The 23-year-old Murphree, who finished fourth in the Claremore, Oklahoma Mile last Saturday and assumed the series points lead, was racing in a local motocross event in Illinois on Sunday when the accident occurred.
“I just bought a new KTM 520, and I was racing a motocross to just play around, have fun and stay in shape,” Murphree said. “I was having a blast all day. I was riding in the A class, and I got the holeshot, then coming into the first turn, this squid just cut across the corner and T-boned me wide open and broke my right leg. It was broken before I even hit the ground.”
Murphree is currently hospitalized at Decatur Memorial Hospital in Illinois, where he is recovering from a surgery. Doctors have placed a rod in the leg to speed up the healing process. Despite the setback, Murphree has remained positive through the ordeal.
“It could have been worse,” Murphree said. “It’s not a compound [fracture]. They were clean breaks. The doctors just stuffed a rod in there to speed it up. I have bionic healing powers anyway, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Murphree said that he hopes to return to action during the Memorial Day Weekend events at Springfield.
“This is just adding fuel to my fire,” Murphree said. “All I’m going to be thinking about is me kickin’ ass. This will just give me even more drive, fire me up even more. If you thought I had desire before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
While it might be easy to question Murphree’s decision to race motocross from and outsider’s perspective, Murphree’s team owner, Tim Coziahr, doesn’t. Coziahr has been 100-percent supportive of his rider through the incident.
“Shit happens, but it could be worse,” Coziahr said. “Of course I’m disappointed. We were on a roll. We have got it together, I believe. We are doing a lot better than we anticipated with such a new team. If Johnny got fourth every race, then we would win the championship, but I know that he can do better than that. Johnny is my guy for sure. I won’t let him ride hurt, but nobody else will ride his motorcycles while he’s down. We’ll be back, and we’ll be stronger than ever.”
In the meantime, cards and letters can be sent to Murphree in care of the following address:
350 South Route 51
Forsythe, IL 62535