MX2 Red Plate Holder and Husqvarna Factory Support racer Nathan Crawford has been hospitalised after he suffered internal injuries in a practice crash earlier this week.
The exciting Queensland teenager, who won last weekend’s round of the championship at Echo Valley, won’t be able to compete at the final round of the series in Coolum after he took a handlebar to the abdomen in the crash and sustained lacerations to his spleen and kidney.
“I copped a handlebar in the stomach,” said Crawford, “I felt pretty winded but started to get all the oxygen back and noticed a little bit of pain down near the left side of my tummy, right down near the bottom. When I got home I ended up peeing a lot of blood.
“At the hospital I got all my scans done and basically they’ve told me I’m not well enough to ride, and I definitely feel that physically I’m not strong enough at the moment in the tummy area to ride somewhere like Coolum. I don’t even think I could go for a jog right now so racing’s out of the question this weekend.”
It’s a heartbreaking blow for the Husqvarna FC250 rider, who after just last weekend regaining the championship lead, and holding an 11-point lead going into his favourite track of the season, would likely have assumed strong favouritism to take the title.
Crawford however, remains philosophical about the situation.
“It’s tough. I put in everything this year, and obviously I do 100% every year but this year was just going really well. I showed lots of promise all year and put myself into a really good position going into Coolum. But as tough as it is not to be able to race and to give up the championship, obviously my health is a lot more important than that trophy.
“The CT scan showed that I lacerated my spleen and my kidney. Obviously it’s pretty severe; the laceration to my spleen is dangerous, but the one to my kidney is the one they are most cautious about. They don’t want me doing any more damage there.”
Crawford as been advised that the recovery period before he can participate in ‘contact sports’ could be around six weeks, which may rule him out of the first round of the Australian Supercross Championship.
“My main concern now is getting healthy and getting back there for supercross. I’ve been told it’s six weeks before I can do any contact sports, so I might be missing the first round, but I’ll be definitely there for the second and the rest of the season.”
Husqvarna Australia has thrown its support behind the injured Crawford, “This is a devastating blow for Nathan,” said Husqvarna Australia General Manager Jeff Leisk, “after he had positioned himself perfectly to win his first senior Australian Championship. We are all right behind him and wish him a speedy recovery.”
“We wish Nathan all the best,” said Marketing Manager Brendan Drage. “His dedication to be the best this year has been a pleasure to see. And he’s such a fighter that I’m sure this won’t hold him back for long.”
Asked if he had a tip for the title which would be decided in his absence, Crawford chose KTM’s Caleb Ward; “Caleb, all day,” He said. “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think anyone’s going to beat him around there this weekend. I would have liked to, but seeing as I’m not going to be there, hopefully he goes 1-1. And if I get out of hospital in time I’m going straight up there to watch.”