Darryn Durham has run the gauntlet of injuries the past two seasons. It started with shoulder problems shortly after his first career Monster Energy Supercross win in 2012, which were followed by an Achilles injury, a concussion and most recently a fractured tibial plateau. With his contract ending with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki this season, it’s a crucial time for the Pennsylvania native. Recently cleared to begin physical therapy, the former Star Racing prospect hopes to return for the last few Lucas Oil Pro Motocross rounds. We spoke with Durham yesterday about his recovery, his laid back demeanor and much more.
Racer X: You just got back from the doctor, what’s the latest?
Darryn Durham: I just got released to start doing some therapy and pretty much start rehabbing for a few weeks. Hoping to get back on the bike in maybe four weeks.
When I spoke with you at High Point, you said you were at least hoping to race the last couple.
I definitely want to try and race the last three or four. I want to come in healthy and prepared like I should have at the beginning of the season. That’s my goal: to get healthy and come back strong.
Coming into the Nationals, you were really looking to capitalize on being healthy for the first time in a while. How devastating was this latest injury?
It was pretty heart breaking. It happened the week before Glen Helen, so that always makes it tougher. I was at Lake Elsinore training and I hit a kicker on one of the jumps and went over the bars. I almost pulled it off, but I hit the dirt. [Laughs]
What was the official diagnosis?
I fractured my tibial plateau. It’s at the top of my shinbone, almost. I got two screws in it to make sure it was strong. I got an X-ray today [Tuesday] and it is pretty much fully healed. They just want me to do some therapy and get ready.
You’ve been through the gauntlet as far as injuries go the last few years.
Yeah. Riding motorcycles is dangerous and we all know that when we sign up for it.
After the concussion in supercross, you were out a little longer than most thought you would be. Were you having side effects?
No, I wanted to make sure I came back the right way and not too soon. It was a pretty bad concussion. After six weeks I got released to start working out and stuff and I really didn’t have any bad side effects or anything, I just wanted to make sure I was 100 percent. So we decided to pull all our focus on the outdoors and I had probably twelve weeks of solid outdoor testing. I was riding really good, so it sucks it had to happen the week before.
And you would have been a step ahead of everyone.
Yeah, I felt like I was. When everyone was still riding supercross, I had started outdoors. So I felt like I had a good base and was ready for a good season.
Are you able to pick up where you left off, or does it take a while to get back?
I feel like I’ll be able to pick it back up. I think the speed and riding ability are always there no matter what. It’s just getting healthy and getting that confidence back. That is what really comes down to. When you have those juices following, you are unstoppable. That’s what [Blake] Baggett has going now. That’s what [Jeremy] Martin had going at the beginning of the season. When you’re rolling with that confidence it makes things a lot easier.
But it seems like the confidence can go away really quickly. You have one weekend and then you make a little change and it’s gone.
For sure. Everyone was asking me about Martin, and I was like “It’s a long season.” You can go through ups and downs during the season and not even know it until after the season is over.
You find yourself in a tough situation at the moment. With this being your last year with Pro Circuit, do you feel like you have to push to come back sooner to prove what you can do?
Yeah, I definitely still need to show I have that up-front speed. I want to do it for myself as well. That’s why I really want to get back out there and do the best that I can. I try not to worry about the [getting a] ride aspect of it too much, because at the end of the day I love riding my dirt bike and I’m going to ride it anyway.
That is one thing about you, unlike others, you really do just like to ride. You like to ride the hills and things like that. Ultimately this is a job, but does that help make it more fun?
That’s how I’ve always treated riding: It’s fun. That’s just what it always was to me. I try and keep that aspect of it all the way through. I feel like that has really helped me. Taking racing super, super seriously and having to do some things I didn’t want to do, it got me a lot of injuries, but I’ve also learned a lot and I have a lot to move forward with.
How do you keep the balance?
I don’t know. I train and ride really hard, and do all those aspects seriously, but at the same time I try and not focus my mind on it all the time and just be a jerk. [Laughs] That’s what everyone really ends up being when it comes down to it. They all end up being jerks. I try not to be a jerk! [Laughs]
A lot of times riders credit “getting back to having fun” for improving. Is that valid?
Yeah, I think so. When everything is just clicking you bring along the bike with you. I know when I’m having fun and it’s a good day and I’m smiling, that’s when I ride my best. That’s how I try and keep it. I like to try and keep it fun and that’s usually when I twist it the hardest.
It’s very early in the off-season, but there are always rumors and speculation flying. Have you had any discussions regarding next year?
I’ve talked to a few teams, but nothing set in stone yet. I’ve really just been working on getting healthy and trying to come out and do well at the last few races.
If anyone follows you on social media, or knows you personally, your other passion is music. What’s in your play deck at the moment?
I’ve always listened to those old 90s punk bands. Those are the shows I try and see. I find new stuff here and there, but for the most part that’s what I listen to. I went to one Guttermouth show this year and I got to meet the guitar player and he started following me on social media and started tagging me in stuff, so I’m really amped for the next show.
Is the flat black van still around?
Yep. That’s still the main vehicle. That has seriously been the only vehicle I’ve ever had. Everyone laughs about that. They always say, “I can’t believe you’re still driving that thing.” But I’ve always taken care of it, and it’s the moto van. [Laughs]