Las Vegas Harley-Davidson/Roeder Harley.com’s Jess Roeder [shown here racing with Nicky Hayden at Lima] contacted us from his Monroeville, Ohio, home to give us an update on the injuries that he received in his crash at the Formula USA Seattle Mile on September 22. The good news is that none of the broken vertebrae that he suffered are threatening, but the bad news is that the 29-year-old is done for the year. Roeder also said that his lung was not collapsed in the crash and that he was not fitted with a halo.
“I talked them out of it,” Roeder said. “They found that the fractures to my C5 and C6 vertebrae were stable, and that I had a slight chip in my left occipital condyle [near the base of the skull] that was unstable, but it is such a small piece that it’s not going to hurt anything. I had a fractured rib, and I split a molar, which probably hurts more than anything else. I also ruptured an eardrum, and they found blood in my urine, but that was just because I bruised a kidney.”
Roeder said that he tried to talk the doctors into clearing him to ride the AMA Du Quoin Mile, but he was refused. He will be absent from the Formula USA Del Mar Mile as well.
“It’s just a bummer because I was doing well at Seattle,” Roeder said. “I was leading my heat race earlier, but that bike blew up. Then I had to get on my back-up bike and come through the Last Chance. Then I had to go through all those bikes to get to the front in the main event. I was just reaching for a tearoff, and hit a hole.
“But I thought that the track was nice,” Roeder continued. “People will be quick to blame the track, but the problem was that you couldn’t see because of the spray, which is, I guess, part of the track conditions. But I think that could be fixed. We should maybe look into using those dirt deflectors like the speedway guys use. If they could even cut down on some of the roost, then it would help a lot.”
Roeder said that despite having his season cut short, he is still satisfied with his performance in 2001.
“I went through such a steep learning curve,” he said, “starting at Houston, where I was fighting for last place in a semi, to Seattle, where I’m fighting for the win in my heat race. I’m looking forward tog getting right back in it. When I feel better, I plan to go to Chris Carr’s [American Supercamps] school in Talladega, Alabama, and I’m going to be doing a lot of ice racing this winter. The biggest challenge may just be this economy, and seeing what our sponsorship will be like.”
Roeder also admitted that his year hasn’t been without its wacky moments, not the least of which came right after his crash at Seattle.
“They had to airlift me to the hospital, and my dad [George Roeder] had to drive our van,” Roeder said. “When he got there, he was in a hurry, so he just parked in the loading zone and went inside. Of course, they started smelling that race gas, so they thought that he might be a terrorist. They called out the police, the fire department, the bomb squad – everyone was there. They went through everything in the truck, but in the end, dad said that they didn’t treat him badly.”