In a very honest and open post on his Instagram yesterday, eight-time Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) champion Kailub Russell announced he is withdrawing from the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at the halfway point in the season.
“Before we get any press release I figured I got my own platform right here. I got a camera. Let the words come straight from the horses mouth,” he started. “This whole motocross thing, it was my idea that I took to KTM and wanted to do. I just wanted to have the experience and the opportunity. I didn’t have crazy high expectations for myself. But I think a lot of people had very unrealistic expectations.
“I just want to get out ahead of this thing and basically give my farewell speech to the motocross world. In my short time spent. This isn’t being forced upon me. This is my ultimate decision.”
Russell, one of the greatest of all-time in GNCC, transitioned to a full-time factory ride with Red Bull KTM earlier this year. But days before the season, he had a major setback, breaking his jaw and sustaining other injuries in a crash that ruled him out for the first two rounds.
“I’ve had a tough year going. Broke my jaw at the beginning of the year. I’m just mentally checked out right now. I keep lying to myself as a racer. Almost every racer out there lies to themselves.”
He returned at High Point and went 15-21 for 21st overall, and finished 18th overall at Southwick. But following a 39th place finish this weekend at Spring Creek, where he was battling a sickness, he has called it time on his Pro Motocross season.
“I don’t have it anymore. Straight up. I’m not the same guy, the same racer I used to be. That I once was. It’s just not there. The lights are on but nobody is home.
“It’s just one of those things. We couldn’t make it happen. I don’t feel like I’m capable of being the same racer as I once was. Roger [DeCoster] called me a couple weeks ago and was basically telling me we need to reevaluate and try and get some better results. And it kind of rubbed me the wrong way and ticked me off. But then again, I started thinking and the brain started turning and coming to the realization that my song has been sung.
“I’ve probably had way more exposure in this venture than I deserve for my results,” he continued. “100 percent. I didn’t ask for any of that, but that just comes with the territory of being as successful as I was in one facet of the sport. A lot of eyes and attention were on me straight away and a lot of unfilled expectations.”
Russell ended the video by thanking KTM for the opportunity.
“I have to thank KTM for even allowing this to happen. Antti for the morale support and always being there. All the guys back at the shop. Ian and Roger. John Hinz. My mechanic Bobby.”
Watch the full nearly seven minute update below.
Main image: KTM Images