AMA and World Supercross title contender Chad Reed wasn't sure he could even ride in Saturday's AMA season opener at Anaheim – but the brave Aussie defied the pain to take arguable the most important podium finish of his career.
Uncertainty faced the former AMA champion after a horrific New Years Day practice fall left him with a fractured shoulder blade and chipped collarbone.
Reed, who had finished first and third in the opening two rounds of the world championship prior to Anaheim, acknowledged the accident was one of the biggest of his career and consulted with some of the best doctors in the USA before making the decision to compete with such injuries in the hope of achieving his goal of winning a second AMA Supercross title.
"It was certainly not the ideal way to start the New Year," admitted the Yamaha star. "We have been on the knife edge all week with the lingering uncertainty of whether I would be able to ride or not. But tonight with the help of my doctors, my management and the best team in the supercross paddock, L & M Racing, we have made the absolute best of what was a very bad situation."
Opting not to use his automatic spot on the gate Reed rode his heat race and was forced to fight back following an opening lap crash. After digging deep and continuing on, Reed finished in eighth place, enough to guarantee him a spot in the main event.
An adrenaline charged Reed then pulled the start of his life in the main event, claiming the holeshot and leading the opening laps of the race until the pain of his substantial injuries crept back forcing him to lose valuable time in the whoops section of the circuit.
That allowed rivals James Stewart and Ricky Carmichael to move ahead, but Reed's never say die attitude saw him ride a gutsy race and hold on to finish third, the result keeping his all consuming ambitioning of a second AMA title well and truly alive.
"That was probably the biggest start of my life," Reed said. "I was dealt a really bad hand but I knew it was what I had to play. I just really want to win the 2007 Supercross title and this is what I had to do."
With reigning AMA champion Carmichael only riding a partial season, Reed is set to battle reigning world champion Stewart for the 2007 titles. While Stewart won at Anaheim, Reed's third place means he is just five points behind the Kawasaki star in the AMA standings and within two points of Stewart in the world championship.
Reed will continue recuperating from his injuries and prepare for the next round of the 2007 Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday 13th January.