Fear is an interesting emotion. Everyone has their little phobias here and there, but if you are a motocrosser you know fear in a very unique and pure aspect. When the 30 second card goes up and you glance over and see 40 front fenders waiting to charge... that's fear. When you know that you are going to come up short on a triple... that's fear. Time slows down right before a huge crash. You taste acid in your throat, and no matter how well you prepare yourself for how bad it is going to hurt, it's always somehow worse. You can learn to deal with pain, but that awful felling of terror is something I've never taken command of.
With it being spooky time, I thought it would be fun to go over my top-five scariest crashes. Grab some popcorn and pull that blanket up tight!
5. Travis Pastrana's spine dislocating crash in Arizona. The dawn of the FMX era was upon us and #199 was 15 years old, I think. It was a huge double on the course that nobody had even looked at. TP's RM125 didn't have the steam to make it and he had about four solid seconds to think about how hard he was going to case it. It had to be spooky, and boy did he hit a ton.
4. Brian Manley, Damon Bradshaw, John Dowd and Mike Kiedrowski at Broome Tioga. Sometimes you don't have to be scared about hitting the dirt. It's the 350 pounds of man and machine that is going to have you for lunch that sucks. Manley crashed hard but his terror was only beginning. After eating crap huge, he was landed on a further three times. That was a scary crash.
3. Seth Enslow going gargantuan in the dunes. It's hard to say how scared he actually was during that crash. The level of THC in his system at the time of the bail had to have been impressive. Even if Sethro wasn't scared, everyone remembers the first time they saw that leap of faith. "You have some serious problems you need to work out with yourself." Indeed.
2. Street Bike Tommy clearing the foam pit on his GSXR. It's hard to say what produced the most fear on that one. The feeling of getting bucked on a 120 horsepower street bike would be terrible. The fear of being 40 feet in the air almost upside down had to be strong. Knowing that you are floating past those fluffy foam blocks and going to land on a damn wood pile instead? Gnarly. Scary as hell.
1. Henry Hill at Budd's Creek. Let's all have a moment of silence... thank you. It was late moto and Doug was trying to fight off "Iron" Mike Larocco and Jeremy McGrath. My man hit an 80-foot cliff, 4th gear wide open on a works HRC 250. That crash remains the scariest thing I have ever seen. Very few humans since the beginning of time have experienced fear in that manner – if ever.
Those are my top five. I'm not trying to be funny at all about those. I know what Brian and Doug are going through now and I have nothing but respect and admiration for their courage.
But hey, motocross is what it is. It ain't no disco, folks. Everyone who has thrown a leg over knows all about fear. We respect it. And like I said at the top, we should show a little more respect for evil and the dark side. While you're out pounding sweet tea and Grey Goose this weekend and hitting on a dozen chicks in schoolgirl uniforms, take a moment and remember the real reason we celebrate Halloween. BOO! Haha!
Ah, but Halloween is a good time and I hope everyone is safe this weekend. Watch out for the little guys trick or treating and take it easy on the Black Velvet and red rope liquorish.
Now, excuse me, I have to see if that Kenny Powers costume is still available on eBay.
Thanks for reading, see you next week.