Cameron Beaubier went into surgery yesterday with a plan of walking out half an hour later. After all, it was a tune-up more than anything with Dr. Tuan Nguyen and Dr. Maury Harwood going in to remove the wire that was helping hold Beaubier's right knee together during the healing process. But it didn't quite work out that way.
Turns out the kneecap that Beaubier originally broke back in March in a scooter accident just days after his third-place finish in the Daytona 200 was smashed again - the result of his crash in the Daytona SportBike race at New Jersey Motorsport Park in September. Now he's facing the same recovery as before.
"I was going to go in there and it was going to be a quick half-an-hour surgery and they were going to pull the wire out and I was going to walk out of there and everything," Beaubier said today. "He [Nguyen] opened it up and saw it was all messed up. My kneecap was broken into like three pieces and the screws were floating around in there and the wire was smashed up pretty good. He basically had to-re-do it all like he did at the beginning of the season. He wired it up and I'm in a leg brace so I can't bend my knee for six weeks. It's a huge bummer."
After undergoing surgery in March, Beaubier was in a hurry to get back on his Monster Energy Graves Yamaha so he rushed things. He ended up returning for the Sonoma Raceway round on May 5 and finishing third. Turns out he'd pushed it a bit too much and he had to opt out of Sunday's race. He returned at the next round at Road America, but truly hit his stride in round six of the series at Barber Motorsports Park when he swept the doubleheader for his first career Daytona SportBike victories. From there, the 19-year-old went on a tear, winning seven of the last 11 races.
Then it went bad again when he couldn't avoid his fallen teammate Tommy Hayden at New Jersey Motorsports Park on September 9 and crashed again. The knee was sore after the incident, but Beaubier had no idea that he'd re-broken it again. In fact, he won the next round at Homestead-Miami Speedway and went on to finish third in the series point standings - despite missing three races.
"It was pretty sore after that crash," Beaubier said. "I was struggling walking up stairs and stuff, but it went away after about a week and went back to normal... well, not normal, but normal for what it was. It was swollen and hard to feel anything, but I had literally no idea it was that bad and they didn't either. He [Nguyen] felt it before we went into surgery yesterday and there was a little flat spot, but he wasn't worried about anything until he opened it up and saw everything. It's pretty crazy."
Fortunately for Beaubier, it's the off-season and Daytona isn't until March. This time there won't be the big push for the talented young rider to get back on the bike.
"I'm not going to rush it at all," he said. "I'm going to take it super easy and just let it heal. Last time I was trying to get back to race. It's a big bummer. I was really looking forward to waking up and being able to walk out of there. All of a sudden, I get woken up and told about all of that. It's hard."