What a mess…Glen Helen was supposed to be a chance to soak in the last Championship season by racing hard and enjoying the day. RC even purposely scheduled his flight home for late Sunday evening so he could hang out with everyone at the end of the day…I’m really bummed for Ricky.
The weekend started off great. On Friday night FOX sponsored a Championship dinner for Ricky and Team Makita Suzuki with all of Ricky’s personal sponsors and close friends in attendance. We had a little over 100 guests on hand to watch some great videos and tributes from friends and sponsors. The staff at Racer-X, Simon Cudby, Sandy Egger and Karrie Franks from FOX and BJ Smith from the OLN TV show were all a huge help in putting together a great night…thanks everyone!
On Saturday we joked that it felt like Anaheim 1 all over again….there were so many photographers and journalists from all over the world trying to schedule photo shoots and interviews that we just ran out of time…there simply wasn’t enough hours in the day to get everyone in. On Saturday night we attended the “official” launch of Suzuki’s new RMZ-250 at Pole Position raceway (a cool indoor carting facility). Ricky had a good time hanging out with his current team mates and also seeing guys like Mark Barnett, Ezra Lusk, Damon Huffman and Travis Pastrana all on hand to discuss the heritage of the Suzuki 125 class Champions.
Sunday started off really good too….the track was insane but Ricky was excited about riding with his Motocross-of-Nations gear in the second moto with the other Team USA Team riders. Ricky and James Stewart (RC calls him “Stew”) have become pretty close again lately too so the “fierce” part of the racing stays on the track. Beeker has a great photo of Ricky and Bubba talking in staging before practice in his column.
The racing on Sunday for Ricky only lasted for four laps….he had just passed for the lead and as Ricky described “I was bunny hopping over this section of bumps in a fast section of the track and just messed up…my front wheel got sucked up and I was toast”. He continued with “I jumped up as quickly as possible and when I tried to pick up my bike I realized that my shoulder was screwed…I could barely pick the bike up and when I finally did I couldn’t pull in the clutch…my mind was racing because for the first time in a really long time I realized that I couldn’t continue the race…it sucked”.
Ricky rode back to the truck…I remember my heart jumped in my throat when I heard the announcer say that Ricky was heading back to the pits. I ran as fast as I could because Ricky has a huge tolerance for pain…if he can’t continue than it must be bad…I even grabbed a bag of Ice in the cooler while he was getting off of his bike because I could already see the way that he was struggling with holding his arm up that this wasn’t good…I initially thought that he must have broken his collar bone. Ricky walked into the Suzuki semi and immediately sat down on the floor and leaned against the cabinets…the look on his face was not good…he was hurting!
The doctors from the Asterisk medical unit were in the truck within minutes…I think that they were scared too because Ricky never has to miss a moto. Thankfully the doctors determined after some x-rays that no bones were broken. We helped Ricky get to his motor coach so he could get out of his race wear and get rinsed off.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this message there was a ton of people at this race and everyone wanted to express their concern for Ricky. We decided that the best thing to do was to get Ricky away from the track so he could relax. We had already planned on flying with Kevin Windham in a private jet together late Sunday night so we kept to that plan. We sent a message over to KW to tell him to call us after the second moto to check on things. Ricky and I took my rental car out of the pits to a friends house in Anaheim Hills…on the way out RC said “Go tell Stew to back it down out there the next moto…he doesn’t have anyone to play with so be careful..we can’t have both of us hurt” Bubba was really cool and promised to be careful…James kept to his word and won the second moto without pushing too hard…he got a good lead and literally cruised to the finish.
On Sunday night we waited at the house in Anaheim Hills for Ben Townley and RC’s trainer Aldon Baker to get through the Glen Helen traffic. RC kept his promise with the Speed freaks and did a phone in interview at 7:00PM before we all went to grab some dinner. Ricky was in major pain…we talked him into wearing a sling to relieve some of the stress to his shoulder but he was still hurting.
We arranged for Ricky’s doctor at home in Tallahassee to meet him at his office early Monday morning when we arrived into town. We stuck to our plan and met KW at the airport in Chino at about 11:30PM Sunday night. We flew straight to Baton Rouge to drop Kevin and Alley Semar off and continued our flight home to Tallahassee. When we arrived into Tallahassee Ricky went straight to his doctor’s office for the first check up of three yesterday.
As of Tuesday morning Ricky will be starting a re-hab on his shoulder at a Sports Clinic in Tallahassee. Ricky has some ligament and tendon damage that he needs to get a handle on. As of this moment Ricky is a game time decision for the Motocross-of-Nations. Roger Decoster and the Suzuki staff will be making an official announcement about this as soon as possible. I will do my best to keep everyone up to speed as well.
Ricky asked me this morning to include a short message from him…”Thanks for everyone’s continued support…please know that I am doing everything possible to get this shoulder ready to go…If I cannot ride at the Motocross-of-Nations please give your full support to the rider that is chosen to replace me. My team will keep you guys posted as things progress…thanks again and I’m sorry that this happened”
More later this week,