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5 Minutes With... Davi Millsaps

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Honda Red Bull Racing’s Davi Millsaps has been out ever since a crash at Hangtown that had him turning his head like the original Michael Keaton Batman. However, he’s mostly healed up now, and he’ll be returning at Millville. We caught up with him yesterday at Perris Raceway in Southern California.

Racer X: What exactly did you do to your neck, or neck and back, at Hangtown?
Davi Millsaps: It was a bunch of muscle and other soft-tissue damage, and ligaments were stretched in there. Even today, my neck is still really, really stiff. I don’t know, you’ve just got to work through it. I just couldn’t take the impact on my back because there was a swollen disc in there. It was really bad on impact, and I couldn’t really take it. That’s why I didn’t race.

I heard you were speculating that the neck brace really helped out a lot...
I guarantee you if I wasn’t wearing my Leatt brace, I probably wouldn’t be walking, just because of how far my neck actually did stretch back.

And the brace stopped your neck from extending farther?
Yeah.

What have the last few weeks been like? Have you been trying to ride and seeing how it felt, or have you just been relaxing and waiting it out?
I’ve been riding really hard, actually, and trying really hard to get back for Millville. I want to go to the last six Nationals and I want to be on the podium every weekend.

The week after you hurt yourself, you tried to race at Texas, so what went on there?
I got on the bike, did one lap, and before the finish line, there was the sand heading into the finish line, and I jerked my head back a little with the throttle, and it was gnarly. It hurt so bad. I couldn’t race. I was like, “If I can’t even roll around the track and not hurt, racings kind of out of the question.”

A lot of people question a rider’s motivations when they’re out hurt and stuff, and people have been doing that with you...
With me, every year, when I get hurt, everyone thinks I get hurt and I don’t come back because I’m over it, but I get hurt and I don’t come back because I’m still hurt! [Laughs] Are you kidding me? All the people who talk on the internet or whatever, I’d like to see them get out there and do something. All they do is talk smack about me and the other riders, so why talk smack if you can’t do it? My desire right now is really high.

A lot of times, when a rider’s off for a while, like RC and James when they did their knees, they will credit the time off with rejuvenating their drive and giving them more motivation to race...
I’ve been hurt for the last three years now, so I’m kind of over being hurt. My motivation isn’t my problem. I always feel motivated, I just end up always getting hurt or something doesn’t go my way. I’m hoping the last six nationals, something turns around for me.

I know the travel can beat you down, because hell, I do it too, but does that time off when you’re at home and not traveling, does it help you remember how much fun it is to be at the races again, and be around the fans?
You know, sometimes it’s good to have a little time off, because you’re not traveling anymore and you’re doing your therapy and doing your work at home, but after a while you just get really, really bored...

Do you play videogames? What do you do?
I haven’t played videogames in a long time, but we actually just got a new dog, so we’ve been working with it a lot. It’s a pit bull, so it’s a pain in the butt, and then we’ve got the wedding stuff going on, so life’s busy right now. I’m ready to get back to racing, that’s for sure. I’m tired of sitting at home.

Do you historically do pretty well at Millville?
I guess I had a good year in ’06; I had to come from the back in the first moto, and then in the second moto I was doing good until the mud got crazy. I didn’t have a grippy seat and kept falling off the back. I did all right in ’05, too.

So do you feel like it’s a decent track for you to come back at?
It’s a decent track. It’s really rough, and lately everyone’s been getting hurt really bad from the tracks being so rough, because the bikes are so fast now, it’s hard to stay off the dirt. They need to make the tracks a little bit nicer for us because we’re going so fast nowadays, and hopefully they can maintain it better than they have been at the last few nationals, and hopefully it’ll be a really good race.
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