 and I’m eagerly awaiting the start of the race.We’re in Anaheim Stadium and I have that same surge of adrenaline that I’d had all those years ago for this race. I can’t help but remember that night four years earlier. My Dad is here with me as is Monster Energy Cindy (my wife of one year). We’re in the dirt at the start line and the race is about to begin. I should also mention that I am no longer destitute, thanks to a seven figure deal with Leatt[i] protective gear.
The gun fires and the race begins and I’m hanging back in my seat. The sport is so much faster than when I was last here and I’m flush with excitement. Around turn one, Team Honda’s Jimmy Stewart is in the lead and I’m looking back at the rest of the field. Dust is flying everywhere and I realize that I’m rolling forward towards the wall of tires. I gently apply the brake on my wheelchair. It seems I can’t tolerate dirt in my eyes like I used to, or maybe it’s that dirt and tears that don’t mix too well.
Jimmy Stewart leads the race from wire to wire and wins easily. It looks like he’s on his way to win his third championship. I meet with many of the riders and their crews after the race and stress the importance of Leatt protective braces for all riding levels from recreational to professional. The Leatt-Brace® protects the neck from severe injuries like mine.
I am the youngest sales manager on staff at Leatt and I am responsible for motocross-related sales. I will never walk again, but I know that I have the rest of my life to help ensure that others can keep racing and flying high after a bad crash…

[i] The Leatt-Brace is a truly revolutionary safety system and the result of years of research and development. It is the most technologically advanced safety system for the neck available on the market today. Visit for more info.

Submitted: July 01, 2010

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hi im a freshman in highschool and It would be helpful for you to let me copy some of this work so I can paste on my project and announce it

Wed, May 22nd, 2019 10:53pm

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