shot another open practice at walden yesterday. things got real scary when a kid on a 250 went down and landed on his shoulder. hard. he didn't have numbers on the bike but it was a newer bike and he was well equipped with a neck brace and armor. I don't like to criticize any rider but he clearly had a lot to learn. all of the jumps I saw him on he wouldn't reach the speed needed to make the landings in stride and soft so instead they were all somewhat of a slow take off and thud. you find yourself sub consciously "rating" him as just not very good. he was trying though and my standard summary is anyone who gets out on the track is a champion, some are just on different levels. so this kid, late teens maybe 20 as I was to see once they removed his helmet
landed a jump with a little too much thud and the bike pitched him but the track was descending and that meant he came down with an extra several feet of gravity's help. my back was too him but I was very close and saw the flaggers waving and at the same time heard him howling and turned around and quickly realized he was down, hurt, the bike was still in the track, and he had made it as far as the edge where he laid on his back screaming. I ran over as there were still bikes coming but the flaggers were doing a good job. you want to help but know you can't move him, and there are still bikes coming so I grabbed the red cross flag from the flagger who was waving both the yellow and the red cross and waved it. the other riders did a good job realizing this was serious and some stopped and others slowed to a crawl as they passed. once I knew he was in no danger of being hit I went back over to him as the golf cart with the EMT's was visibly on the way. I thought when he first went down and began yelling I'd heard the word "dad" and now I definitely heard among other things, "I want my dad"
. the poor guy was crying, hurt, and scared. luckily dad had seen him go down and got there before the EMT's. he knew he was hurt but he seemed to know it wasn't "bad". dad was cool as a cucumber and talked him down from his scared level which was a relief but man did he scream when dad attempted to feel it - "don't touch it!!". the EMT's got there and off came the helmet and thats when I could see he was young (compared to me) but probably old enough to be out of high school. they got the armor and neck brace off and then cut the jersey off. he finally regained enough composure that he was dealing with it and they even got some smiles out of him.
but my god that 5 minutes seemed like a long time. into the UV he finally got and dad rode the Honda back. I told dad just before he rode off that as soon as his son hit the ground he was yelling for dad and he got a big kick out of that. I called it a day soon after and saw them loading up. he was in a sling and they were going for xrays on their own no doubt to save the transport charges from the ambulance. one minute he was a kid with nice gear though not "flashy" , (I don't think there were any aftermarket stickers on the bike) he was just a kid old enough to have a job, etc, but not old enough to not cry and call for dad when his world got turned upside down in the blink of an eye. I asked him how he was and he said he was hurting pretty good, and that the EMT's think something is broken, but thank god he was in good spirits. I told him how it was really scary for those minutes and was and was glad he was OK relatively speaking. nice kid, even though he had his left arm in a sling he still shook my hand with his right and said thanks. it doesn't take numbers on the number plates and Pro Circuit stickers to make someone a real rider. it does help if you have a good dad though.