Brad Baker has been a victim of minor and major setbacks throughout the course of his brief, yet prolific AMA Pro Flat Track career. His most recent hiccup came on the night of Aug. 4, 2015 during lap one of the Black Hills Half-Mile main event in Rapid City, S.D., when he was hit by sharp debris slung from another rider’s motorcycle, breaking his leg on impact.
“I didn’t see it coming,” said Baker. “It was such a tight group of riders in the pack I was in and it was impossible to see it coming. Once it hit my leg, I thought it was a rock, but then I realized it was too sharp of an object to be a rock and it must have flown off of another rider’s motorcycle. I experienced an immediate feeling of numbness in my leg once I got hit. Still, though, I remained optimistic and thought the pain might subside if I kept riding, but when I put my foot down in the next turn, I knew for sure that it was serious.”
The 2011 Saddlemen Rookie of the Year Award recipient and 2013 Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines champion was correct, it was serious. He had sustained a broken leg during Round 9 of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track season, making it his fifth broken bone in the last 16 months. Baker broke his arm in April, 2014, an injury that sidelined him for several weeks and kept him from performing up to his standards for the majority of last season. He also crashed in the Superprestigio in Spain last offseason and raced at Daytona less than six weeks after that surgery.
“I’m holding up really well,” said Baker. “The break could have been a lot worse. It’s nothing compared to when I broke my arm and how I started off the season this year in Daytona. That injury was way more severe. My hopeful thoughts are to be back in action by the time Calistoga rolls around on Sept. 26. If not then, then there’s no question that I’ll be back in time for Las Vegas at the end of the season.”
Despite Baker’s recent injury-stricken past, the No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson pilot remains optimistic and plans to use his time wisely during his absence from racing.
“The biggest thing for me is that I just have to make sure I get all the right nutrients, rest and exercising in,” said Baker. “I have so much rehab equipment already and I look forward to putting all of it to good use. The idea behind trying to heal faster is to keep the blood as replenished as possible around the area that needs to heal. I have already started riding the stationary bike to keep my muscles and joints moving. Strenuous physical therapy, ultra sound, stretching and massaging will all be part of my daily routine during the next several weeks and I’m confident that I’ll be back even stronger than before.”
Baker has conquered adversity before, and if history means anything, he’ll conquer it again this time.
Jake Johnson has been the man designated to fill in for Baker on the Factory Harley-Davidson machine on Half-Mile and Mile courses during Baker’s absence. The New Jersey native holds back-to-back Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines championships in 2010 and 2011, and this weekend at the Peoria TT, Johnson will ride the No. 5 Montgomeryville Cycle Center Honda CRF450, courtesy of Jared Mees and his team.