But the night was far from easy for the Team Toyota Yamaha/BlackfootDirect.com/Fox Racing rider. During practice, his teammate, Blair Morgan, another icon of Canadian MX and snocross, crashed hard and was immediately driven to the hospital. Rather than spoil the evening, the Blackfoot team kept Morgan’s condition quiet until it eventually leaked out following the MX1 final: Morgan had suffered a serious spinal-cord injury. He and his family remain in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
His friend, teammate and longtime competitor’s health was no doubt weighing on JSR’s mind, along with the pressure of performing in front of 44,000 fans in his final race. Then, during his qualifier, JSR’s head pipe was damaged in the first corner and he fell outside of qualifying position. The champ rose to the occasion, however, winning the LCQ and then destroying the decibel meter as fans cheered him on to his final victory at the “Big O.”
Monster Energy/Cernic’s Kawasaki’s Jeff Gibson had JSR in his sights early on, but he fell back to fifth by the checkers. Two-time Canadian MX2 champ Michael Willard surprised everyone by working his way into second, even making up some ground on JSR around the halfway point. He was unable to get within striking distance, though, and settled for second ahead of Jason Thomas.