One guy that hasn’t been around the races for quite some time now is Team Yamaha’s Heath Voss. Voss has been out of commission since acquiring the Epstein Barr Virus following the Supercross series, and as a result has been forced to miss nearly the entire National series in order to get healthy.
Now, with the U.S. Open and World Supercross Series rapidly approaching we decided to give the former World Supercross Champion a call, and see what he has been doing during his hiatus from racing.
What have you been up to lately?
Last week I was out in California. I rode the new YZF450 for the first time, and I tested on the supercross track last Monday and Wednesday.
How has testing been going on the new bike?
The new bike is awesome; it’s the best bike I have ever ridden. When I was growing up I always raced 250s, but I always preferred to ride a 125 just because it was fun. There is always that bike that you would prefer to go ride in the hills with, or at the sand pit, or where ever—it’s just fun. The new YZF450 is one of those bikes. It’s cool to be able to race a bike that I enjoy riding all the time.
So the new aluminum frame doesn’t affect anything?
No, the chassis is so much better, it’s just a night and day difference. When you sit on the bike you just suck to it and it’s super narrow. The radiators are really thin, and everything is just slimmed up.
You had probably one of your best Supercross seasons yet. What happened at the end of the season when you missed a few races and didn’t race outdoors?
I crashed really hard practicing after the Atlanta Supercross. I was jumping a step-up on my Supercross track and I cased it, and rode the front wheel off the next double. I did a flip and the bike cart-wheeled. It landed right on my back, and bruised my intestines. I got up and I just fell right to the ground again. I thought I broke my back, because I have never broken my back before so I didn’t know what it would feel like. A bunch of my friends were there with me, and one of them was on one of my four-wheelers. He came over to see if I was okay. I hopped on the four-wheeler and he took me over to my house. I crawled up the steps in the front of my house and took my gear off. I mean I couldn’t even walk because I tore my groin really bad. So I missed three races—four weeks—then I raced the last four Supercrosses and ended up third in the World Supercross Championship.
What about the Nationals, why did you miss most of them?
I really like Outdoors, and I used to do better Outdoors than Supercross. So I really wanted to kick ass in outdoors, but my mechanic thought I wasn’t ready and needed time off to heal up. I tried to race the first three, but I was just in so much pain.
Did you have the Epstein Barr Virus as well?
Yeah, I had Epstein Barr.
When did you start feeling the affects of that?
Up until Atlanta I felt really strong. After I crashed really hard I had problems internally, and I thought I would just work through them but it didn’t work out too well.
What exactly does the virus feel like? Does it make you weak?
Yeah it makes you weak. I had a combination of the Epstein Barr Virus and Adrenal Gland fatigue. My Adrenal Gland wasn’t working right. I just felt like crap every morning. Epstein Barr is pretty common. I went on the Internet and did a search on Epstein Barr, and I think 90% of Americans from thirty to forty-five have it. They used to call it Yuppie Virus back in the 70’s because all the stockbrokers had it. So, it’s pretty common. But yeah, you just feel like crap in the morning. For the longest time I would—where I live in Texas I have a nice ranch—wake up in the mornings and be so excited to do all of the things that I want to do. Then, after I crashed in March I just felt like crap, and didn’t really want to get out of bed. I love flying airplanes and stuff. I had flown 450 hours in a year, but then after I crashedd I didn’t fly for six weeks, just because I didn’t care to fly anymore. You just feel like crap and don’t want to do anything. I thought that I could work through it and keep training. But it’s hard when you mess your body up really bad, because it’s pretty hard to stop what you’re doing and do nothing for like two or three months. I’ve broken bones and torn stuff up, and if you break your wrist you can still go jogging. It really sucks when you have internal injuries.
Are you going to be racing the U.S. Open coming up in October?
No, I’m just going to concentrate on testing. My condition was pretty bad. It takes about six months to get over it. It’s not as quick as everybody thinks.
What are your plans for next year?
I signed with Yamaha back in July. I have a great deal with them, and this new bike is awesome. I really like the people at Yamaha, and that there is going to be a big difference in my riding this next year. I will be a lot better off.
In 2005 you tried to line-up outside sponsorship deals, are you going to be doing that this year?
No, right now it’s just Chad Reed and I in the factory truck. My deal with Yamaha is really good; all I need to think about is riding a motorcycle, everything else is handled.
Are you going to be riding the World Supercross rounds again this year?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. It’s only two races, and I don’t see why more people don’t do it.