Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing's Jeremy Medaglia has nowhere to go but up in the 2016 CMRC Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals.
Racing in the fifth round at Gopher Dunes Sunday, Medaglia went down early in the first moto as 50 bikes squeezed through the first corner.
"I crashed in a first-corner pileup and ended up getting back to seventh," said Medaglia, one of two riders on the Courtland-based Honda Canada GDR Fox pro team. "There was like five guys down and I was trying to find a way through. One guy picked up his bike and clipped on my handlebars."
In the second moto Medaglia was quickest off the starting gate, winning the Royal Distributing 'holeshot' prize - first around the 180-degree first corner. He was still riding Top 3 after 4-plus laps when he decided to exit the race. He had enough points after the two motos to take 16th overall.
"I had a concussion a few weeks ago and I got cleared to race this weekend," said Medaglia, "but the doctor told me to play it by ear. So that first moto, having to pass a lot of people, took a lot out of me. In the second moto I got the holeshot. Then a couple of guys got by me so I tried to up the pace and as soon as I upped the pace, that extra intensity...
"I wasn't hitting my marks. At that point it's too dangerous when you're racing at that level."
His season started in Kamloops with fourth overall (8th-4th), but he was sidelined by concussion in the first lap at the Wastelands in Nanaimo on June 12. Not only did he miss Rounds 3 (Calgary) and 4 (Regina), his training was disrupted.
"A little bit more than people think, especially with a concussion. There's a lot that goes into it. With a concussion you can't really train, you can't ride. Say if you have an upper or lower body injury, you can still do some sort of training. If you hurt your arm, you can still cycle. Me, I was in my house with the lights off for the first week, then progressed from there. So it was three weeks of doing nothing.
"Coming back to a track like this, it wasn't ideal," he admitted. "Coming into a track that rough, with that much heat, I knew it would be a tough one."
Overall it was a rollercoaster weekend at Gopher Dunes, south of Courtland, with a reputation as one of the toughest motocross tracks in the country.
"Normally, when I win a holeshot, I feel like everything is set up for a moto win. To pull out four laps later, it's disappointing for everyone - my mechanic, my team, myself - but at the end of the day everyone understands that it's not worth it."
With five rounds left in the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals, which continue next week in Ulverton, Quebec, Medaglia is ranked 21st overall.
"I think getting one moto fully in this weekend was a good start."
His goal in Round 6 is to put in two solid races.
"Every time we're out there obviously we want to do our best, whether it's winning, or podium, or whatever it may be. I'm not going to do anything crazy until I feel 100 per cent, but definitely work towards trying to get at least a win or two before the season comes to an end."