Update on Marquez’s Dirt Track Rival, American Brad Baker

Steve Johnson, Mat Mladin and Doug Chandler look over the infamous KR500. The bike that tried very hard to maim Eddie Lawson. DFA 1997

Indian dirt track rider and former AMA national dirt track champion Brad Baker underwent surgery in Minneapolis yesterday and the results of that surgery have left his family seemingly cautiously optimistic.

His brother, Scott, posted an update to Baker’s social media profile stating that surgeons repaired Baker’s broken fractured T-6 vertebrae and have told the family that while the cord is damaged, that his spinal column appears intact.

Damaged vertebrae as a result of a motorcycle race crash have become almost common in the last 24 months; with riders such as Cal Crutchlow, Alex Rins, Andrea Iannone, Jake Gagne, Leon Camier and Shane Byrne all suffered the frightening injury.

In 1982, Eddie Lawson crashed a KR500 Kawasaki GP bike at the top of the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca. After hitting the straw bales and the barrier, Lawson lay in the ruins looking at the sky trying to catch his breath. Shortly thereafter realized he could not feel his legs or lower torso. “I thought to myself,” Lawson said in 1994, ‘Well, now you’ve really done it.’

As he was being attended to by cornerworkers the feeling in his legs returned. After the race weekend, Lawson saw a doctor after the waves of pain and experiencing “strange shocks in my feet when I turned my head”. He was diagnosed with cracked vertebrate, fitted with a halo and told to sit out racing for the rest of the season.

Lawson made a strong return to racing later that season and won the 1982 AMA Superbike championship.

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