Tag Archives: adapted motocross

SCI Superstar: Darius Glover

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Darius Glover is one of those tough as nails paraplegics we keep seeing more and more of. Why is he awesome? He’s the first paralyzed motocross racer to ride in a AMA (American Motorcyclists Association) sanctioned race, proving that yes – you can be paralyzed and still be competitive on a bike. So incredibly rad.

But racing from the waist up (he’s a T5 – T9 paraplegic) definitely weren’t in his original plans. Everything changed when at the age of 15 (while practicing for an upcoming race at the MX track “Field of dreams” in 2006), Darius crashed his bike on a slick double jump. But even though his parents were hesitant at first (and even he wasn’t sure he could do it), Darius decided to not give up on his love and was back on a bike again within a few months of his injury.

Why he’s fearless

Originally from Maryland, Darius’ early life was all about motocrossing. He started riding at the age of 7, riding daily with his best friend (and a now-famous motocrosser as well), Daniel O’Brian. And it was this friend who helped him get back out on the track right away. Darius equipped his 2012 CR450f with his own fabricated custom bars, seat, slipper clutch and brake in order to make it work for him, and it’s working amazingly well.

So well in fact that Darius went on to qualify for Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Motocross Championships in Florida in 2011. But here’s where it gets sticky, with discrimination starting to show its ugly face. After traveling hundreds of miles from his home, he was told he couldn’t race, but they wouldn’t give him an answer ‘why.

After badgering them again and again, the AMA finally allowed Darius to race. Watch this news clip of his fight to race at the Loretta Lynn race

Once he was given the go ahead in 2011 to still race in the amateur motocross bracket, Darius has been training extremely hard. Now 21 years old, he trains at the Millsaps Training Facility, his home track. Here, he’s been able to train with infamous motocross trainer Colleen Millsaps, the mother of Pro Motocross Legend and JGRMX team rider Davi Millsaps.

But Darius is certainly not letting his paralyzed lower half to stop him from doing what he loves, but it’s not as easy as it was before and it took him a lot of practice to get where he is today.  At this year’s Mini O’s in Gainesville, Florida (in a stacked class and forced to start on the far outside of the gate), Darius pulled ahead of the other able-bodied racers, showing that it is still possible to kick butt. He led his race until he fell while doing a sharp turn (one of the toughest challenges when motocrossing with paralyzed legs).

What’s next?

In the world of motocrossing, it’s all about getting sponsors too, and Darius is finally attracting some of the much needed attention he deserves. Several sponsors are coming to the table, including Race Ready Fitness, Alpinestars, Oakley, One Industries and Rekluse Clutch. Having sponsors will definitely help him fine tune his adapted bike, not to mention traveling to races all over the country.

Darius is also busy working on a documentary about his life by Interlaced Films, “Live and Learn” (love this tagline). You can watch a clip of it here. And when he’s not riding, Darius likes to keep his life as normal as possible, attending classes at Florida State University.

You know, ya gotta love these youngins tearing the glass ceiling to shreds. No one accepts, “No, you can’t do that” anymore after their injury. And they’re making the world a better place for all of us.

Have you ever raced?  Would you go back to doing what you loved that even if it made it much more different? Has Darius Glover motivated you? 

Watch his videos

Whatever It Takes: Darius Glover

Clip from Darius Glover’s documentary

News coverage: Darius Glover denied to race

Image courtesy of YoungandReckless.com

SCI Superstar: Ricky James

One word has been driving Ricky James since he broke his back – perseverance (and he has the entire thing tattooed up his left leg in huge cursive font).

If you know motocross, you probably know who Ricky James is (and maybe knew about him before injury). He was a rising 15 year old star in the motocross world who started racing at the age of 2 (they called him a “prodigy on two wheels”). He was even home-schooled so he could keep up with his crazy schedule.

Motocross is in Ricky’s blood and always will be. That is why after his accident (he hit a dirt embankment racing Amateurs Nationals in Lake Whitney, Texas), he was the last guy to ever think of wiping his hands clean of the sport he grew up sleeping and breathing. Are you kidding? “Motocrossers are a different breed,” says Ricky.

Why he’s fearless

Ricky became paralyzed after breaking his spine in half (check out this insane x-ray of his injury on his site under “What is SCI?”) at the T6-7 level, but that didn’t stop him. Thanks to a family friend who was also paralyzed, after only five weeks after his injury Ricky was back out at the track with friends. He is still so alive, still so strong (both physically and mentally) and has energy that just won‘t quit. I love that Ricky refuses to let his injury stop him from doing what he loves. In layman’s speak? He’s on the same bike.

Ricky uses a steering stabilizer for more balance, electronic shifting and an electronic start to make up for the use of his legs; and those mods are NOT cheap. Thanks to his sponsors, including SoCal Trucks, Colours Wheelchairs and SHOEI, he has the coolest set-up any adrenaline-addict paraplegic could dream of (and also thanks to help from the paralyzed motocross experts @ Para Pros Racing).

Ricky was back racing within months of his injury, and is doing a lot more on top of straight motocross. He also races motokarts (“adaptive motox;” a new sport created by the X-Games, which he was in in 2008) and off-road trucks. “I don’t want to be known as the wheelchair guy that races,” he says. “I want to be known as that really fast guy who happens to be in a wheelchair.”

What’s next

Finally healed up after two riding injuries (yep they still happen. He took a several month break after dislocating his shoulder), Ricky did something that always impresses me whenever I hear of a wheeler doing it – completing an Ironman triathlon. He went to Lake Placid, NY on July 20th to complete in his second (yup second) Ironman triathlon.

His first Ironman was in 2008 in Kona, Hawaii. Ironman triathlons are insane acts of endurance, requiring entrants to run/push a marathon (26.4 miles), swim 2.4 miles and bicycle/hand-bicycle 112 miles. Ricky is rocking his still-there abilities to their core.

As a representative for Life Rolls On, racing any way he can still get it (including NASCAR trucks) and living the beautiful life in Oceanside, Cali (a tad jealous of that one), at 23, Ricky has made his way through the wilderness of his youth in a beautifully refined piece (I‘m sure to many people‘s surprise). He just refuses to quit, and I, and the motocross world, love him for it.

Watch the videos!

NBC Sports profiles Ricky James (great interview with his parents, beautiful clip)
Fun interview with Ricky James (with an Aussie reporter) about Ironman (and see his multiple leg tattoos)
Ricky James talks about his accident and how he can still ride (from Transworldmx)
Cool clip of Ricky James in a PSA from Life Rolls On