Between the Motos  II: Jimmy Albertson

Between the Motos II: Jimmy Albertson

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Massive tornados and flooding have devastated the state of Oklahoma over the past month, causing millions of dollars in damage and the displacement of thousands of people. The motocross community has come together, donating to relief funds such as the Red Cross and auctioning off jerseys, among other things. For Jimmy Albertson and Trey Canard the events have hit close to home, as both currently reside in the state. The two riders, in association with FLY Racing, will be giving out 360 t-shirts and 45 sets of gear to those affected by the tornadoes at a local dealership this week. We talked with Albertson, who is still on the mend with a broken wrist, about the event and when he expects to return.

Racer X: Obviously Oklahoma’s been through a lot recently with the tornados. Talk about how it’s affected you and what you’re doing to help?
Jimmy Albertson:
Well, as far as the tornado around here affecting me, it really didn’t. Tornados, I think people don’t have the right idea about them. They think that it’s more or less very, very wide destruction over a whole. Like if I live in the Oklahoma City area then I’ve been affected by the tornado. No, it’s not necessarily like that, you see. The tornado hit, I want to say about a quarter of a mile from Trey’s house, the one in Shawnee. But you really feel no effect off that if the tornado doesn’t hit you. But I tell you what, the people that did get hit in this area, it’s just devastation. It’s like a bomb went off and blew their houses up. There’s nothing left. Everything’s ruined. The other thing to think of is, when people get their houses taken away, sometimes they can salvage a lot of stuff, but with these tornados it rained so much that any of their family photos, anything like that, that all got ruined from the massive rain that came through with the tornado. People are saying all the time, I hear, “Oh, Trey Canard dealing with the tornado disaster” or whatever. He really hasn’t had anything to deal with other than the mass amount of rain that we have been getting. Not only has there been a lot of people that have been killed by the tornado, but there’s also been a lot of people killed by flooding in this area. Oklahoma’s been in a ten-year drought and it’s just been ended. We had the largest rainfall ever recorded in the month of May this year. So it just goes to show you that it’s been pretty wild here this spring.

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Albertson (above) and Canard will be giving out 360 t-shirts and 45 sets of gear to those affected by the tornadoes at a local dealership this week.
Simon Cudby photo

There are a lot of companies getting behind the effort and trying to do what they can. What does it mean to see the motocross community as a whole come together to help the people of Oklahoma?
Yeah, it’s been really cool. A lot of people have been really stepping up, not only in the motocross community, but other communities too. It’s cool, man. I’m pumped. FLY wants to give away a bunch of clothes. Because like I said, it’s much needed. It’s wild. People just got left with nothing, especially with such a wide destruction. Even if people do have insurance and have stuff that’s going to help them out, it’s not immediate. I don’t think people realize that. Yeah, you have homeowners insurance and people help out, but my family lost a house in a tornado in 2006; I don’t know if anybody remembers. But for those first three weeks, luckily I was on the road anyways racing, but I know a bunch of friends and neighbors who lost their homes. They really didn’t have anything for the first three weeks or so before stuff started kicking in; it was really rough on them. So it’ll be good to go down there and hand out some shirts. Everybody likes getting new stuff, it doesn’t matter if your house got hit by a tornado or not. So hopefully some kids will get some clothes out of it, and it will get them pumped up.

Talk about what you guys are doing for the people who don’t know.
Basically we will be going out and handing out clothing down at the tornado relief places and going down more towards the Moore, Oklahoma area because that was the largest affected area. Obviously it’s a largely populated city, and [the tornado] took out a couple schools and stuff like that. It’s only clothing, but that can also go a long way. Like I said, everyone seems to be doing their part. The Oklahoma City Thunder basketball players have donated money. Kevin Durant donated a million dollars. And a bunch of country singers from Oklahoma stepped up and helped out. It’s been pretty cool. Actually when the tornado first hit they had to actually start turning people away that were wanting to help the relief effort. They were saying there were too many people down there wanting to come out and help. So it just kind of goes to show you how good the Oklahoma community is. Everybody wants to help.

As far as you and your racing, I think a lot of people thought we would see you at Vegas, and if not, Hangtown for sure. But I heard you had to go in for another surgery on the wrist. Can you give us an update on where you’re at right now?
I was wanting to go to Vegas and do the final round, obviously because there’s a big bonus at stake for me. If you get top 20 in points it’s almost a $9,000 bonus. So I was thinking, ‘Oh, man, maybe I can go there and it would be about a $10,000 weekend for me if I could just salvage the points and get inside the top 20, but it just didn’t end up happening. I missed too many races and lost out on too many points.

When I would go and see the doctor who did my surgery, every time they would say, “Yeah, it’s healing. It’s healing slowly.” And obviously I’m a motocrosser, so I’m going to ask when I can ride again. I kind of gave them the notion that, ‘Hey, I’m going to try to get on the bike before Vegas and maybe see if I can race.’ I asked them, can I get on the bike? He’s like, “Yeah, you can, I don’t want you going and racing supercross though.” So I didn’t want to risk it. I didn’t want to make things worse. So I didn’t end up going. I still didn’t ride motocross for a little bit. It still wasn’t feeling right. It wasn’t feeling normal. I went back in for an x-ray and my doctor that did the surgery said again, “Oh, yeah, it’s healing. Everything’s healing slow.” And I was so frustrated because it was at the seven-week point, and I’d had that surgery done before on my other wrist and it didn’t take that long. So I said, ‘What else can we do?’ So I ended up getting a CT scan ordered. We got the CT scan back and come to find out my bone really wasn’t healing at all. It really upset me because you put a lot of trust in doctors as a motocross racer and you want to make sure they’re going to be doing the right thing for you. After looking at all the X-rays that I’d had, when I was going into the doctor’s office I wasn’t even looking at them. I was just basically taking the doctor’s advice. I got all my X-rays and scans and I realized, man, this thing wasn’t healing, and it didn’t take a doctor to tell that, that’s for sure! So it was really frustrating seeing that and then trying to figure out a game plan on fixing it.

Then my trainer, Coach Seiji, hooked me up with Dr. Kane out in San Jose. So we ended up going out there. I’m glad I ended up getting the surgery done again anyway because it sounds like the surgery was done wrong the first time. It was actually too long of a screw and it was crashing into my hand as well. So that was just a big mess. It’s one of those things you never really expect anything to go quite that wrong. You hear stories and you’re like, ‘Man, that would suck.’ But it finally happened to me this time. Now I’m on the right track. I’m three weeks out from my last surgery so I got about three weeks left until I’m back on the bike and riding again. It’s been a long road. I’m ready for it to be over, that’s for sure.

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Albertson is hoping to be back for the last two Nationals.
Simon Cudby photo

When do you expect to be back at the races?
I’m guessing I won’t be back until the last two. Anything before then is a bonus. Obviously these guys are racing pretty hard. This was supposed to be a six-week injury for me and it turned into… I’m on my 12th week right now out of racing. So it’s kind of been a hard blow. So I look at it, I’ve been off the bike for a while, so it could take me a while to get back up to speed. Because one thing I for sure don’t want to do is go back out there and just be barely scoring points, that’s for sure. And that’s a possibility with the class being as stacked as it is. With Justin Bogle and Trey Canard out here riding I can have a good judge of where I’m at before I go to a race. I’ll just get back on my bike and keep on riding and when I feel like I’m ready and when my practice times are up and I’m out there being competitive with the guys I practice with, I’m going to be going racing.

A lot of guys who are injured have found other things to do while they are out. I saw you’re actually doing a school this summer. Can you talk about what that will entail?
Yeah, that’s great. I’m glad you brought that up. I’m actually doing a school down at the Merge Racing Complex. It’s going to be a cool deal, man. It’s going to be a three- day deal; two days of riding… It’s Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Friday’s going to be open practice for all the kids. And then Friday night we’re going to have a little suspension seminar with Jim Lewis who obviously works down there doing suspension. And then we’ll do the full-on motocross school. It should be good. It’s going to be at the end of this month, June 27th, through the 29th.

If someone is interested how would they sign up for the school, and is it still open to participants?
It’s still open. We’re going to cut it off at 20. I’m not quite sure where we’re at right now but it’s getting pretty close. I think we’re about halfway full right now. But we’ve only been advertising for about a week. I’m just going to have people email me at jimmy@jimmyalbertson.com about signing stuff up and I just basically get back to them, because a lot of people ask questions. They want to kind of feel it out first. So that’s kind of the best way instead of just having a sign-up.

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