Well folks, just because Damon Bradshaw and Jeff Matiasevich are retired now doesn’t mean that the rivalry stops. Whether it was the approximately 538 times they hit each other during their active years together (1988 to 1994) or the U.S. Open grudge match after retirement, there’s no love lost between these former factory riders. It’s comical in some way but there is some genuine dislike between the dudes and as Bradshaw told us recently, they’re just two different guys with two different views on life.
Some things never change. Just a week ago or so though the rivals found each other out at Perris Raceway for a friendly ride day set up by DSC Construction with money raised going to Road 2 Recovery. This wasn't Anaheim, Paris, or Vegas, but it doesn't matter, old habits die hard. We’ll the two guys tell you the rest…
Racer X Online: It’s been years since the U.S. Open grudge match but looks like Jeff Matiasevich and Damon Bradshaw hooked up again recently at Perris Raceway!
Jeff Matiasevich: Yeah. Of all things, it was Road 2 Recovery, and that seems to be the road Damon is on right now.
What were you guys doing there? What was going on?
Jeff: I don’t know, I just showed up. My kid told me to go ride. I didn’t even know what it was. So, I just showed up and it turned out to be a Road 2 Recovery thing for athletes. It was a pretty big thing, pretty good turnout. Why Damon was there, I have no idea. I think Fly sponsored it or something. So, I think he was there because of that.
Damon Bradshaw: Literally over a period of two weeks Scott with DSC Construction, which everybody knows he’s heavily involved in the industry with some of the privateer guys and certain riders, I think it was kind of his idea. Then Fly Racing and myself jumped on board, and then we got Road 2 Recovery involved. It happened really quick. A good opportunity to go riding, as we don’t all have that opportunity right now, it seems like. We were just down there hanging out. I’ve been out for one session. Just kind of cruising, trying to learn the track.
There’s not a lot of repetitive jumps on the track. So, I was just sitting there talking to people, literally hanging out and BS’ing with Weston [Peick] and everybody else. I saw Chicken was out riding, and there wasn’t many people out there. I’m like, this would be a good opportunity to go out and ride and dice around with him and have some fun. So, I did. I went out and jumped on the track, quite a ways behind him just to ride and get warmed up a little bit. Then I thought I’ll either catch up or cut the track or whatever. Anyway, we got together, and we were riding. I knew that it was a little easier to jump this particular jump from the outside. I had jumped it a couple times from the inside but it’s kind of one of the jumps that really wasn’t faster to even jump because you’re in the air for so long. I just drifted a little left off the track. When I took off and I saw where I was coming down, I thought it was going to be soft so I kind of prepared for that. It was harder than what I thought it was going to be.
Then it kind of shot me off into that off-camber into the rain ruts. Something deflected the front tire and it threw me off in those rain ruts, which I don’t think helped. You got all those rain ruts, and it threw me in there on my hand. No real good place to plant yourself. Even though it happened so fast, I didn’t really have the opportunity to do that. It was just one of those riding moments. We were out there, going to have fun. Bad things can go wrong, and they did. It is what it is. So, I’m on the heal up. I got a right fracture or three to my right hand and had a compound on that. Got pins in it and everything lined up.
SwapMoto posted a fan video of the Chicken/Bradshaw battle at Perris Raceway, where Bradshaw crashed and broke his wrist.
So, you get out there and it looked like he [Damon] was coming up on you from behind, or did you know that it was him right away? When did you know he was there?
Jeff: First of all, I get out there and out of all the pits there, I’m directly across from him. So, neither one of us say hi all day. Actually, I rode probably four times. So, I went out for my last little moto if you will. I didn’t see him out on the track all day. Then I heard somebody behind me. On the video it doesn’t show all of it, but for two laps, all over me. I’m going, “Who the f**k is on my ass?” Because I think I was the fastest one there up until then. So, I’m going, “Who’s on my ass?” So, then I went into a left-hand turn and Damon came up underneath me, squared me up. I’m like, Motherf***er. Alright. It’s on.
So then in that video, a couple turns later I returned the favor and squared him back up. Then we took off. As you come down that little hill, I was on the outside. I never jumped that jump from the inside. The lines sort of were crossed. I think he went to the inside and jumped to the left, which you have to turn right on that jump. He just came up short on the jump and then went into the wall there. I had a bird’s-eye view of the whole thing. I thought he was going to sort of pull it off, to be honest. Then like a bomb went off, an explosion. He went down. Honestly, I stopped. It’s only fun if I put him down. There’s no satisfaction. And I don’t want to see anybody crash and get hurt. So, I just spun around real quick to see if he was okay. I guess he went down a lot harder than what I thought, than what it appeared to me.
So, you didn’t think it would be that bad initially?
Damon: It’s bad, but you got adrenaline flowing and then it’s kind of a little bit of a shock, the pain. It was a long road. I was in the ER for a long time and then didn’t get into surgery until Sunday morning but the guys at Riverside University did a good job. They got my hand lined up perfect. Only had one tendon that had a little damage, but it wasn’t torn. So, they put some stitches in it. Hopefully if everything goes well, I’ll have that off in four weeks and can start rehab and be riding soon. That’s the plan.
Jeff: I didn’t think it was going to be bad at all. I thought he was just going to get up. I thought maybe the wind knocked out of him or something. I was like, “Hey, are you okay?” And he couldn’t even talk. He was ghost white. I’m like, oh shit. Then he cut around his eye or something, so there was blood running down his forehead a little bit. He was all, “I broke my wrist.” I’m like, “Okay. Well, shit.” Then my kid pulled up, so we threw him on back of his bike and took him back to his camp and off to the hospital he went, I guess. So, it was a bummer.
Damon: I appreciated the ride back. They knew what I needed as a rider and being injured. The last thing you want to do is sit on the side of the track. I knew I needed to go to the hospital, so it’s a matter of going over and getting out of as much of my gear as I could because once I got to the ER they had all my clothes cut three-quarters of the way off of me before I could even roll them up. They cut my freaking limited camo Fly Racing gear. That was probably one of the most pissed off things I was about the whole freaking deal, was because that gear is limited. I just got it. Dalton and Ricky got the back of it done for me. So that freaking sucks. But luckily, we still had a couple of sets of my size left, so I scoffed them up. So, if anybody is looking for those sizes, they might not be there anymore!
Nice of you to stop Jeff, though. Like you said, nobody wants to see anybody get hurt.
Jeff: No. Like I said, I get no satisfaction out of watching him crash. If I put him down, I maybe had a little satisfaction out of it. There’s no satisfaction unless I put him down. So, I just checked on him real quick and it turned out he wasn’t doing too good.
Damon: Regardless of all the shit that’s been said and things that have happened over the years, you don’t want to see anybody get hurt. If he would have been in my position, I would have been the same way. It doesn’t matter who it is in that situation. You don’t want to see anybody get hurt. Again, we’re there for a ride day, fun day. But those things happen on those days too as well as racing. We weren’t even pushing yet. I’ve had a couple of people tell me some of the people’s comments. It’s hilarious to hear people talk when they’re analysts and they supposedly know what the hell is going on when they have absolutely no clue. So that’s the reason I don’t read into it a whole lot. But I’m doing good. I’ve never had a hand injury. I’ve obviously had ribs and I’ve hurt my back and neck and stuff, but I’ll get through it. It’s one of those things that happens. We play in the ways we do, and unfortunately sometimes you got to pay.
Watch the famous take out from the 1989 Paris Supercross:
So funny to see you guys end up randomly at Perris Raceway. Both of you picked it up there in that video, it looked like.
Jeff: Yeah. Of all things, whenever we get together, something is going to happen for sure. It’s just too bad that he did it on his own this time.
Damon: I knew it would be fun to ride with him and I knew everybody would like it, so that’s literally what we were there about. When it comes to dicing and that intensity of racing and dicing around again, I’ve done it with lots of guys, especially over the last three and a half, four years of doing what I do with Fly Racing and WPS. It could be a local pro kid, or it could be Jeff Matiasevich, or it could be Jeff Stanton. You never know. Like I said, I still enjoy riding and I enjoy the moto days, but I also enjoy the off-road days we get to do as well.
I’m thinking though, I’m going to have to draw him [Jeff] out of California, because I don’t think California likes me when it comes to injuries. I got to thinking back while I’ve had all this spare time, three-quarters of my injuries in my life have happened in California. So, whatever. I’m going to have to draw him out of California. I’ll draw him into the backcountry of Idaho and then I can just leave him there.
Jeff, we talk about you a little bit on the show here and there. You still ride a lot. You’re into it. You love it.
Jeff: I go crazy if I don’t. If I don’t ride, I get in trouble. It’s a lot cheaper than paying attorney fees. I think I trip out everybody because it’s so in my blood. I trip because a lot of the older guys in my era or whatever don’t really ride anymore. I go, how do you do it? I couldn’t imagine not riding. I didn’t even start until I was 13 years old. So, I think most of those guys started when they were five or six. I started when I was 13. So, I never really was burned out.
This is chapter 900 in the Chicken/Bradshaw battle. Hopefully, Damon will be alright.
Jeff: Hopefully, he’ll heal up and we’ll get to battle again.
Damon: That competitive edge... Maybe it goes away a little bit, but it’s never going to go all the way away. It doesn’t matter what the hell we’re doing. We get to stacking wood around the house and it’s a race.