I think I never wanted to actually stop and write this because deep inside it meant the true end of my racing career. When you have been doing something for as long as you can remember it feels like it will never end. That’s you, your life and everything you know. I’m a motocross racer and I’ve been racing since before I knew how to read. Motocross is my life and everything always spun around it. On October 20th 2005, the life I knew took a really harsh turn. I had a terrible accident when I was preparing for my 23rd season, and even though it took so long to accept it in my heart I had to realize that that was the end of my racing career. In that accident I almost lost my right foot. I really badly damaged my left foot and dislocated my left elbow. I also had some internal bruises on my liver, spleen and kidneys. I didn’t want to believe I was hurt that badly. The Doctors were concerned if I was going to be able to walk again, and I was thinking how soon I could get back on the bike. You go down 10 times you get back up 11!
Time changes things.
Nine months later I’m still fighting for a chance to walk again. I know I will walk again, but I also know I will never be able to put a leg on a motorcycle again if I want to try to live a normal life.
Just recently I came to terms with this reality and it doesn’t hurt so much anymore to say it out loud.
I had thought about retirement in the past few years, and I had made my mind up that I was going to ride until my 30th birthday. This accident cut it a little shorter and I think maybe in the end it’s what I needed to be able to say “enough. I want to have a family and I’m ready for my new life adventure.
I believe I had a successful career. I won 7 Italian women’s titles and one Italian men’s amateur title when I was living in Italy. In 1999 I packed my bags and moved to America with the dream of becoming the best woman racer in the world. I got 2 (AMA) pro women’s world titles, 2 American Pro women’s national titles (WMA), and one Loretta Lynn’s. I also had the chance to hold an AMA men pro license to try to qualify for SX and MX, and in 2005 I was fortunate enough to ride a round of the MX2 World Championship.
Motocross gave me the opportunity to be in 2 Play station video games, have a replica helmet, be nominated best female extreme athlete in the world (2001-NEA awards) and travel the world doing what I always loved the most.
I’m happy with my accomplishments and most of all I’d like to think I’ve contributed to making women’s motocross bigger and bigger.
I chose this time to let everybody know about my decision because I’ll be coming to the Lakewood national July 22nd-23rd, on crutches, to see everybody and say a final goodbye to my racing career. I would like to stay in the industry and in the world I love so much and so transition into my new life path. I hope I will get the chance to share my experience and find a new place in this big family.
I want to thank my family and all the sponsors that supported me throughout my career, all the friends and fans that were close to me in the tough times. Those memories are so precious, I will never forget.
From the bottom of my heart, thanks everybody and I will see you at the races, on this side of the fence!
Stefy Bau #211