Racer X Outstanding  Performance: Justin Brayton

Racer X Outstanding Performance: Justin Brayton

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Each week, Racer X selects one rider as the recipient of the Outstanding Performance Award. The award doesn’t always go to the race winner, but rather a rider who overcame great adversity and logged a performance even more impressive than the results indicate. Last week the award went to Muscle Milk Honda’s Justin Brayton for a great all-around performance and a solid fifth place in the main event. This weekend in San Diego, Brayton finished sixth—but his effort was even more impressive than last week!

In practice, Lites rider Eli Tomac uncovered a new jump combination in a rhythm lane after the start. He went outside, tripled, jumped from one table top onto another, and then stepped off over a small single into the corner. The 450 riders were up next and several of them started jumping the combo as well, including Brayton. But on his third trip through the section, another rider was in the main line, so Brayton shaded over to the inside a bit. Unfortunately, the takeoff on the table top was much bigger on the inside, so Brayton launched too far, and instead of landing on the next tabletop, his front wheel went over it—and Brayton was launched over the bars.

“I’ve broken enough bones to know what it feels like, and I thought for sure my leg was broken,” explained Brayton. Quickly, word began to spread, and many started to wonder what the Muscle Milk Honda team would do next—the team’s other rider, Trey Canard, is already out with an injury.

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Brayton overcame a big crash in practice to finish sixth in San Diego.
Photo: Simon Cudby

But Brayton went for x-rays in the Asterisk Medical Unit, and they showed his leg wasn’t broken. He also took the impact concussion test from the Asterisk crew, which indicated he didn’t have a concussion. “My leg just blew up, it was huge,” says Brayton. “I hopped on the rowing machine at 6 p.m. and got warmed up, and it felt good enough, so I decided to try it.”

Brayton’s hand was sore, too, but he rode through the pain to qualify through his heat race. In the main event, he dug deep again, grinding out an impressive sixth on a night. “On the last ten laps I was just in stupid pain,” he explained. “But I guess it’s good considering I thought I was out for the season after that crash.”

Brayton will go in for more x rays this week to check on his sore hand, but he’s confident he’ll be able to suit up again this weekend in Dallas. His result in San Diego might only look average, but it was a ride that saved his season. For that, we present the Racer X Outstanding Performance Award to Brayton for the second-straight week.

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