In what has already been a season marred by injuries, word came down today that yet another big name would be sidelined for the remainder of the season. The ultimate fan-favorite, Kevin Windham has been lost for the year with a dislocation to his right shoulder and damage to his left thumb and right hip.
Not only is this a giant blow to the fans, but also to the level of competition that we’ll experience throughout the remainder of Monster Energy Supercross. Early season injuries to Canard, Dungey and Reed, among others, have depleted a field that not long ago was considered, by some, as the deepest in history. Coinciding with the ever growing rash of injuries, James Stewart is experiencing a career worst year (while also dealing with his own injuries). And with Ryan Villopoto having already put the wraps on the 2012 Championship last weekend in Houston, fans across the country are already salivating for the start of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
Many fans have been wondering what this will do to Windham’s chances outdoors; well it’s pretty simple. Windham had no prior plans to race the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, anyways, so he will concentrate on a return to Monster Energy Supercross in 2013.For a rider that has achieved some much throughout his illustrious career, and this season—reaching a milestone of 200 main event appearances— it’s tough to see his year come to end this way.
Wow, when I heard the news this morning that GEICO Honda’s Kevin Windham is out for the rest of the year with injuries suffered at Houston, I immediately pictured a Friday the 13th movie. You know, where the slashed up young teenaged girl is stumbling around screaming, there’s blood everywhere and just when you think she might have gotten to the road to flag down some help, a goalie-masked killer comes out from behind a tree and finishes her off. Only instead of a teenaged girl, we are talking about the 450 class, and instead of wearing a goalie mask, this 450 supercross class killer is wearing a surgeon’s mask.
This year’s series has been the exact opposite of everything that last year was and to me, one of the most compelling stories left was watching Kevin Windham try to pull off a win. Salt Lake, Seattle, New Orleans and Las Vegas represented great places to see the old man of SX go for victory. Sadly, when this season ends, it will be two years since the #14 stood atop the podium and each year the chances get less and less that he will do it again.
What a way to go out though! That heat was the race of the year, some might say, and he was lining up James Stewart for one more try when he face-planted. Sometimes, movies don’t have happy endings.
This sucks. It really does. To put it more poetically, this sucketh. One of KW’s great qualities is that he has been able to stay healthy season after season, racking up a bunch of main event starts in the process. With the dozens [literally] of other riders sidelined with fractures, sprains or strains it was likely that Kevin would wind up on the podium again during the final rounds of the series this year. No such luck now. And the real kick in the crotch here is that we don’t get to see the #14 line up at all this summer for a national motocross race.
The good news is that his injuries are relatively minor, although they probably don’t feel so minor right now. And the old man of motocross will likely heal up completely and be ready for yet another season of supercross in 2013. There is also a great battle waiting to be finished up in the West Region Lites class. And the nationals mean a fresh start for most of the riders who are currently on the bench. Just try not to fall asleep during the 450 main events for the next four weeks.
Way back in the day, about 10 years ago, Kevin Windham went down with a huge leg injury in practice at the Atlanta Supercross. Today, K-Dub looks back at that crash as a blessing in disguise, because the forced time off helped him renew his love for racing. The 24-year-old Kevin Windham needed that, because he wasn’t getting the results he wanted, and couldn’t find the motivation to get them.
That’s not the issue here. This injury is not as bad, but it hurts more, because at the exact moment Windham crashed, he was riding as well as he has all season. It’s the same situation for Chad Reed, who was absolutely on fire right before he went down in Dallas, or Ryan Dungey, who had won the Atlanta SX days before he landed on his shoulder. Pain is something every racer deals with much better than the average person, and so, even while they’re dealing with broken bones, rehab, and the complete pain-in-the-ass of just trying to do regular chores at home while hurting, the thing that hurts most is knowing the injuries will cost them a chance to win races. And Windham, with Houston, New Orleans, Seattle, Salt Lake and Vegas on the horizon—all races he has won before—knew this was his chance. That hurts.
Conspiracy Theory Alert: The supercross Gods hate Kevin Windham. Ok, that may be a little bit over the top, but how else can you explain the fact that something weird seems to happen to him at his hometown races of Houston and New Orleans? Not only did Windham’s crash in Houston ruin his night there, it also prevents him from competing in New Orleans, which is just a couple of hours from his home in Centreville, MS.
We can’t forget last year either, when Windham was running away with the win in Houston and uncharacteristically crashed out all by himself. Need more evidence? In 2009, the last time the series went to New Orleans, Windham was selected for a random drug test following the race. He passed of course, but the test took so long that by the time he was able to get away from the stadium to meet his crew, the prime celebration hours had already passed. Still think my theory is crazy?
Ok, I’ll come out of my basement and take off my tinfoil hat for a moment here so I can be serious. Any time a rider injures himself, no matter who it is, it’s a bad deal and we should be thinking about every single rider that has gotten hurt this year. The timing of Windham’s injury, however, makes for some deeper effects on the series itself. Windham was beginning to show signs of a late season surge, and a win from the veteran in any of the remaining races would have injected some excitement into a series that has already been decided with four races yet to go.
Here’s to a speedy recovery for Windham, as well as all of the other racers that have suffered injury this year.