The journey from Xtreme Games to a 15-year sidecar career
THE sound of a chain snapping as Jeff Godfrey's BMX bike went up the ramp during practice at the 2000 Xtreme Games restuled in a fractured C5 vertebrae and real concerns he would never walk again.
A young freestyle BMX rider at the time, Godfrey, who will compete in the Queensland Sidecar Titles at Maryborough Speedway on Saturday, competed at two Xtreme Games, and claims to have landed the first-ever front flip at a BMX competition in Brisbane.
And while he experienced success on two wheels, the horror spinal injury brought an end to his BMX career.
"I got out of it lightly,” Godfrey said of the injury.
Two years later, a chance demonstration opened Godfrey's eyes to the world of solos and sidecars. The first season was difficult.
"I was starting to think 'why am I doing this?' It was a struggle for a while but now I don't have any of those dramas,” Godfrey said.
"It happened for the first year, and there were a few crashes there, but now I'm in control much more.”
Godfrey has experienced the highs and lows of competition in the 15 years since. His relationship with Maryborough Speedway has been mixed.
He loves the location, and the fans - Godfrey said the support was akin to his days competing at the Xtreme Games in San Francisco 17 years ago - but he has had a few crashes at the track.
"This is my third race back after a crash at Maryborough last year,” Godfrey said. "We were coming around a bend and the guy in front of me ran out of fuel.
"I hit that guy and I catapulted into the fence.”
He smashed his shoulder.
Godfrey returned to racing, and the Heritage City track, in the few months after the incident.
Any hopes of a smooth preparation for the state titles were dashed when, during practice, the sidecar blew up.
"We haven't had a lot of luck,” he said.
"We blew it up at the track at practice last week.
"It finally fired up about 10pm (on Wednesday). The run on Saturday will be the first time we can run it.
"It'll be okay.”
Godfrey will ride with Clayton Cahill, an accomplished rider in his own right, in the sidecar.
"He was at the track and I was looking for a passenger,” Godfrey said.
"We came in after that first ride and I asked him if he wanted the full-time gig.”
The team, who have only combined for three races to date, will be one of 15 pairs forced to qualify for a place in the title hunt.
With six seeded teams, it leaves open 10 spots.
Godfrey said he hoped he and Cahill could qualify for and win the B Final, then earn their their way into the A Main race.
Gates will open at 1pm with racing from 4.30pm. Family passes are $75, adults are $25, pensioners and students are $20, children under 12 are free.