AUBURN, Calif. (May 18) - The comeback trail was long and rough for Motorcycle-Superstore.com Bell Helmet rider Josh Larsen. But going to victory lane Friday night at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway made 20-plus months of rehab all worthwhile.
Larsen suffered Achilles and heel injuries in a crash at Fast Fridays two seasons ago. But he made a triumphant return Friday night with a victory in the scratch Main Event.
"It was awesome," Larsen said. "The last time I was at that track was when I got injured, and I was out almost two years. Coming back to that track and having a good night like I did was a little bit of redemption. I was over the moon, to say the least."
Two years ago, Larsen suffered a severed Achilles tendon and a shattered heel in the wreck and needed nine surgeries before he was able to ride again. Friday's race was one of his first since his return to action earlier this year.
"It was a long process of healing," Larsen said. "The season started a few weeks ago, and the first couple of races were just getting my feet wet again and getting my confidence back on the bike. Last night, everything clicked, and it felt really good to have everything work. It was really nice."
Larsen, of La Verne, Calif., raced twice at the 1/8th-mile Fast Fridays track, with the Handicap Main Event serving as the first race. He won his semifinal race and then finished second in the six-lap Main, which features a staggered start with more experienced riders starting behind less experienced ones.
On the Scratch side of the program, Larsen won his heat race and then finished second in the semi to take the No. 2 gate from the inside. In the four-lap Main, Larsen got a decent start and was second around the first turn. But that didn't last long.
"Charlie Venegas made a little bit better start and he kind of pushed me out wide into the dirt," Larsen said. "I just left it out there and actually got around him. Then I came back down to the inside and slammed the door on him."
Larsen then led the remainder of the race to score the victory. He faced a tough field at Fast Fridays, as several top riders from southern California were in town for a race that was postponed Thursday.
"It was kind of a stacked field," Larsen said. "We had all the best riders from northern California and all the best riders from southern California. It was really nice to go up there and do well, especially coming off an injury. It's nice to get back into the top rankings so fast.
"Thanks to the promoters and the fans at Fast Fridays. They're always great to us, with accommodations and everything. They're really good to us. Of course, a big thanks to Motorcycle Superstore and Bell Helmets as well."
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