ADVERSITY & ADDICTION
Photos by Aaron Brimhall | Wordy by Tony Blazier
The road to motocross stardom is a perilous one.
It’s a journey that requires its participants to take chances that literally risk their lives every time they go out on the track. Unlike the stick-and-ball sports, there is no college scholarship to shoot for and no hope of a degree to fall back on. In motocross, it’s all or nothing, and when you choose that path, there is seldom any plan B.
Unfortunately, even for those select few who “make it,” there are still pitfalls to be avoided. Injuries, family squabbles, poor business decisions, and just plain youth can all turn a kid who looks like a surefire can’t-miss into a “What was his name again?” trivia question. At an age when most kids are hoping to make varsity on their high school football team, our athletes are being thrown to the wolves in front of 60,000 spectators. By the time a typical football or basketball star is graduating college and hoping to be drafted, 98 percent of our young athletes have already flamed out and are wondering how they’re going to make it in the world with no education, few prospects, and no skills besides twisting their right wrist. In motocross, the most difficult question is often not “How do I go faster?” but “What’s next?”
For former mini prodigy and Grand Prix motocross star Mike Healey, that “What’s next?” journey has been a complex and troubled one. Once one of the most promising young talents in motocross, Healey’s career saw him rise to the pinnacle of the sport, only to fall victim to drug addiction and despair. Bad decisions, run-ins with the law, and eventual incarceration turned out to be the footnotes to one of the most interesting motocross careers of the early ’90s. Now, over a decade after the racing part of his journey has ended, Healey is piecing his life back together and writing an Act II...