Coming back to the sport after the setbacks Kyle Partridge endured last year is noble. The Las Vegas, Nevada, native was brought on to Hart & Huntington team by helping them secure title sponsor and was steadily improving his finishes at each Supercross round until a freak accident in St. Louis ended his season. As many know, the impact with the tunnel jump ruptured his foot, but also broke vertebra in his neck. Complications followed, as a bout with staph infection and an unsuccessful surgery made what was to be a 2 month recovery into five month ordeal.
Partridge is back for the 2013 Supercross as a full privateer, but rode a one-race deal for his former employer this weekend at A3. We talked with him before the night show on how the factory Suzuki differs from his normal production bike, as well as his road to recovery. The night’s racing would be rough; while running in qualifying postion in the heat, he fell and was sent to the LCQ. Another incident there would force him to DNF, but these results are not an indication of the speed his displayed throughout the day.
How did your one race deal with RCH come about and how is the bike?
I got a phone call on Tuesday morning and was asked to come ride the bike. The guys at Suzuki were excited on the way I am riding and they gave me the opportunity.
Your ride is just for Anaheim Three, because Josh is set to come back at San Diego, correct?
Yeah, I think it is for just Anaheim Three. It is until Josh comes back and is healthy.
How is the RCH bike compared to your normal ride?
From what I was riding, this bike is a complete and total change. I was riding a bike with some production parts, suspension, and a pipe on it. There is really nothing else done to the motor. It took a little time to get used to, but as I rode it more through the week, I got more comfortable. I rode my whole amateur career for Suzuki and my dream was to always ride a factory Suzuki, so I guess you could say this is a dream come true. I have a factory motor, factory suspension, a good group of guys, and Dodge and Sycuan behind us. I hope to get in the main event and eliminate all of the mistakes that I have been making.
Is there a chance they could add a third bike for you, even if it is not a factory bike?
I'm not really too sure. The primary focus now is on two guys, and they need two factory bikes on the track every weekend. It is something that is just for this weekend, but I still jumped on the opportunity, because it is factory bike.
How do you feel your season has gone so far?
I feel really good. As far as my speed and everything goes, everything is fine. My fitness feels solid, but I have just been making mistakes in my heat races that put me in the LCQ. And in those, we had the winner of the first and second rounds in them. I went into them as levelheaded as I could and rode my hardest, but it is tough to have a basically stock bike and few avenues to improve the engine and suspension.
Talk a little bit about your injury at St. Louis and recovering from it. The misconception is still that your foot was the major injury, but a broken neck is what actually kept off the track.
Yeah, initially we thought it was just my foot in the hospital, but I moved funny when I was there. The neck was a pretty big deal and was definitely scary. I have a family and a son, so it put things like if I wanted to race in perspective. I made sure to see four or five doctors to make sure that I was okay, but there was a lot of stuff that happened that people are not aware of. I was in the hospital in St. Louis for three weeks, and when I got out, I got a staph infection in my foot. So, I had to go back to the hospital for another week. Then they did the first surgery on my neck and it did not heal correctly, so they had to do another surgery through the front. It was a lot longer than we initially thought it would be, because I was told it would be only eight weeks off of the bike. It turned into four or five months, primarily because of the staph infection. When they fused the vertebra, it didn't sit level in the front. They had to go through the front, and so far it is good. I got a few crashes out of the way .
How did you build your energy levels and stamina back after getting staph?
Luckily we caught it early. I came home from the hospital and after two days, my chick could smell a pretty bad odor from my foot. We went directly to the hospital and I was there for five days, getting pumped full of fluids and medications to get rid of it. After three weeks, it was gone. When I started riding, my energy levels were pretty low. I went to Germany for a Supercross two days after I was released to ride, but after two laps I was dead. I hadn't ridden in six months. I did a lot of work with Tyler Kalisiak at Rockwell Training Facility and it helped get my fitness back to where it was, if not better than what it was before I was hurt. I am fortunate to have people behind me that put in work to help me going racing this year.