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Privateer Profile: Dennis Jonon

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Dennis Jonon was pretty famous before he ever raced a pro race. Remember the kid with the platform boot in the Shift ads? That was him. Well, eventually, his injury forced him to take some time off riding and get his leg – actually, his hip – fixed. A year later, he’s back at it, and last weekend, he made the main despite ridiculous odds against him.

Racer X: You’ve gone through quite an ordeal over the last year or so. Talk a little bit about what you went through.
Dennis Jonon: Well, a year ago today, I got total hip replacement, and I’ve just been recovering from that. I didn’t even really ride for about seven and a half months. I just took my time to do the therapy without riding and just hung out to make sure it was 100 percent – or as 100 percent as I could get it. And then I slowly started riding outdoors and stuff. By that time, it was winter again, so I really just went to the gym and then rode on days that it was like 40 and windy. I did that whole deal, and finally I went down the week of Houston to Three Palms and got to do some outdoor riding on one of my Hondas. Then I went to Houston to watch Supercross, and that Thursday after, I got a deal put together with a local shop, Blue Springs Xtreme, and then that’s where we got to where we’re at now.

So, by “total hip replacement” what do you mean?
I don’t know, dude, they just cut out my whole hip and put in a fake one. I got a total hip replacement, so that means like what a 50-year-old person would get.

So you got a metal socket and metal end of your femur?
It’s like titanium, and my femur got hollowed out so they could shove the rod down my femur.

So you’re almost bionic!
Oh, for sure! Whenever I go to the airports now, I have to take this little handicapped card because it beeps every time I go through it, so they think I’m smuggling something.

That could actually make it so that you could smuggle things...
(Laughs) Yeah, I’ll have to hit up Lawrence, huh?

Is it stressful to ride knowing how much damage you can do now if you fall again on it?
After my hip replacement, I didn’t even know if I was going to race pro anymore. I’ve been going to school now for a year, so I’ve been doing that – I’m a full-time student now at a community college – but I realized how much easier it is for me to ride with my leg how it is now. I knew I couldn’t be out of it. I was depressed being at home all the time and not being at the track. Then, it was another four or five months of cold weather, so I didn’t get to ride as much. This week, I rode two days, and that’s the first time I’ve ridden supercross on a weekday since the 2007 supercross season.

That’s a long time.
Yeah, my bike stays on the rig, so whenever I fly or drive to the races, I just keep it on the rig. So my first practice every weekend is literally practice, you know? It’s the only practice I get, so I take full advantage of it.

You made the main event this week and finished 12th. How did you feel about that?
I mean, I know how to race a lot better than practice anyway. I haven’t been doing good in qualifying and stuff, so I get horrible gate picks, and then... I’ve had a couple good starts in the past, but I’d get pushed wide and be sitting back in like 15th. It’s hard to come through the pack when everyone’s running the same speed. I finally got a good start in my heat race and just rode smart and came out eighth. I had a pretty decent gate pick for the main event. It worked out good.

Who would you like to thank?
Right now, Wonder Warthog Racing, Blue Springs Xtreme Powersports, Decal Works, Utopia, TCX Boots, Fly Racing, Liquid Performance, Mitch at Pro Circuit – because he built me a rocketship – and my mom and dad. Without them, I couldn’t be here.
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