Scott Watkins is on the mend after an accident at the Michigan OMA. He’s looking forward to jumping back into the racing scene soon, this time in the AWRCS series.
Hey Scott! We wanted to catch up with you and see how you’ve been since your accident a few months ago. How have you been?
I’m good! I’ve started working full time again and once I get home I get to do some bike stuff. When I got hurt at the OMA in Michigan, I was lying on the ground and I was really nervous about how serious the injury was going to be but I was lucky. I burst a disk in my back and at that time, I thought it was a lot worse than that. I just had to drop everything. I had to take time off work and off from riding and racing. I’ve slowly started to ride more.
Just to remind everyone- how did your accident happen?
We were at a race in Michigan that was sandy and they hadn’t had rain in forever so it was really dusty. If you’ve ever done any riding in Michigan- they are famous for sawed off stumps. You see them all the time. I was just going to do a road crossing and there was a stump with a bush covering it. I could see where someone else had gone before and cleared it. But when I went over, the rear wheel caught the stump, dropped the front end, and the bike went out from under me. The eight inch stump ripped out of the ground, and I went about 30 feet across this road and landed on my back. I was able to ride out on the back of the quad with Bill Gussey. I hopped in the truck and rode eight miles home on my belly.
What was recovery like for you?
At first even running was hard. I couldn’t even run down the driveway. Not sitting still was the biggest thing. The more you can do every day is the best. I tried to do everything that would push the limits so I would be more prepared when I had to do something strenuous. Lifting and doing weights really made a difference and sped up the process. For three weeks I was homebound. The first week I was on the couch, I couldn’t do anything. The second week I shuffled around. The third week I could drive around and do things, and then I went back to work on light duty. I’m glad it’s over with and now it’s a healing process where it doesn’t hurt every day.
Yow. Do you have any idea if you’ll be able to return to racing this season?
Right now I’m definitely out of the points. Jimmy has been telling me the AWRCS are a lot of fun and JT is involved in them. Now that summer is winding down, I’m looking to pick up a few of those and not chase points. I’ll go on a free weekend and do AWRCS. The promoter is a woods guy and lays out a good course and track. That’s my game plan now.
What about the OMAs?
Jimmy and I are talking about going to the Moose Run. We wouldn’t be be doing it for any year end points. It’s such a cool event and there’s not many like that left. It’s just a lot of fun. We’ll go a little early –it’s a really good atmosphere and a lot of fun.
You’ve always favored the OMA events. It has to be hard to not be able to race them.
Yeah it has. Especially when I know what events are coming up. I knew Millville would be a really fun race but I knew I would have gone up there and wouldn’t be 100 percent. I didn’t want to go up there and look foolish to drive 13 hours and make one lap. It’s going to be tough missing them. I really like the promoter and they put a lot of effort into it.
Have you raced the AWRCS series before?
I used to do them for years. The series has changed hands a few times through the years. We’ve done the opening round in Southern Ohio several times. I’m just looking forward to it. I kind of miss the GNCCs. Some of the venues…. I’m not sure how much I’ve missed them. But I do miss the people.
Have you had to do some work on the bike during your time off?
You know, we were on the Kawis forever, and going to Hondas everything was different. It seems like we ironed everything out that first year. I didn’t think there was much testing this year- we can pretty much go out and ride. This year was a lot less worrying about what works and what doesn’t.
Are you and Jimmy able to get to spend much time riding now that you’re not racing the OMAs together?
We both live in the same town and run into each other as much as we can. He’s flying around doing different events. Jimmy and JT have really put a lot of effort in this team. I can’t thank them enough for how much they’ve done. Jimmy grew up with this career, and with all the experience he has, he’s all about helping the riders and making the team better. It’s a good place to be. Sometimes you don’t consider how lucky you are.
How are wedding plans going?
Right now we’re doing a lot of things on the weekends. Tasha was working full time and now she’s going to school full time to be an RN. At first it was a little wedding talk during the week, and then every weekend it’s something. You don’t realize how much some flowers and cake cost! I just tell her whatever she thinks would be nice works for me.
Have you had time to squeeze in some riding?
I have. There’s a farm just down the road that a lot of people from the area can practice on. It’s a pretty good loop that’s rough. There’s a ton of trail riding around and we’ll go for long trail rides. It’s a little bit of work and then some trail riding and having fun.
I know you said you aren’t looking to go after points- but how do you feel competition-wise?
I’m a little cautious. It would be almost better to go out and hit it really hard and test everything out. But I am a little worried. But with racing more and more that will go away.
What’s something you want to accomplish by the end of the season?
I think winning the Moose Run would be really cool. Nobody would understand that unless they went to the Moose Run. That would be really cool to go out there and win that. I’ve chased the OMAs for a long time and would finish second a lot behind Whibley and Jimmy but to win would be pretty cool.
Alright, Scott, Thanks for talking to us. Is there anything you’d like to add?
I just want to say thank you to Gretchen and JT! They’re great to me and I appreciate their help.