What Really Happened: Washougal
Luck, or no luck? That is the question. Or does it matter?
What really happened at Washougal is that we learned both how much luck means in a sport like motocross, and to a degree that you really do make your own luck.
Honda’s Trey Canard is the definition of a competitor, and in a sport where it seems all of the racers at least go through a period of time of being “burnt out”, it seems like Canard has been motivated consistently throughout his career. Of course, it helps in this regard that he’s been hurt a fair bit, too.
In our sport, with 29-31 races per year (depending on the year, and whether the racer is on an Motocross of Nations team or takes part in the Monster Energy Cup coming to Vegas in October), the only real “vacation” the racers get is frequently when they get hurt. It’s a forced vacation, and not really one you can enjoy.
But starting with his rookie season in 2008, after Canard won the Lites East SX Championship in an upset over veteran Ryan Villopoto, Canard was just starting to get competitive outdoors when he ran into a lapper at Washougal late in the second moto and suffered a broken femur. After having a rod inserted in the bone, along with some other necessary hardware, he was out for the rest of the year and nearly the entire off-season with the injury.
He came back a bit too soon for 2009, as he was motivated to race the Lites West for the second year because he wanted the experience on the West-Coast tracks, and the rule at the time said that if you won a title, you had one year to defend it, and then you were going to be forced into the 450 class. He saw 2009 as his last chance to try out the West tracks before having to race them on a 450 in 2010.
The rule ended up changing, allowing him to race the Lites West again in 2010, and that’s good, because he was not nearly as prepared for the 2009 season as he had hoped, and at round two he knocked himself out of the championship chase by suffering a head injury in Phoenix.
Then, when he was literally a couple of laps away from winning his first ever AMA National at High Point later in 2009, holding off points leader Chris Pourcel in the second moto, he switched lines and hit a hidden kicker in a rut on the face of a jump and went over the bars hard, badly breaking his arm.
That put him out for the rest of 2009.
He returned motivated in 2010 to the Lites West SX championship, and although that title was pretty thoroughly dominated by Jake Weimer, Canard pulled down some wins, and on the east coast he filled in for Andrew Short for Team Honda and scored five podium finishes in a row in the 450 class. Outdoors, at about the halfway point in the championship, Canard caught fire and dominated the remainder of the season to take the 250 National title at the final round at Pala Raceway.
After winning three supercrosses in 2011, his first full year of 450 racing, he went down while testing for outdoors up at Comp Edge here in SoCal and fractured his left femur – the same one he broke at Washougal in 2008 originally. The rod held it together, but he had to miss the rest of supercross and the first half of the Nationals. The time off had him chomping at the bit.
Then, in moto two this past weekend, Canard again went down and fractured the same femur yet again, although he says it was in a different spot. He’s in surgery today to get hardware removed and try and get his leg back up to a sustainable strength, but here’s what’s weird:
First, he broke his femur originally at the same track three years ago.
Second, when he re-broke the femur at Comp Edge, he did it when he scrubbed a jump really hard and then clipped the top of it, sending him out of control and way too far down the hill, landing in the braking bumps and sending him over the bars. At Washougal last weekend, he again scrubbed a jump too far and clipped the top of it, but this time it sent his front end high and sent him careening into the dirt.
So, while it’s easy to say he has had some bad luck, and that’s true – luck plays a part, for sure – in both cases, it was a preventable mistake that made him hit the dirt. And it’s possible that his leg wasn’t strong enough to be racing in the first place, which is a situation he’s in the process of rectifying now.
Yes, luck plays a role in motocross. Of course. Just look at Chad Reed not getting hurt at Millville with his crazy crash. But at the same time, sometimes you make your own luck, and unfortunately for Canard – one of the nicest guys in the sport – his mistakes cost him.
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