Colton Udall: Piecing It Back Together | Dirt Rider

Colton Udall: Piecing It Back Together

We catch up with him at the Viewfinders Big 6 GP

Colton Udall

Former Big 6 series champ Colton Udall made his first series start in about a year after trying to recover from his broken back. Armed with a new appreciation of simply being able to ride, he finished fourth in the Vet race but spent most of his time helping riders on his Ox Motorsports Honda team.

Mark Kariya

The Viewfinders Grand Prix in Ridgecrest, California, turned out to be a very good one for Ox Motorsports Honda’s Colton Udall. No, the former AMA District 37/Maxxis Big 6 Grand Prix Series champion didn’t go out and win the $2,000, 90-minute AMA Big 6 West Coast Grand Prix (WCGP) Series feature race. He didn’t even compete in it. But he did enter the Vet race where he finished fourth behind the amazing Gordon Ward, Purvines DA8 Racing’s Nick Burson, and Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/Precision Concepts rider Robby Bell.

Now, fourth place might not seem like a big deal, but it marked a big step for Udall, who’s been on a long road to recovery after two crashes late last year. The first resulted in a fairly straightforward injury, but the second was career-altering, ironically happening at his favorite track⏤Glen Helen Raceway Park.

“I burst-fractured my L1 vertebra; I have from thoracic 11 to lumbar three fused with plates and screws,” he explained. “I pinched my spinal cavity; I basically closed it half the diameter to around 8 millimeters so I suffered spinal cord damage, had numbness in the lower half of my butt, down the back of my leg, backs of my calves, and all over my feet.

“It’s an injury that’s really difficult because I laid in bed and I didn’t know I had issues with my calves, and my legs deteriorated. I also broke the navicular in my foot. I broke that in pieces, basically, and I had an external fixator on my foot so I didn’t get to do much [while recovering]. The nerve pain and stuff was really bad. Breaking your back is really difficult [to deal with].”

Mark Samuels Pit Crew

The OX Motorsports crew makes sure all their riders feel the love.

Mark Kariya

Desperate to get healthy again, he started a GoFundMe account and underwent stem cell treatment for a total of 12 days at the Hino Medical Center in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, a place where he’s experienced so much racing success.

“It’s hard work, but it’s responsible for allowing me to get back on the motorcycle,” he declared.“I made it a goal to ride down in Mexico. We did a three-day ride with my family and some friends, and had a bunch of fun and got a little stronger and got the taste [of riding] back. I had a good time [racing today]. I’ve definitely gotten stronger from even last weekend [when I did my first race since the injury]. I struggled with arm-pump last weekend and this weekend I didn’t.

“I’m getting stronger on the bike. My goal is to race the 24-hour [at Glen Helen in a few weeks]. I’m going to use it for training, but it just depends on whether I’ll be on the [number] one bike or maybe the three bike.The [big] goal is to race the start of the Baja 1000 [next month] and ride probably 350 miles. I’m good at night and I know how to ride those roads and I’m confident.”

As for the Viewfinders race itself, Udall’s first responsibility was helping Ox Motorsports riders and he added, “I have a new outlook on racing. I’m just happy to be doing it. When you sit out nine and a half months and you’re someone like me [who’s] pretty active and I don’t like to sit on the couch, I’m really happy to be just riding.”

Zach Bell Ox Motorsports rider

Another highlight for Udall was seeing Ox Motorsports rider Zach Bell notch his third win of the season, extending his point lead in the WCGP feature class.

Mark Kariya

And to top it off, Ox Motorsports rider Zach Bell won the WCGP, his third triumph in his first season of Big 6, extending his point lead over runner-up Trevor Stewart, the Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda rider and Pro II champ in his first year full-time in the Pro division. Unofficially, Bell leads Stewart 154-130.

Mark Samuels OX Motorsports pit stop

Ox Motorsports team co-owner Mark Samuels could almost taste third place but missed his pit stop and ran out of fuel. After pushing back to the pits, Udall (right) helped fuel the bike with Mitch Hamm (left) also assisting, Samuels eventually finishing fifth.

Mark Kariya

Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/Precision Concepts Kawasaki-mounted Justin Seeds rounded out the top three after coming from a subpar start; it marked his first podium of the season despite being sick for more than a month.

WCGP Pro II winners podium

Runner-up Clay Hengeveld, winner Mitch Anderson, and third-place Beau Baron celebrate on the WCGP Pro II podium.

Mark Kariya

In WCGP Pro II, point leader Mitch Anderson came through the pack to take his first win of the season aboard his CST KTM 250 XC followed fairly closely by early leader Clay Hengeveld on his Northland Motorsports KX250F and defending class champ Beau Baron aboard his CST Honda CRF250R.


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