Broc Schmelyun is one tough dude. High Point, 2015. *Warning: Contains graphic language.
When it comes to crashes that catch your attention and leave a lasting impression, Broc Schmelyun and his High Point flying-man get-off are near the top of many people’s lists and is easily one of the biggest crashes in 2015. Unfortunately (and also somewhat fortunately) this is how many came to know Broc’s name this summer, as the video of him launching over 100 feet off the quad at High Point went viral on Instagram and online platforms. Chad Reed’s “Chadapult” had nothing on this one, and after watching the clip you are left wondering if Broc was in one piece or not. He did suffer a few injuries, but the outcome could have been much worse.
Spectacular crashes aside, Broc Schmelyun is a familiar name that can be found on the entry list of many nationals and Supercross races, most recently receiving support from the Blue Buffalo/Slater Skins/Herrera Ranch Yamaha team among others. He is one of many who chase the dream of professional racing and do everything they can to make it in this difficult sport; the backbone of the industry in many ways. Growing up on the east coast myself, I have personally seen Broc lay waste to the local pro classes, and his tall stature is reminiscent of watching a guy like Travis Pastrana ride. Month’s after the crash, Broc is back on the bike and starting to really get back into the training and riding with hopes to come back only when 100% ready, supported by his team in every way they can. We recently crossed paths at Cahuilla Creek and I grabbed a quick interview with him in between motos to see what he’s been up to.
You aren’t a west coast guy, where are you from?
Hometown is Westminster, Maryland. Full-time that’s still where my address is, and I'm out here in California for the winter, but for the most part I'm normally in Pennsylvania.
And you just made the trip out west for the winter?
We actually drove from Pennsylvania to Connecticut, which was 6 hours, to pick up the rig and then back home and then we spent the night there, we did that all in one day, 12 hours and then we spent the night and came out here in 3 days.
Lets briefly talk about your spectacular crash this summer, that was a wild one.
I don't really remember anything from the start of the first moto until like two days later in the hospital. From what I can see in the video which is pretty much what everyone else saw, but it looks like my foot catches a rut at the bottom of the jump and then gets pulled off, and then my face hits the handle bars and I just kind of go into orbit after that I guess. I ended up breaking my femur, I got a concussion, and I tore a little ligament in my ankle, and that was the extent of my injuries so I got really, really lucky. When I was in the hospital, you know you get those feelings like "man, why me?" and then I see the video, and I'm like, okay, I'm actually pretty fortunate and lucky. It's blown up to the point where I'm able to capitalize a little bit of exposure out of it and you got to make the best out of every opportunity, so I feel like we've done the best that we could so far.
Definitely. Were you knocked out from the crash?
I actually wasn't knocked out, I just don't remember anything. From what I'm told, I hit the ground, someone that was watching, said they looked to make sure that they put out the yellow flag and the medic flag, they looked back 15, 20 seconds later and they looked back and I already had my shirt, helmet, everything off, I guess I was like Ricky Bobby just peeling stuff off me. One memory is that I was laying in the hospital and I looked at my hands and my hands were covered in blood and I said "oh my gosh, I messed up my hands!" and the person that was with me said "no you didn't" and I said "yeah, look!" and they said "no you were trying to put your femur back in".
I had surgery on my femur, and I also had surgery on that ligament. So I had two surgeries in like two days, so I'm just coming back from that. Thankfully I don't remember any of it, because if I did it would probably be pretty tough to get out there.
So how long have you been back on a bike riding?
I've been back at it for a pretty long time, I was probably out for about three or four months, but when I came back I really eased back into it, I didn't push it at all, and I would say you know, normally where I ride five or six days a week, I was probably riding two or three days a week, just kind of easing into it and getting used to it and I really had to build up some muscles, and the muscle was really, really, tough to build back. So I spent a lot of time in the gym, and we're still not where I need to be yet, but we're getting a lot closer.
So you were a part of this Blue Buffalo team last year right? What is the official name for the team?
Blue Buffalo/Slater Skins/Herrera Ranch Yamaha.
How did you end up getting hooked up with the team?
I met them during Supercross last year because I was good friends wit one of their mechanics. I raced, I think, three or four rounds with no Supercross time or prep – just showing up on the weekend. I did ok I guess, considering not preparing for it. I missed it by one in New York, and had some falls in St. Louis, it was just a really good learning year.
So Larry Brooks is the new team manager, and obviously he's accomplished a lot in the sport. What are your thoughts on that?
It's awesome, honestly. I'm really excited to be able to work with Larry, his reputation speaks for itself with all his championships and the people he's had the opportunity to work with. I know the whole team is really excited to work with him, and they just signed Michael Leib and Benny Bloss for 250 Supercross, and they are going to be solid. I was out at the track watching them and they are going to be really good this year. I definitely think that this is the year to put the team on the map for sure.
And where do you fit in, what are your goals for your return?
I would like to do Supercross, I feel really comfortable there when I have some time on the tracks, so that's my goal personally. The team has been really cool, they're not pushing me or pressuring me, they're taking care of everything right now and their main thing is that when I come back I'm ready and 100%. I've been on other teams and you don't always get that sentiment and these guys have been top notch from start to finish, it's been really cool. It's been a great experience.
What’s the hardest thing about trying to make it as a professional racer on a budget?
I think schedule and regime are the hardest thing. It's really hard with the traveling that we do; you know, we don't always have flights to races and stuff like that. It's really difficult to stay regimented and stay with the same schedule all the time. It's also tough, because you don't always know what to do. The top pros will usually have a trainer who can tell them what to do, and when to do it, what to eat and when to eat it. We can give it our best shot, and I don't think it's impossible for us to reach that level but it is definitely a little bit tougher. When I'm back east, the tracks aren't as close as here, out West, so sometimes I'll be driving an hour and a half to two hours just to be able to ride that day. That takes a toll, just on time and meal prep and stuff like that.
Who would you like to thank?
I'd like to thank the Blue Buffalo/Slater Skins/Herrera Ranch Yamaha team, they've been helping out tremendously and I couldn't do it without them, so very thankful of them and everyone that is behind this, Kevin McCarthy. Everyone that has helped out here, it's just a blessing and I'm really happy to have all these people behind me.