Webster injured in SX2 Final at Bacchus Marsh; Wightman plies his trade in SX1 debut season
Round two of the 2017 Australian Supercross Championship descended on Bacchus Marsh near Melbourne, Victoria, on Saturday night (October 14) and for the Penrite CRF Honda Racing team it was an evening of very mixed fortunes.
In the SX2 class, Kyle Webster kicked off proceedings with fifth fastest time in Qualifying before snaring a strong second place finish in his Heat race behind Hayden Mellross.
Boosted by a strong start to proceedings, Webster was in a confident mood heading into the SX2 Final, however luck was not on his side when he crashed heavily and was struck by his bike, the impact leaving him with injured vertebrae.
“I went over the bars on a dragon’s back section and the bike landed on my back,” Webster explained.
“The impact broke my T7, T8, T9 and T10 vertebrae and for a short time I lost feeling from my waist down. Thankfully, though, that was just the spine in shock, and I have regained feeling and have full movement again.
“The Racesafe crew were immediately on the scene and I have to pay them a huge vote of thanks, because who knows how this could have played out without their care and expertise … It was a frightening experience and a situation where you really want experienced and caring people around you.
“I’d also like to say thanks to my carers, Mick and Linda Lillis, who have been at my bedside in hospital throughout, my closest friends and family, everyone on the Penrite CRF Honda Racing team, and all the other riders, families, friends and fans who have wished me well – all the support is so appreciated.”
Webster remains in Royal Melbourne Hospital, where surgeons are expected to operate in the next 48 hours to place a rod to stabilise the damaged vertebrae.
“Unfortunately this is a part of the sport we all love,” Webster reflects. “But overall I am okay and once we get through the surgery on Wednesday, then we can look ahead to taking the recovery one stage at a time.”
After what was a very difficult, emotional night, Penrite CRF Honda Racing team owner Mark Luksich is heartened to know Webster is in good spirits.
“As many will know, we have already signed Kyle to continue with Penrite CRF Honda Racing in 2018 and we are fully committed to helping him recover and prepare for the future,” Luksich explained.
“Kyle is such a committed and determined rider, not to mention one of the nicest guys in the sport. He was so looking forward to this year’s Supercross Championship and I really feel for him.
“The first comment Kyle made when I was able to see him at Racesafe was: ‘I’m lucky I was wearing body armour’. At times I wish all riders would consider how important it is to protect themselves,” Luksich added.
Meanwhile in the SX1 class, Penrite CRF Honda Racing’s Joel Wightman continued to ply his trade in his debut season aboard the thundering CRF450R, the NSW Hunter Valley based rider carding an eighth place finish is his Heat race, before finishing 13th in the SX1 Final. Wightman now holds down 12th place in the SX1 Championship after two rounds.
“Round two featured a really technical track, as the dirt went hard packed and broke away, plus when you throw in the moisture coming up at night, it was a tough gig to nail the big rhythm sections every lap, not to mention the big whoops were a real challenge as well,” Wightman explained.
“I had a tip over in my Heat race and finished eighth but I managed to get a good gate down the inside for the Final … but I missed the reaction of the gate drop just a fraction and that was enough to put me back. Still, I was running in 11th and felt comfortable, but I pushed the front into a berm and went down in the mid stages of the race. But I regathered and managed to finish 13th, and I’m 12th in the standings, so now I’m looking forward to round three in two weeks time in Adelaide.”
The 2017 Australian Supercross Championship features six rounds across four states, with round three set to be staged at Virginia near Adelaide, SA, on Saturday, October 28, before the title wraps up with the grand finale at Jimboomba X-Stadium in south-east Queensland on Saturday, November 18.