By: Cole Calkins

It?s the third round of the GNCC Series and I am coming up on the fourth mile marker. All of the sudden, one simple mistake became what I thought was the end of my promising season. I had crashed and broke my wrist in several places. No one was positive; I truly thought it was over. After a long day in two different hospitals I drove home knowing that I had to find the best doctor there was. At Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, the orthopedic surgeon told me my career was questionable. I was worried! Even though the diagnosis was bad, I had amazing support from my family, friends, and most of all my entire FMF/THROTTLEHEAD.COM/KAWASAKI /MOOSE/KENDA backed team. With the recommendation of my teammates Steve Hatch and Josh McLevy, I took a leap of faith and jumped on a plane to California to see the renowned Dr. Ting. The diagnosis was good and with the help from my close friends and fellow competitors Nate Kanney and Brian Garrahan I got through it with ease and much needed confidence

So the hard part was over and now it?s time for recovery. I couldn?t think of a better way to heal than going to the races and supporting my team and my friends. Also, I knew that I could benefit myself by observing the race from a different prospective. When you?re racing you never get the opportunity to see the second hand view of how a race evolves.

With this is mind; I took a trip with my teammate Josh McLevy to the second round of the OMA Nationals in Decatur, Arkansas. And as it turned out, it could not have been a better race to learn from. The competition was tight with high profile racers such as last year champion Jimmy Jarrett, the well-recognized Shane Watts and strong contenders Brian Garrahan, Nathan Kanney, and Josh McLevy to name a few. I have to say it was more intense than I thought it would be, since the top five positions throughout the race were filled with my close friends.

To make things even more interesting, Bill Gusse, the big dog of the PARTS UMLIMITED- OMA Nationals put up a $1,000 hole shot award. Needless to say everyone wanted to make a little extra cash, but when the flag dropped Jarrett captured the holeshot and took home the loot. Unfortunately, a lap later he was forced to quit because a small fall on the rocky terrain punctured his radiator hose. A lap later, Garrahan came through in the lead with McLevy attached to his back wheel. Kanney and Watts had fallen to a distant third and fourth. Before I knew it McLevy had made the pass and pulled away with a twenty-second lead. Garrahan held a strong second place while Kanney and Watts battled their way toward the front. As the race progressed, Kanney and Watts made their moves on Garrahan and the three of them took the pace to the next level. Kanney now in second with nothing to lose charged his way toward McLevy. With only one lap to go, the crowd was on their feet with much anticipation of what the outcome would be. At that moment I knew this was McLevy?s race to lose! For the rest of them it had come down to this . . . who was going to take the most risks? As the checkered flag flew, McLevy crossed the line first proving his preparation and strategy was the best. A hard driven Watts finished a well earned second while Garrahan took home a respectful third. Kanney came in fourth, a bit disappointed, but knowing he has what it takes to be a competitor. Rounding out the top five was Justin Williamson.

Looking back, I am very appreciative of all that I have learned while being injured. Even though I am limited to what I can do I am more motivated than ever to come back and do well. I have a new understanding of how hard everyone works and how much support I really have. I would like to say thanks again to my family, friends, team, and my girlfriend for being there when I needed them the most. I am looking forward to being back on the track by June! See you at the races!

Cole Calkins


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