Last summer at the Unadilla National, Robert Lind hit a kicker, which sent him over the handlebars. The crash resulted in Lind breaking both his T-5 and T-6 vertebrae. Even after spending all of last off-season rebuilding his strength he still wasn’t quite ready to compete in Monster Energy Supercross. However, he still made an attempt to race and he made it to St. Louis before the unthinkable happened.
Entering a whoop section with Tony Archer, the two wound up coming together and Lind landed chest first on Archer’s footpeg. The Asterisk crew was quickly on the scene and Lind was rushed to the hospital with a large gash in his chest. The injury took him out of racing the rest of the year. Six months later, the Swedish rider is healthy and will return to racing this weekend at the USGP for his first outdoor race in over a year.
Lind took a break on Tuesday morning while the California monsoon was in effect to talk about his year and getting back behind the gate.
Racer X: So, are you still going to ride today?
Robert Lind: Yeah, that’s the plan! I was actually going to ride this track in the hills that I normally go to. It gets pretty rough. The forecast said that it was supposed to rain tonight and not this morning. I have to wait a couple of hours before I can ride.
Well, that gives us a perfect time to chat then. First off, welcome back. You’ll be on a gate this weekend for the first time in several months. How excited are you to race again?
I’m very excited to race again. That’s why I have been working so hard the past months. A GP may be a little tough for me to come back to. Since I’m from Europe, I’m aware of all of the guys that are riding the GPs. They are extremely fast even though there may only be like 15-20 riders on the starting gate. I’m just looking forward to getting back. It’s been since supercross in March that I have raced. The last time I raced outdoors was last year at Unadilla, when I broke my T-5 and T-6. It’s been a while, but at the same time I’m glad I took the time off. I’ve been riding with some small injuries for the past two years now.
(Check out the film above on Lind's road back to supercross after his injury at Unadilla in 2014.)
You have been injured for the most part the past couple of seasons, but I wouldn’t say they were small injuries. First, the injuries to your vertebrae, and then you took a footpeg to your chest in supercross. That’s a lot to come back from.
Yeah, last summer at Unadilla was a pretty nasty get-off. Unfortunately, I fractured my T-5 and T-6. Of course that was bad. It was a bit numb, I had some pain, and my body was reacting really funny after I started working out. It was like needles in my legs. I’ve been injured a lot, but I don’t crash that much. When I do crash, I seem to get injured. In supercross it was, I think, Tony Archer and I, we came together in the whoops. It was a one-in-a-million chance, but I happened to land on his footpeg. The entire footpeg went into my chest. That, for me, was the scariest thing that I had ever dealt with. Right away I felt the footpeg go all the way in. I was spitting a lot of blood, so that freaked me out. I remember I asked the Asterisk Medical crew if I would even make it. I’m thankful that they were there within 20-30 seconds because if that were to happen at a practice track, who knows what would have happened. It wasn’t the pain that scared me; it was the fact that I was losing so much blood.
It was basically just like getting stabbed with a knife, except a bigger hole.
Exactly. I was stabbed by a footpeg. If you look at a knife, it’s super thin metal. With the footpeg, it was a huge hole into my body. I had like four of the Asterisk guys working on me, and they even looked a little freaked out. Things like that never happen.
You mentioned earlier that you’re glad that you sat the summer out. Besides healing up, what have you been up to?
This summer has been a new experience, for sure. This was the first summer that I haven’t been traveling since I was 12 years old. I have been riding, but I’m just taking my time to come back. Being off this summer has given me a chance to live a normal life, so to speak. I had the chance to stay home and hang out with friends. I had a Swedish roommate here that was traveling for the summer. We had a pretty good time. I’ve just been trying to enjoy it. Of course, I watched all of the Nationals on TV. It gave me mixed feelings overall. I’ve just been really happy to have the time off and take my time getting ready. Everybody deals with injuries and coming back before they are 100 percent. That’s not fun for yourself and it’s not fun for the people that help you out. I really appreciate the fact that my team has stuck behind me and supported me through everything.
Yeah, it seems that your team Dirt Candy Suzuki continues to grow each year.
Exactly. The team is backing me 100 percent. I’m very glad that I’m involved with the team. I’m a bit more involved than just being a rider. I see that they are growing and their future plans look very good. It’s such a great group of people involved in the team. I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done for me.
This weekend will be good for the team and you, won’t it? It’s a no-pressure situation for everyone involved. You just need to go out and get some racing under your belt.
For sure, it’s definitely a no pressure situation for me. The only goal for this weekend is that they want me to give it everything I’ve got. That’s the same goal that I have for myself. I’m going to [be] happy if I can push through both of the motos. I want to ride the bike for thirty minutes plus two laps in each moto. If I can do that, then it is a big accomplishment. No pressure for me, and I’m really looking forward to it.
"It wasn’t the pain that scared me; it was the fact that I was losing so much blood."
Fredrik Noren and you have both followed your dreams to race here in America. Does he make you feel more at home here?
I like to almost brag about Noren and myself. We grew up totally different in Europe. To get ourselves in the position we are right now is so much more than riding a bike. You have to be so strong to leave your family and friends to do this on your own. You don’t live at the motocross track 24/7. If you race in Europe, you can move to Belgium. That’s the equivalent of moving from California to Washington. It’s not really that big of a deal because you can still come home. You’re still close to your family and call them all of the time. We are on a different time schedule here than they are in Sweden. Everything he and I do is unique. Some people are doing the same thing like [Jackson] Richardson and the guys from Australia. It’s a cool story how we got through. Noren has been doing great. He’s a tremendous rider with a lot of talent. I’m really happy for him and the support that he has been given by the industry.
It’s the same with myself—I haven’t shown the results, but I’ve been able to get the support that I need to be here. I must be doing something right, otherwise I wouldn’t be getting any help.
As far as next season goes, will you be back with Dirt Candy?
I’m still in talks with them as far as next year. We will have to wait until around the first of October to hear from the team. I’ll just let you hear it from Dirt Candy if I end up there.
What are the next few weeks looking like for you? After the GP are you starting to ride supercross?
This was my last week riding motocross for the GP. On Monday I’ll drop my suspension off at WP for them to rebuild, and I’ll maybe start riding supercross on Tuesday. If I’m feeling good about it, then maybe I will try to race the Monster Energy Cup. Other than that I’ll be working as hard as I can to be as ready as possible for Anaheim 1.
I have to mention the fact that you finished school before coming here full-time. You may be one of a handful of riders who have ever done that.
I’m 27, you know, so I’m running away a bit. I wasn’t really that involved with the sport until I was 22 years old and finished with school. It’s a dream come true to come to America. It cost me big bucks to come here in 2012. Then one thing led to another, and I would have never dreamed that I would be in the position that I’m in today. I have my education for when I move back to Sweden or if I want to start working here. I can do that whenever I want. I’m not relying on making it in motocross. I can just focus on riding and not as much about the dollars. My dad always told me from day one that he would always support me, but he would also never borrow a dime for me to race. He made me learn that this was still a hobby. I grew up a bit differently from many others in the sport and I’m happy for that.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today, Robert. Who would you like to thank for helping you out this year?
I’d like to thank Dirt Candy Graphics, Suzuki, Yoshimura, Pirelli, all of the team sponsors, as well as my personal sponsors back in Sweden, Brett Metcalfe, the Davignons, my mechanic Ola, and my family.