Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young crashed in the first hour of the two-day AMA test at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on June 9, but he had no idea that he’d suffered a broken back. So, despite the pain, he kept testing, finishing not only the first day of the test, but also the second. Then he rode some more in the Kevin Schwantz School at Barber in the days following the test.Now he’s in Southern California, in a body cast, after flying out from his home in Wisconsin to consult with Dr. Thomas Bryan. And he’ll be in that cast for at least a month after suffering a fracture of his L1 vertebra – an injury that has put at a temporary stop to his second season on the factory Suzuki team in the American Superbike Series.”I got off the bike and my back was obviously hurting, but I didn’t feel as if it was hurting to the point where I couldn’t ride,” Young explained today. “I just thought maybe I bruised it pretty badly. It didn’t feel like I broke anything or anything was too out of alignment, nothing too serious. I iced my back in the lounge and went out after lunch on that same day. With that said, it hurt but I didn’t think it was something bad enough to go get it checked out. After I slept on it for a night, it definitely hurt more then next day. Once I got up and started moving around and stretching a little bit, it kind of loosened up a little bit and got better. I thought it was a bruise.”Following the two-day test, Young climbed in his motorhome and started the drive back to Madison, Wisconsin. It was only then that he decided to give Dr. Bryan a call.”I ended up stopping,” Young said. “Normally, I make that trip in about one day, but my back was kind of bothering me so I called it a night and pulled over. I ended up sleeping and made it home in two days. I called Dr. Bryan and told him what happened and asked him what he thought I should do. I ended up going to get some X-rays back home and they corresponded from the UW [University of Wisconsin] at Madison with Dr. Bryan. They let him know the news and that’s how it goes. I jumped on the plane the next day and flew out here to see him. Basically, it’s a fracture and it’s something that does need to be healed. It’s not a good idea to be riding on it, and I’ve been given a deadline of about a month of rest and then we will revaluate from there, I guess. “Young has little doubt that he’ll be back. And he thinks it will be soon after the Laguna Seca round in July.”Absolutely, I will be back,” Young said. “I think it’s a bummer because I ended up missing two races at Infineon last year. It doesn’t make the year very much fun from there on out, but I’m pretty happy with the way things have been going up until this point. I do want to come back as long as everything allows me to come back. Realistically, it could be any of them after Laguna. It’s one of those things where we have to see how my body is healing. It’s up in the air right now.”Young is currently fourth in the American Superbike point standings, 32 points behind his teammate Tommy Hayden. Young won his first AMA Superbike Nationals this year, with those two wins coming at the doubleheader Road Atlanta National in April.If needed, it is likely that Young would be replaced by Australian Josh Waters, the 23-year-old who was given a test of the Rockstar Makita Suzuki at the same Barber test in which Young was injured. Waters, who is trying to win a second successive Australian Superbike Championship, has three more races left in his home series (in Queensland on August 22, Phillip Island on September 12 and Symonds Plains on November 14) and none of the three conflict with the remaining rounds of the AMA American Superbike Championship.
Blake Young Injured
Paul Carruthers | Editor
Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.