It’s been approximately seven weeks since privateer Wilson Fleming suffered a season-ending crash at round nine of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship in Atlanta, Georgia. Fleming was in a transfer position in his heat race when he had a big get-off resulting in multiple injuries—including a broken femur. Since the crash Wilson has been on the mend, and we recently caught up with him to get an update on his injury, the recovery process, when he hopes to return, and more.
(NOTE: The following interview was conducted via iMessage and has been lightly edited for clarity.)
Racer X: Hey, Wilson. Thanks for reaching out! How’s everything going?
Wilson Fleming: Of course! It’s going well. I just got home in Connecticut and have been doing some physical therapy. Trying to keep myself occupied while I’m injured, but I’m excited to be at MetLife [Stadium] this weekend cheering on my guys!
That’s awesome that you’re able to get out and about again.
For sure, I was able to go to Daytona and hang out as well which was the weekend after the crash. Being cooped up like that can take a toll on you mentally so it was definitely good to get out of the house and go watch the racing, as much as I wanted to be out there it was definitely a good time seeing everyone.
Let’s talk about the crash a little bit, do you remember what happened at all?
I remember exactly the mistake I made, but once I was in the air it all kind of went black until I sat up and had a terrible feeling in my leg. There was a pretty big 3-3 before the whoops in Atlanta out of a sweeping left turn that I had been doing all day, I even surprised myself when I did it in free practice. It seemed like in the first qualifier it wasn’t that difficult, and then the second qualifier when they redid the turn and face I was having a little more troubles getting over it. That ties into it because during the heat race it was once again different than the qualifiers and going up to the face I got wheel spin and had to pull in the clutch, and when I released it, I got sent into a small wheelie which gave me no pop to get over the third jump. There’s a video of it on YouTube and it looks like I cased it along with hitting the Tuff Blox, but I’m not sure if it was the impact that injured my leg or if it was my bike.
Prior to the crash you were riding pretty well, right? I believe you were actually in a transfer spot at the time, correct?
I would like to say I was for sure. I believe I was in ninth and I wasn’t losing much time to the guys in front of me. I had a terrible Atlanta last year, so my goal was to make it into the heat and when I was battling with those guys I started to believe in myself a little bit more up until it went south. My program was significantly cut back this year as well as I’m trying to do most of it on my own. My bike was completely stock with an FMF pipe and a Vortex ignition that hadn’t even been tuned yet, and that bike also doubled as my practice bike. It’s crazy to think I can compete at that level on 40-hour equipment when most guys are on completely fresh race bikes with A-Kit suspension and $5,000-plus race engines.
That is impressive. How do you feel your season was going overall up until that point?
I wasn’t very satisfied with my results. Yes, it is an amazing accomplishment to get in those mains, but I show up to the race to try and meet a goal that’s finishing well in the main. I will say that I knew it was going to be a lot more difficult than last year because there’s just so much talent on the East Coast this year. I think Detroit was definitely a step in the right direction for me and I actually felt like I was comfortable racing the track. I won the LCQ there and I didn’t really have any sketchy moments nor did I feel like I was riding over my head. I beat some guys that are getting close to that top ten week in and week out and that’s where I felt like I belonged in those main events. I definitely lacked a little bit of endurance just because I had a wild off season and only got about three weeks on a supercross track before Minneapolis, so we were definitely playing catch up.
Unfortunately we have to keep reverting back to Atlanta, for those who don’t know; what exactly are your injuries and what’s the timetable looking like as far as your return to racing?
I don’t mind at all. I ended up breaking my right femur along with my left clavicle. I had to have a rod put in for the femur but no surgery on the collarbone. It was really my first big injury in a while and it was tough to overcome mentally but I’m doing very well now. As far as when I’ll get on the bike, I’m hoping about a month more of PT and I should be good. I’m really not in much of a rush though. I would like to do some outdoors that are close, but right now I’m actually focused on passing my life insurance test so I can start selling policies under my mom’s agency. It’s something I can do on my own time and where I can fit in a couple days of riding as well. I would really like to land on something small and race the 2020 supercross, which is the long-term goal.
Insurance sales? That’s interesting. Was this always an interest of yours? Or just a way to pass the time while injured?
It was something that my mom got into late last year that interested me because of the flexible schedule. Trying to find a part time job and being a supercross racer is pretty difficult so this will be a nice way to work while staying sharp on the bike. Never thought it would be something I’d do but I’m just trying to better my program. Like I said before I’m trying to do most of it on my own and some A-Kit would definitely be nice. [Laughs]
All things considered with the injuries and time off the bike, you seem to be in good spirits and doing well. Has the recovery process been pretty smooth? You mentioned going to races, that must help mentally.
For the most part, yes. The first couple of weeks were tough just because I was lying on my back for most of the day. Thankfully my girlfriend lives in Jacksonville and she did a lot to get me out of the house and find some things to do along with taking care of me. It’s hard when you go from being really busy with training and racing to doing nothing. You obviously wish that you could be out there racing but you also just want to be able to get out of the house and do normal things. Once you kind of accept how it is and learn to overcome it, the days become a lot easier. I went to Daytona which was awesome, and WW had a Florida series race which I went to and saw the MX Locker guys. It’s definitely hard, but you just have to think it could be worse like I could’ve had a bad break or I could’ve had a back injury you know?
Always a positive. Thanks again for providing us with an update. Anyone you’d like to shout out before we let you go?
Of course, I appreciate you guys doing this! I definitely want to say a special thank you to each and everyone that reached out, weather it was through social media, while I was being loaded up into the ambulance, in person or through text. I saw every message and I’m truly thankful for that. I also want to thank my parents, my girlfriend, my best friend Vinny along with JMC Motorsports, MX Locker, Answer, Scott, Shoei, Gaerne, FMF, Rekluse, Cloverhills Suspension, Pro Taper, Red Ace Organics, Guts racing, EVS, and MGX Unlimited!