Kevin Windham: “I’m stubborn and don’t want to quit yet”

Kit Palmer | January 9, 2013
Kevin Windham finished midpack at Anaheim I  a much better result than his two previous races. Photography By: Kit Palmer.

Kevin Windham finished midpack at Anaheim I, a much better result than his two previous races. Photography By: Kit Palmer.

Kevin Windham was another rider who came into the season-opening Anaheim Supercross after having crashed his last time on the track. In fact, his last two races prior to Anaheim ended with him on the ground, as he crashed out of the Monster Cup during practice and rang his bell bad enough to keep him out of the race program. His previous crash was at the Houston Supercross and it was a bad one that put him out for the rest of the season. So his last two racing experiences prior to Anaheim weren’t exactly positive.

Although the 34-year-old Windham got through Anaheim I unscathed, qualifying 11th overall and finishing 10th in the main event, he admits that hitting the deck is on his mind more than ever of late – so much so that it might be affecting the way he rides.

“I felt good and I couldn’t have expected to do any better than I did, because I came here with a thought process that I didn’t want to crash,” Windham said while signing autographs for his many fans shortly after the race. “I think about Trey [Canard] and his adversity and what he came through to get on the podium [at A1], you have to have a lot of respect for that. My Achilles heel throughout my career has been my thought process for over thinking situations. At 34, soon to be 35 years old, honestly, I don’t want to crash anymore. So now I have to try and figure out how to do that yet still be fast.”

After listening to Windham talk at the end of the night, one can’t help but think that he might be contemplating retirement maybe a little earlier than planned.

“I came in here… the last time I raced a motorcycle was March of 2012, which is a long time ago, so I don’t know, I’ve got to try and figure out what I’m in it for. The sport has been so good to me, there are so many guys out there chomping at the bit to win races, you can’t come to these things hoping to not fall. That just doesn’t make sense, so there are some real writing on the wall that I have to recognize, the problem is I’m stubborn and I don’t want to quite yet.

Crashing has weighed heavily on Windhams mind lately. Photography By: Simon Cudby.

Crashing has weighed heavily on Windham’s mind lately. Photography By: Simon Cudby.

“My team has been really cool. I’ve been real open to everybody that’s around my camp and letting them know that my head hasn’t been in the best place and the best position, but we’re going to work through it. If I can keep myself off the ground I’ll be around for a while, but if things continue like they did at the end of 2012 and even 2011, my concussion and my big crash in Houston… I don’t want to be a doom and gloom kind of guy, I thought I could write my perfect retirement story, it turns out that sometimes the writing comes on the wall.

“Tonight was a big night for me,” he added. “I don’t care about the result, I just want to go through and ride laps and not continue this melee every time I’m out there on the track. People say I’m the most gifted and talented rider, and I follow that up with, why [has he been crashing]? I try to over analyze why I’m crashing and these things are happening to me. It’s not a good place to be in, so tonight was a big step for me and we’ll build on that. I can polish it up a little bit – we’ll be fine.

“I don’t want to ride it too long and when my mind isn’t in the right place. The sport has given me lot, and I don’t want to ride it too long and don’t want to ride when my mind isn’t in the right place, and ultimately allow the sport to take away, through injury or something else, all the cool stuff that has been given to me, the experiences, the traveling, the relationships with people from all over the country and all over the world, and the feeling I get from being a part of the sport. It’s a delicate balancing act at the moment.”

Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.