By Brendan Lutes
After getting his big break to ride for the powerful Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team in 2012, Darryn Durham's seasons have been marred by injury. After garnering his first win at the New Orleans Supercross last season, he hurt his shoulder while preparing for the outdoors and was forced to sit out the rest of the year. After recovering from that, though, another freak injury to his Achilles tendon sidelined him again.
Now with two months of riding under his belt, Durham is putting in a lot of work and testing to prepare for an assault on the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championships. We caught up with him between motos at Perris Raceway this week where he looked to already be back to his former speedy self.
How long have you been riding for?
I've been riding for about eight weeks now, and I have been going hard for about the past month with testing for outdoors and all that. It has been good.
For those that don't know, you weren't riding before these past couple months because of your injuries from last year, right?
Yeah, I hurt my Achilles tendon and my shoulder pretty bad last year. So yeah, I was just recovering from all that. It has been a long recovery process, but I'm back on the bike now and having fun.
When you were off the bike, what were you doing to keep busy?
When I was off the bike, I really just did a lot of therapy. I went home a little bit during the summer; I went to a few of the outdoor Nationals, and since then I've just been doing therapy. I didn't really go home after the summer, and I didn't go home for Christmas; I didn't go home for anything. I've just been out in California trying to get ready to make a comeback.
Obviously it probably felt awesome to get back on the bike. But how was it for you?
At first it was kind of hard, because I came back and I wasn't 100 percent yet. I just wanted to ride so bad that I had to get on the bike a little bit. I started off trail riding and then worked my way up to the tracks. Now I'm testing and going pretty fast--it's getting good.
Is your plan to return to racing when the outdoor season begins next month?
Yeah, that's the plan. We have a little less than two months left, so I'm just putting my head down trying to get ready for that.
You didn't get to race outdoors on the Pro Circuit bike last year, but had you already done some testing on the bike to get ready for that season before you got hurt?
I did testing last year, and I was feeling super good last year before I got hurt. That was why it was such a bummer. I'm stoked, though, to be on the PC bike for the outdoor season. It's super good and I'm excited to get on some really rough tracks to put it to the test and try to win some races.
The Honda you were on before was fast, but how do the two bikes compare outdoors?
My bikes before were really good, but having the little factory parts like the brakes--and of course the engine and suspension--is unreal. It's pretty much the full package and I'm going to try to do the best that I can with it.
When you line up at Hangtown, where do you want to see yourself finishing?
I guess I'd just like to go in there happy and having fun racing again. It has been over a year since I've raced, so it will be the longest that I haven't raced since I was four. I'm just going to be stoked to race again. Hopefully I'll finish both motos solid, which will be a good start to the season. I want to try to win some races once the season goes back east.
High Point is your hometown track, right?
Yeah, plus we have a couple new ones this year. Muddy Creek is where I grew up racing. I'm excited for the schedule this year. It's a little bit different, we'll get to hit some new tracks, and have some fun.
When there are new tracks like this year, does it ever make you nervous to have to learn a new track?
I guess you don't know how it's going to turn out, but I've been to Muddy Creek before, and as long as Mike Brown doesn't show up and take me out again like in 2006, we'll be alright this year (laughs).