Rick Ware Racing rider rises for heroic WSX Australian Grand Prix win.
In an emotion-charged return for Joey Savatgy to Marvel Stadium – the venue where he was injured and told that he would never ride again three years ago – he put past demons aside with a heroic WSX Australian Grand Prix victory on Saturday.
The Rick Ware Racing rider was able to overcome past demons in Melbourne by winning the final round of the 2022 World Supercross Championship (WSX) in supreme fashion, setting things straight and elevating himself to P2 in the standings.
While practicing at the now-defunct AUS-X Open event in 2019, Savatgy clicked a false-neutral on the face of a triple-on-off section, the crash forcing him to the sidelines for an extended period with a broken heel and navicular bone in his ankle. He was told by hospital staff that he would never ride again.
The second round of the 2022 WSX marked the first time the number 17 returned to the venue since the incident, however, from the outside he quickly put past trauma to rest and showed convincing pace across the entire event, ultimately taking the overall win with 2-1-1 scores.
“If I’m being honest, there were way too many people telling me ‘hey, last time you were here wasn’t too good’… ‘yeah, tell me about it, I remember!'” Savatgy said. “To be honest, it was a little emotional for me, it was just one of those things that when this first came about, this whole WSX thing and the opportunity, my first question was where are the rounds.
“They told me it was here and, to be honest, my initial answer was ‘I’m out’. I had to think about it for a while and it is one of those things where… do you run from it or do you stare it in the eyes and show it who is boss? What made it a little bit easier for me as it went on is that the crash wasn’t my fault. We had a bike issue and went into false neutral, so it was one of those things, sure I got hurt here and it happened to me, but it wasn’t a wrongdoing from me.
“Yes, a lot of people asked me, just fans and people in general, ‘hey, remember last time you were here, let’s make it past practice’, so it was like ‘yeah, thanks for reminding me’. I was fighting demons, if I am being honest, as much as I was telling myself or other people, it did bother me.
“It was a lot, so to just make it through the whole thing obviously is the goal, but to come out of here and do well like we did, and be able to battle… crossing the finish-line I would be lying if I didn’t have a sense of relief to come back here in the same area, same stadium that didn’t end well last time and at the hospital last time I was here they told me I’d never ride again and that my foot was pretty much toast.”
The result in Australia elevated Savatgy to P2 in the final WSX standings, spelling a strong end to an up-and-down 2022 campaign that saw him injured early in 450SX before his team at the time – Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM – crumbled. He then joined Monster Energy Kawasaki as a fill-in for Adam Cianciarulo in 450MX, scoring a podium in race one at RedBud.