KTM rider back on the sidelines after just one appearance.
KTM Motocross Racing Team’s Ford Dale has been forced out of the remaining rounds of the Monster Energy MX Nationals, sustaining fractures to his back in a training incident while preparing for Conondale this weekend.
Dale has confirmed that a practice crash fractured his T4, T5, T6 and T7 vertebra, which will rule him out of the Conondale, Raymond Terrace, Gladstone and Coolum nationals.
Subsequent scans have revealed the injury to include fractures of the four thoracic vertebra which doctors have deemed to be unstable, necessitating another three months off the bike.
“I just had a crash at Coolum at the start of last week and I just had a bit of back pain throughout the week,” he explained. “The doc put me straight in for an MRI and I have fractures in my T4, 5, 6 and 7.
“I can’t do anything about it, I’d love to race but if I fell off there’s a chance that I could do some real damage. I’m gutted obviously but I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet. Probably will when I’m there this weekend watching everybody else race.”
Previously, Dale had to sit out the first half of the season with a broken arm suffered in the pre-season, only returning to action at Swan Hill’s sixth round.
Team manager Rob Twyerould said it was another disappointing blow for the KTM team after the pairing with Dale showed so much promise in the New Zealand nationals during the pre-season.
“Ford’s fractured his T4,5,6 and 7 and they’re unstable, so the doctors have told him he must wait three months for the fractures to heal naturally,” Twyerould said. “He was saying he had a sore back, but I said to the boys here, knowing Ford, it’s probably a hell of a lot sorer than a normal person’s sore back. And sure enough… It’s very disappointing for him and for us.
It’s been a disastrous two years for 2012 MX2 title winner Dale, missing much of last year with ongoing knee injuries before his difficulties on debut with KTM in 2014.