at the Anaheim II
KEVIN WINDHAM SAYS IT'S TIME
TO CALL IT A CAREER.
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY
BY KIT PALMER
omething just didn't seem
right. Was Kevin Windham
before the 2013 AMA Supercross Series was finished? That's
what it seemed like after talking
with the 34-year-old Supercross
veteran after his 10th-place finish
at Anaheim I. Hearing him say
things like, "I don't care about the
result, I just want to go through
and ride laps," and "My mind
isn't in the right place," are typically not the words you hear from
someone lining up with 19 other
guys trying to win a Supercross
Championship. As it turns out,
he was indeed seriously thinking
about ending his 19-year professional racing career a little earlier
than he had planned.
Windham, the long-time wearer of the number-14 plate, was
hoping to perhaps end his career
in the year 2014, but his gnarly
crash at the Houston Supercross
last year got him thinking a little
differently and after another hard
crash in his first race back eight
months after his Houston get-off
at the Monster Energy Cup had
him really thinking hard about
walking away from his racing career while he could do just that
But Windham is not a quitter.
So the 19-time Supercross winner suited up for Anaheim I anyway, but he just didn't have the
same burning desire to let it all
hang out like he used to. Was it
time to say good-bye to racing he
asked himself? To help with that
answer, he reached out to some
of his peers and asked them their
opinion on whether or not he
should pull the plug.
"Thursday at the first Anaheim,
he came up to me, and we had a
heart to heart," said Chad Reed,
who himself is a long-time veteran of the sport. "It was an interesting talk. At that point, I knew
that Kevin was done at the end of
Windham even sought out twotime Supercross champ Ryan Villopoto.
"Kevin asked me about it at
Anaheim I," Villopoto said. "I
asked, 'Why are you still riding?'
Sure, it's fun, but I don't think
anybody walking away from any
sport they love will never feel
right, but do you want to put
yourself at that level all the time
for that many years like he has?
In my eyes, I wouldn't want to do
that either, to put myself at the
risk so often."
Windham got through the next
race in Phoenix, but the thought
of retirement was still gnawing at
him, as it was going into Anaheim
2. But after riding the first practice session, Windham came to
the realization that he should not
be out there anymore and said…
"It was tough to make the decision," he said.
"I know to a lot of people, this
will seem like a quick decision,
'How in the hell can you retire between practice one and [the sec-