A decidedly un-Chad-Reed like moment led to one of Chad Reed’s greatest moments ever. The man known for his consistency, for his longevity, for avoiding the wild crash, took on one of the wildest crashes ever seen at a motocross race. Then he got up, came back, and built his legend even more.
He explained the story at the post-race press conference. “I had another great start. I felt good today, I felt like I had a 1-1 in me. I was pushing from the beginning, and I’ve felt like that’s my weakest link this year. Seems like when RV gets out front he goes for it, and I kind of said to myself, “That’s not going to happen today.” Then it went all wrong. There were some bumps in the bottom, and I just hit them, and the front wheel just went full lock, and next thing I knew I was rolling up the windows flying backwards on the track. It was the scariest crash I’ve ever had or witnessesd. I’m just glad I’m here to tell the story.
“I hit my head pretty hard and I was winded. It took the breath out of me. I think the first one to me was [Honda technician] Shane Drew, and he said “are you alright?” and my answer was just “ahhh” because I couldn’t get my breath (laughs). I knew I was okay as far as my limbs went, so once I got my breath back, I knew I could get up and try to salvage. The goal is always championship, and I wasn’t about to lay down and let these guys make up 25 points. I think I maybe could have made it into the top 10, but I was just so nauseous because I hit my head, and I couldn’t get all of the air back in me.”
Reed was lucky to leave this crash unscathed.
Photo: Brian Robinette
After Reed completed lap one, he raced past the mechanics’ area, and every single mechanic waved their towel and cheered him in support. Competitor or not, you had to applaud the effort.
“Yeah that was pretty special. And the reaction of the crowd, the whole moto, but for sure that next lap, everyone was so loud. The only time I’ve ever felt anything like that was at my home Grand Prix back in 2001, in Australia. I went down in the first turn and was coming back, and being Australian in my home country, they were cheering me the whole way. I felt like I experienced that again today, and that’s pretty special. Thankful for the fans, they helped me keep my head down and kept me going. The first lap, I put in a pretty good lap, and I think that was all adrenaline. I hit a wall after that. I just had to suffer the whole way through.”
Some estimate Reed fell as far as fifty feet down to the track surface. He landed in the soft, grassy area on the side of the jump, and was able to use some of the natural backside of the jump to absorb the force. As soon as the moto was over, Reed took off his helmet and told his team, “Man, I got so lucky.”
Yes, in a way, but this has become a season of destiny for Reed. If you can make your own luck, he’s made it this year, and perhaps all of his good deeds helped save him from one really bad crash.