In light of recent events, especially within the local Colorado motocross scene, we wanted to touch on the violent nature of the sport we love so dearly. Every year, stories from across the country, and really the world, pour in about a crash that ends in paralysis, brain injury and sometimes, death. Kurt Caselli, Patrick Marchbank, Buddy Wentworth, Kevin Hall, and many others, are all riders who were taken from this world far too soon as a direct result of a motocross accident. Not to mention, the countless riders who have been thrust into life in a wheelchair, suddenly, because of an unfortunate get-off: Doug Henry, Ernesto Fonseca, Aaron Hill, Jessy Nelson, and recently, Lenny Reinhard were all recipients of the paraplegic lifestyle because of dirtbikes. And shit, every weekend riders break arms, legs, ribs and suffer concussions. Yet, we all continue to line up at the gate, eager for the opportunity to bang bars and twist grips in this, frankly, addictive sport.
Sure, there are plenty of non-moto sports that have a violent nature and also dole out consistent serious injuries: hockey and football are a few examples that come to mind. But when one considers the rate at which members within the motocross community are seriously injured, it’s hard to fathom, even as an insider, why we keep coming back for more. Logic would dictate that these horrific injuries would diminish our passion for the sport and willingness to take part in it. But, in a lot of ways, motocross never had much rationale to begin with. Like, yeah, why don’t I hop on this 250 pound steel beast and send it one hundred feet through the air alongside a bunch of other dudes, also on 250 pound machines. Of course, it’s totally logical that we would have the desire to pile into a corner, at breakneck speeds with 40 other people: especially when you consider the frequency with which that just doesn’t end well.
However, the reality is, the reasons why we overlook the likelihood of shit ending up poorly don’t rely on logic or reason: they rely on passion and the uncanny freedom experienced as a participant in motocross competition. And that’s why, in a lot of ways, outsiders to the sport can’t comprehend why we do it when they consider all of those nasty side effects. But as someone who has seen and experienced my fair share of brutal crashes and wicked injuries, I can say with certainty that time-after-time those consequences are entirely overridden by the joy, freedom and expression that you receive from tossing on that helmet and dicing it up with your best buds. Because, while there are much safer alternatives of ways to spend your free time, none can ever measure up to the experiences you have on, and at, the motocross track. Because, although danger is continuously lurking around every corner (quite literally), life is entirely too short to not be spent doing something that, like nothing else before it, brings the radiant happiness that dirtbikes do, time and time again.
So while we wish, and the community continuously pushes, for ways to shore up the danger element of the sport, the draw will never end. I’ve met a lot of people, who do a bunch of different shit, but I’ve never seen a community in which such a high rate of the participants are so stoked to be doing what they are. Nor have I ever witnessed a community where there is so much camaraderie, brother/sisterhood and all out support within it. As Brad Motherway once loosely stated, the gnarliness of what we’re doing is part of what draws us so close to one another.
For the record, in no way are we trying to diminish the absolute tragedies that continue to occur in our sport, and we wish the absolute best to the riders and families who have dealt with injury, and even death, because of moto. But we are also cognizant that these individuals were doing the thing that they loved most in the world, with the people that they loved most: and that’s why we continue to do the illogical.