Morning Espresso: Jeff Got Mauled By a Dirtbike and Lived to Write About It

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Things are freaking popping off here at the THOR Mini Olympics. Monday marked the first full day of racing with a grip of battles throughout the day. Here is a recap of the first day of racing from Gatorback.

Race Recap(ish)

The foggy morning would have us squinting to see the winner of 250B Limited with a three way battle for the lead the entire race. Daxton Bennick, Gage Linville and Luca Marsalisi were brawling at the front with multiple lead changes, but it ultimately came down to a last corner pass by Luca to grab the win with Linville in second and Bennick in third. If my memory serves me correct Luca did something very similar at Ponca… El Chupacabra 2.0 vibes.

The next insane battle was in Schoolboy 1 between Haiden Deegan and Myles Gilmore. These two were absolutely SENDING IT. Gilmore was leading the race, but Deegan was within striking distance the entire time, until the last corner when Deegan put a nice clean block pass on Gilmore then scrubbed the sh*t out of the finish line jump to grab the win. Deegan appears to have gotten acclimated to the 125 just fine, noting that he also took third in 125 B/C. The Deegan train also plowed through the Supermini 1 & 2 classes, taking the wins there as well.

Next up was the 65 10-11 class where we had a four way brawl at the front with Chase Andersen, Kannon Hargrove, Brody Barth and Jonathan Getz. These four were inseparable for 4 of the 5 laps, but Chase would eventually sneak away and grab the heat race W.

I’ll be honest it’s hard not to keep talking about how deep the Pro Sport and B Classes are this week. It is a who’s who of talent all around! B class standouts were Gage Linville, Gavin Towers, Daxton Bennick, Nick Romano, Talon Hawkins, Benjamin Garib, Brandon Ray… the list is dang near endless and they were all running up front. Tuesday’s mains are going to be a literal barn burner.

The Pro Sport/A Classes would see a mix of results with Levi Kitchen and Matthew LeBlanc getting poor starts and being non-factors in the 450A heat race. The flip side of that was Jace Kessler, who is coming off of back to back injuries. He grabbed the start and took off. Nate Thrasher, Cullin Park, and Slade Smith would eventually sneak around him, but there is nothing that can replace running up front and leading some laps. I do look for Kitchen and LeBlanc to rebound and play a much bigger role in the main. Thrasher would end up taking the heat win.

250A and 250B GoPro Battles from Monday

Mains to keep an eye Tuesday:

  • B classes. All of them.
  • A/Pro Sport Classes.
  • Supermini 1 & 2 ft. Deegan, Janik, and Cochran.
  • 65 10-11.
  • Womens.
  • Schoolboy 1 & 2.
  • 85 9-13
Lots of Youth clothes in the Vurb Shop. We love your support!

Kids, Keep Your Heads On A Swivel

Alright, where to begin. Sunday afternoon I somehow took a dirtbike to the head and lived to talk about it. The mechanics area straight away has been claiming people for the last couple of days. I don’t know why because it isn’t particularly a sketchy section of the track but sheesh, the combination of high speeds, big breaking bumps, and stiff SX suspension spells disaster. In practice Luke Dickey hit a kicker which bottomed his shock out and sent him straight into the ground, full on sh*t whipped. That then caused his bike to leap over the 4’+ tall bales and directly into me standing, what I thought was a safe(ish) spot, a bit behind the corner. I am chalking it up to sometimes sh*t happens. There is no other way to explain it. I have analyzed the footage all evening like the damn Zapruder film and here are some takeaways.

  • Sometimes luck is just on your side. I can’t really say it any other way. If that situation had been different in any other way I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this out. 
  • Yes, I was standing in a “risky” spot but, honestly, each and every spot on every track is risky. We are talking about dirtbikes going really fast on tracks full of little gremlins looking to take people down. Most of the time the riders stay on the track but sometimes not so much. Shoot look at what happened with Cooper Webb. It can happen to anyone at any time.

Life is just a big game of 4D chess. Don’t try to wrap your head around why things happen the way they do, just be grateful it was in your favor. Had that situation been any different from where I was standing, the way the bike was flipping perfectly into me, catching the freaking bar pad of all things but the fact I was facing away from his direction is ultimately what saved me. I didn’t see it coming at all. My body was fully relaxed when the bike hit me which just felt like I was tackled by a damn linebacker. Had any other part of that motorcycle smashed me we would be in a much worse position. I was more annoyed than anything to be honest, like why is everyone staring at me like they just seen a real life ghost. After seeing the footage I totally understand now. I just wanted to dust myself off and get back to work!

Through life, I have always been a firm believer that things happen for a reason. As of recent I have been going back though all of those “things” and breaking them down as to why exactly those things happen the way they do and what I could of done different to change the outcome for the better.

In this situation, I wouldn’t change a single thing except for Luke to not be as banged up as he is. Get well soon. I was standing in the perfect spot for a reason. Part of the reason was a learning experience of not just blindly trusting the riders on the track. We all do it, fans, parents, photogs, etc. The bigger take away for me though is that there is a reason I was in that spot and not 2’ to the left or right.

The bike flipping with the perfect trajectory to skim my head, the fact I caught the bar pad and not a wheel, frame, foot peg, literally any other part of the bike! I have yet to pin point that reason just yet but in the meantime I’ll keep making the dope sh*t I was apparently meant to be here for.

Side note: Check my Vurb hat that went flying when the bike hit me. I mean I can’t say it officially but the Vurb hat saved my life!

These hats DO NOT SAVE LIVES. But they are still cool.

Jeff Simpson

Written by Jeff Simpson

We met Jeff sleeping in a tent down the street from Loretta Lynn's... with his computer. At that point, we knew he would fit in with us. Then, he then drank all the white claw flavors none of us liked, and that's when we knew it was meant to be. Jeff officially became part of the crew.
We're terrible at asking questions, so we're not exactly sure what Jeff does for a living, but he loves petting his cats and dog, growing his beard, and living in a cornfield in Michigan. Jeff also likes to wear cycling glasses while driving his car and using his cameras. We like Jeff.

2020 Mini O’s Monday Gallery

2020 Mini O’s | 250A & 250B Supercross GoPro Battles