To say that 2012 was cruel to Nick Wey would be an understatement; it was a out-right bitch. After overcoming struggles with speed and set-up in the opening rounds of the Supercross season, the forever popular rider had began to build momentum before a crash at Indianapolis pulled the muscles in his groin and sent him to the sidelines. He would bounce back to run the final stops of the Supercross season and an abbreviated outdoor schedule, but a huge get-off at Millville and list of injuries would bring his year to a halt. Now on the mend, we have commissioned him to design the track for our TransWorld Motocross SLAM that is taking place next month at Lake Elsinore. While sighting out the track today, we chatted with NYK about the crash, the new addition to his family, and the future.
What exactly happened in Millville?
The track was kind of cleaned up and smooth in the beginning of the race, because they had a bunch of rain the night before and practice was wet. It seemed like the only place to make a move was in the sand whoops, so I was getting after it there. There was a super-soft one and I guess I had too much speed going into it. I guess my footpegs hit, so there was no saving it. The next thing you know, I am laid out and I obviously knew something was wrong with my leg or my hip. I was kind of just hanging. It was a struggle back to the hospital, because it was a couple of hours after laying on the track, getting a ride there, and waiting for another ambulance. Dislocating your hip is not a fun thing, especially if you can’t find a comfortable spot. I didn’t even know anything was wrong with my back, so when I got there they put me under, and when I woke up I saw my leg was in the right direction. I was pretty stoked but they told me I had to have surgery right away because my back was unstable because I had broken three vertebra. I was like, “Alright, whatever. I’m just stoked my hip isn’t hurting anymore.” From there, I spent a week in the hospital in Rochester, which I am beyond thankful that it happened at the Mayo Clinic, because I got such good care and the surgeon is a world-renowned guy for spinal surgery. It worked out awesome, but then I made the rough trip back as soon as possible because my wife was super-close to having our child. I got home and maybe three days later, we had him. Everything is going well with him. I stayed in a hospital bed in the guest bedroom on the main floor for maybe another month after I got home, but I am trying to do what I can and am getting stronger every day. Right now I am getting things together for the 2013 motocross series, which I plan to be back for and stronger than ever.
What was the full extent of your injuries?
I dislocated my hip and broke three vertebra, which needed to be fused and have screws to get them stable. I broke three ribs, but that was pretty much it.
The scar is gnarly. We saw the picture you had posted on Instagram…
Yeah, for sure. It is an injury that you need to take your time with, and I am thankful that everything is okay, as far as movement, because I had a hematoma on my spinal cord. I guess that was pretty serious, because you can get a slight bruise on your spinal cord and lose feeling. I am pretty thankful I will make a full recovery, but it is going to take some time to recovery and get strong. I should be riding by the middle of January, so I should be 100 percent and more ready for the Nationals than I have been in years. I am looking forward to putting together a crew that will have the support I need for the outdoors to perform at my best.
What have you been doing in the off time? And now that you have the kid, where is his tattoo going to go?
I’m working on it and thinking of something different. With more time, I have done a bunch of stuff with the Mafia Moto Crew and have been working with designers for different things. I am itching to get some more tattoos and will have the new baby’s name somewhere, but will probably get littered with other graffiti also (Laughs). I have been spending some time at MSR and helping them as much as they’ll let me with the 2014 gear, and that has been fun, too. I have been doing things that I had been putting off; working around the house, sold an old bike that I had that I bought for a team, and just tons of things that add up when you are so busy. It is good to catch up and be able to workout a little bit now. I have been riding the spin bike and swimming, just stuff that is easy, but it kind of blew my mind how much exercise it was being a professional motocross racer. It is so much a part of my life that it has been kind of weird. It is nice to get back to some more of a normal activity, but it has been good.
How has the Mafia brand been going? We all know what the idea of it was, and you have just taken it a full step further.
The Mafia Moto Crew is something I grew up a part of, in the Michigan branded Mafia, and now it has a good following all on its own. As I like to say, posses are popping up everywhere. We have some good sales through Tucker Rocky and Motosport.com and are working on other vendors now. So once we get up and running a little bit more, there will be a website up and running for people to get stuff off of it. We are working on new designs for 2013, but I want to keep it small and basically get behind a couple of riders next season and get behind them however I can.
At any point did you think this was the end?
I think my family was thinking that, but I never did. This year’s Supercross season went decent for me and I qualified in the top-five a few times in the lap times. I was putting things together because that was my weakness coming into the season, just with speed in general. I was happy with how that was progressing but I got injured in Supercross and missed some races. I came back and finished the best that I could, and some sponsors obligations forced us to be ready for the first National of the year. The team and myself, health-wise, wasn’t ready for it but we gutted it out. Red Bud and a couple of others went pretty decent, minus the crashes at the beginning. Millville was going to be the last race of the season and I wanted to put in a good effort there. But, it happens.