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Old 12-03-2011, 04:17 PM   #1
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Quote:
Doug Henry returns to Pala on his custom Yamaha


Eric Johnson

Monster Energy-backed motorcycle legend Doug Henry - who became a paraplegic after a racing crash several years ago - was back on a California motocross track, racing on a specially-prepared #19 Yamaha dirt bike in the popular Troy Lee-founded and Red Bull-sponsored 'A Day in the Dirt' motocross celebration at Pala Raceway.

On any given day the former multi-time AMA MX champ's positive attitude, genuine demeanour and infectious smile makes the entire motorcycle industry feel good about itself. Simply put, as a mother or father you'd be hard-pressed to show your kids a representative that's a better example of what's good about the motorcycle industry and its members than Doug Henry.

Henry was supposed to make last year's Day in the Dirt, but couldn't because his house burned down. Around that same time he also had to deal with the serious illness his wife, Stacey, was battling. But this past weekend he was able to answer the bell and came out to ride. MX-related chat rooms lit up with the news, and have since been the subject of numerous top level A riders talking about how they got passed by Doug Henry - on a dirt bike with a roll cage!

Henry swung by Monster Energy HQ and the crew over there had a chat.

Monster Energy: So how'd it go this weekend?

Doug Henry: A Day in the Dirt was great. I had a blast coming out here and seeing a bunch of people that I hadn't seen in so long and get to ride with them. It was a good overall experience between seeing the friends that I knew and the friends that I made.

Talk a bit about the setup of your #19 Yamaha. People familiar with motocross have by now, of course, seen the remarkable footage of you riding back east. Did you have to adjust anything on the bike to get it ready to run at Pala?

I didn't have to do anything different for Pala, but we have made quite a few changes since that first video. We're constantly working on it, making adjustments and supports and stuff. There's always work being done to it.



Henry's specially designed Yamaha allows him to control the entire bike from the handlebars.
Being that Pala's track is a stop on the outdoor national circuit, it looked like you had a chance to really open 'er up out there. Was that pretty thrilling for you?

Oh yeah. The bike worked great there. I was a little nervous at first about the tunnels. My cage just barely makes it under - and scrapes the ceiling when I get into the throttle exiting the tunnels. So yeah, I'd just squeeze through there. But I thought the track was very unique. It was pretty fast and wide open, which was great. Then it'd get really tight and narrow and that's challenging for me. The tight corners are where I struggle the most. But overall, for the type of event it was, it's the perfect layout of a track for speed and safety.

Were guys blown away that someone without the use of his legs was able to ride at such speeds?

It was amazing. Some guys coming up saying how much they admire me and tried keeping up with me - but just couldn't do it. I had guys that would be behind me that would pass me, yelling and screaming as they went by on how happy they were that I was out there, telling me that they'd come up to pass me, then ended up just wanting to watch me ride for a while. And the fans' response, the people that came by to say 'Hi' - I was overwhelmed by that.

Did you have any standout battles?

I got into it pretty good with Mike Bell (1980 SX champ). We got a bunch of photos of him and I battling - me looking over at him and stuff. So that was fun.

Do you ever reflect back on winning your two AMA 125 titles, your 250 class outdoor title - the first supercross race won on a four-stroke?

Yeah, I do once and a while. Occasionally a friend will send over a video on YouTube and I'll watch that, remember some of the races, some of the passing and battles that I had. So yeah, it goes through my head every now and then. Not a real lot, though. The past was fun. I loved it and enjoyed it. But I'm more into the here and now and the challenges I face every day, having fun and learning.

One thing some people might not realise is you didn't show up at the races when you were younger in a big motorhome, or really had much extra cash to speak of prior to and after your factory-backed pro career. You came up with pretty much nothing. Coming from that end of it, did that help drive you to great successes in the sport of motocross?

Yeah, absolutely. I didn't have much else going on. It was either motocross, or go work at UPS there locally or something (laughter). I didn't really have anything planned. So the racing was something that was fun, and there was a chance I could make some money at it if I could just get to that top level. At first it was just race-to-race in order to get enough money to travel to the next race, rather than thinking about making a future of it. So starting where I did made me appreciate the success I did have.

What do you think of the mini cycle racing scene now?

I really don't pay much attention to it, any racing for that matter. I am amazed by the money involved in it and how it always seems to get better. These kids, if they really want it, they can have a career doing it. Look at (Kevin) Windham. He's a great example. I don't even know how many years that guy's been racing - quite a long time.



Henry smashing a jump
We have a number of riders in today's pro field that are Doug Henry-like - guys more in tune with work ethic than they are flashy. Who do you think has that kind of ethic?

Probably the guys that are in it for the long haul. Of course there's guys that are fast that do well from time-to-time, but never really seem to put it together for a championship. The guys like Villopoto, Dungey, Reed - he really surprised me this year. I was really impressed with the way he rode this year. Those guys that you know are going to be there - that's the guys I guess I'd like to have remind me of when I was racing.

The crowd that'll read this is a bit younger than you, practically closer to your kids' ages. What's some of the best advice you can give kids reading this?

It's important to have fun with what you do, and want it. You can have whatever you want if you want it bad enough. I put that in my head. There's ups and downs with your racing, riding career and training. There's bad things that can happen, yeah, but remember there's always somebody that has it worse off than you. Look at the positive side of things and don't let little things stand in the way of what you want.

Looking at the horizon, what's next for you? Is there anything you've got cooking on the back burner that's going to surprise some people here?

Not at this point right now. I guess I could say I'm looking forward to the day where I can give back to the racing community. That would be something I'd really like to work on
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Old 12-03-2011, 04:22 PM   #2
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That is Fucken Awesome Congrats to him !

I would like to see how they made the mods for him to control everything on the bars, any links guys?
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Old 12-03-2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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That is Fucken Awesome Congrats to him !

I would like to see how they made the mods for him to control everything on the bars, any links guys?
No specifics but here's a sample video of him riding


Here's the crash that cost him the use of his legs

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Old 12-03-2011, 05:45 PM   #4
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I'd love to meet him one day.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:43 PM   #5
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Thanks for posting this.
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:31 PM   #6
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Here's the crash that cost him the use of his legs

1995 Doug Henry Crash - YouTube
My mistake - he did't become parapalegic from that crash video I posted (amazing, I just searched for it, watched it and assumed that was the crash..but he recovered from this crash completely). He actually broke his back in 2007 in a SuperMoto race...can't seem to find the video

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Henry_(motocross)

Quote:
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Henry broke his back on March 4, 2007, in a Supermoto race.[2] He now suffers partial paralysis from the waist down, and is working very hard toward yet another recovery.
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:33 PM   #7
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Wow, that's awesome!
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:08 PM   #8
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Mad props to him! I LOVE reading stories like this.

I would love to have Syvanna meet him. She made the HS soccer team this year! It was originally against her doctors orders, but I got my dad to write her a note clearing her to play, and then found a new doctor that would support her playing and even prescribed her a custom-made brace. Anything is possible if you want it bad enough!
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:25 PM   #9
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^ Is that from the tree accident?
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:28 PM   #10
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Mad props to him! I LOVE reading stories like this.

I would love to have Syvanna meet him. She made the HS soccer team this year! It was originally against her doctors orders, but I got my dad to write her a note clearing her to play, and then found a new doctor that would support her playing and even prescribed her a custom-made brace. Anything is possible if you want it bad enough!
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:36 PM   #11
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Very cool.
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:42 PM   #12
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:47 PM   #13
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^ Is that from the tree accident?
Yes. She has Post Traumatic Arthritis in both ankles (left much worse) and in her left knee, venous stasis, flattened talus, and vascular deformity and degeneration in her left leg below the knee. Her left tib is longer than right and she has had Epiphysiodesis, pins in both ankles, etc... She is in constant pain, but never takes anything stronger than tylenol, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium. When she said she wanted to try out for soccer I was proud of her - she did last week and she made the team!
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:26 PM   #14
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strong girl!
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:37 PM   #15
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i've always been a doug henry fan and it's good to see him defying the odds and getting back out there

here are some pics of doug henry that I took while in the pits at a houston supercross in the early 90s
1fb4b18b

951cc915
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:16 PM   #16
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Old 12-04-2011, 01:50 PM   #17
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Inspirational.
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Old 12-04-2011, 03:57 PM   #18
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great article
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