"My Body was Shutting Down..." | Jerry Robin on an Infection in His Elbow 3

Jerry Robin talks to Vital MX about everything he went through in 2023 and about earning $26K in SuperMotocross.

Every year during the Monster Energy Supercross and Pro Motocross Championship seasons riders deal with bumps and bruises, triumphs and tribulations, and more as they travel the country racing. Jerry Robin is no stranger to this story and his year was full of ups and downs. He visited with us to discuss all these situations and how the payday from SMX will help him going forward.

For the full interview, check out the Vital MX podcast right here. If you're interested in the condensed written version, scroll down just a bit further.

Jamie Guida - Vital MX: What's going on, Jerry?

Jerry Robin: Not much, man. Just hanging out and enjoying some time off.

Vital MX: You were saying off the air that it feels a little strange.

Jerry: Yeah, it's nice, for sure. It's just weird. We're wide open from the first week of January until the middle of September. It's just weird not to be booking a flight and going to a different city. I had to force myself not to ride and recover and rest. We're wide open for nine or ten months, so it's odd, but it's nice to get some time off.

Vital MX: Did this season feel any different than normal? There weren't that many more events.

Jerry: Every rider would agree that it feels way longer, even though it's one or two more races. There's no break. We used to get five or six weeks off after the last outdoors round before Monster Cup. Now you get a weekend off after outdoors, and then it's three races in a row. Then (RJ) Hampshire, (Christian) Craig, and (Aaron) Plessinger get a weekend off, and they're off to France. I can only imagine what it's like for them. Then they get back from France, and it's pretty much the middle of October, and you have to start off-season prep. Those guys don't get a break, especially being with Aldon (Baker). I would imagine that there's probably no break there.

Octopi Media

Vital MX: I love racing, and I wish we had a race this weekend to watch, but for the athletes, it's a lot. For the families of the athletes, it's a lot.

Jerry: Yeah, it is, man. I don't have kids yet or anything like that, so I can only imagine what it's like for those guys. It's busy, man. I know it's cool to be a pro athlete, but there are a lot of moving parts to make it work, you know? 

Vital MX: In 2023, you were 21st in SuperMotocross, 18th overall in 450 motocross and 24th in 250 West Supercross. Was your season a success? People may not be aware of many of the things that happened this season.

Jerry: It was a lot of weird stuff. I had that infection where I almost lost my arm, and that hurt me with 450 outdoor points because I missed rounds. It was three because, at Ironman, I was pretty much useless. Dude, I was so messed up still from that infection. I should not have raced, but I did it because I didn't know they were taking alternates for the LCQ at the time. If I had known that, I wouldn't have gone and just saved money. I just started feeling pretty good on the bike and fitness-wise right before LA. It took a lot longer than I expected to feel good after something like that. 

Vital MX: Let's get into that. Some things that happened the last year or so include you having screws backing out from a previous wrist surgery and a shoulder issue. Then you had an elbow problem. Walk us through those things.

Jerry: The year started pretty decent. I made the main, but at A2, the screws in my hand backed out. I couldn't open my hands. So, once my hand was on the bars, my tendon got caught under my plate, and I couldn't open my hand up unless I massaged it back into place. Then I could open my hand up. So, once my hand was on the bars, I was stuck there. I did the three main events that night and got 15th or something like that. I got 12th in one of the mains. After that, I got surgery and missed Oakland and one other race. Later, I switched to Yamaha for outdoors because I felt I needed a change since I've been on the same setup for about four years.

Octopi Media

Vital MX: You were with AJE GasGas in Supercross.

Jerry: Yeah, I rode the Austrian bike a lot. I felt I needed something different, and I started the year with an eighth in moto one at Fox Raceway and then got eighth overall at round two at Hangtown. It started great. I also tried to do the two-stroke thing at Washougal, and I still haven't heard what happened to that thing. I think the reeds were cracked because any time I'd have a hard transition, it would be fine in the air, but it would bog hard in the whoops before the finish line. Eventually, the bike bogged on the face of the jump, and I went over the bars pretty badly. In that crash, I cut my elbow. It was more like a scrape. So, I fly home Sunday, wake up Monday morning, and my elbow is in gnarly pain and huge. I was like, "Dude, what is going on?" So, I iced it, got the swelling down, and it felt better. Then, I was driving with my wife, and it felt like my elbow exploded and got humongous. I couldn't even touch it. It was so hot, you know? It was a gnarly pain. I went to the hospital, they drained it, and I underwent surgery to save my arm because it was going septic.

Vital MX: That's insane that you didn't even think it was a big deal. 

Jerry: Originally, I thought I'd give it a day. I started getting, not like, delusional, but I was just sweating and getting kind of dizzy. My body was shutting down, and I got freaked out. I hate going to the doctor. Most moto guys probably do, but I'm glad I did because if I had waited, I probably would have died. It's kind of a freak deal because it started as a staph infection and turned into MRSA. It's a flesh-eating bacterial infection. So, that was pretty crappy to deal with. I was in the hospital for five days, which was a whole thing.

Vital MX: After Supercross with AJE, were you even planning on racing outdoors? The SuperMotocross thing was a little bit of an incentive I'd imagine. As I recall, Estenson Racing stepped up and helped it all come together.

Jerry: My wife's friends with Tim Esteson's daughter, her name's Sammy. We stayed at their house several times for Phoenix Supercross. So, I knew Tim, and we were just talking on the phone, and he said, "Hey, the pay is pretty good for the 450 class. Have you thought about racing outdoors on a 450?" I said, "I don't know. I haven't ridden one in a while." He said, "Well, I have a spare bike if you just want to ride that." I asked, "Are you sure?" It took some planning because I only rode the bike twice before we went to Pala. One of the days was on Michael Lindsay's Vital bike. So, I rode my bike once before Pala and then got eighth on it. That was pretty cool. Everything was last minute. It was not stressful, but I hoped I made the right decision here. 

Octopi Media

Vital MX: As a privateer at your level, you must figure out all the logistics, parts, lodging, and all the other costs. Esteson got you a bike, but you must figure everything out. That is probably a tough decision.

Jerry: It was tough, but honestly, it went so smoothly, and a lot of it was because of Michael Lindsay. He made so many trips for me to Enzo suspension; without him, it would have been much more difficult. Especially in the early stages because he made at least 10 or 12 trips for me in the first two weeks. He was getting parts and stuff like that. It was probably a little stressful for him, but it all worked out and turned out to be a good year. I'm bummed that I missed the rounds I did with my elbow because I missed out on some good points. All in all, it was a good year.

Vital MX: I believe you had six top 20s. The way the program came together is fairly successful in my eyes.

Jerry: It turned out pretty good. I struggled a little bit when we went east because I didn't know this bike very well. Everything we did was in California, so the bike worked great here. When we got on soft, rutted, sandy dirt, this thing was kind of a handful because the suspension was very soft for East coast dirt. Moving forward to next year outdoors, we know exactly when to change suspension settings. That's going to be nice. So, I'm looking forward to that.

Vital MX: There were a few other incidents while racing. At High Point, you had a mechanical and a crash. At Thunder Valley, you got tied up in a couple of crashes and came from 39th to 17th in one of the motos. It was not an easy outdoor series, but in the end, as you said, it worked out.

Jerry: Yeah, it started great. I got top tens in three of the first four motos, so I was stoked about that. I got tangled up at Thunder Valley in three or four crashes and still scored points. At High Point, we washed the bike after the qualifier because it's pretty muddy, and the kill switch shorted out. Some water got in there, so we started covering the kill switch anytime we washed it to prevent something like that from happening again. At Red Bud, I started struggling with suspension. That was rough.

Octopi Media

Vital MX: I remember hearing you were in the Asterisks medical unit at Millville.

Jerry: At Millville, I was in about 10th, and me, (Grant) Harlan, and (Ty) Masterpool were going for eighth place. It was like two to go, and we were pushing pretty well and catching the guy ahead of us in our group. We're hauling ass, you know, and we're tired, and I just hit this hole right after the little double before the rollers start. We land in ruts, and it's a big hole across the whole face of the jump. I hit it freaking 15 times before that, and I was fine, and I just hit it this one time and kicked my back end out of the rut, and it shot me to the right. They built up this two-foot-tall ledge of dirt to mark the edge of the track instead of just track markers. My front fork lug caught that and yanked the bars to the right. I ended up on my back and knocked the wind out of myself. I kind of had whiplash in my neck. Then, in moto two, I got a good start and made a few quick passes in the first two laps. After that, I just rode my pace. I was in a lot of pain but suffered through and still got 13th.

Vital MX: Did you like the format of the three races for SuperMotocross?

Jerry: Honestly, dude, I love the hybrid tracks. Monster Cup was my all-time favorite race I've ever done. It was in 2019, and I wish it was still around because I love that race, but dude, I love hybrid tracks. It's just a good mix. I've never seen split lanes work evenly. The Dirt Wurx guys and everybody involved did a really good job in my opinion.

Vital MX: You won $26K in SuperMotocross. How much does a payday like that help you? Will it go towards 2024?

Jerry: It's mainly with the off-season because there's such a long period where we don't make money until the first week of January. Now, that part is pretty much stress-free, which is nice. I'm not maxing out a credit card or something by spending $100 or 125 bucks a day riding supercross out here in California. It's getting ridiculous. Thankfully, Yamaha is letting me ride the test track, and I think they're building a new track in November. So, they're helping me out a lot. That alone will save me a couple of grand for the off-season. 

Octopi Media

Vital MX: Let's talk about 2024. You're excited about Yamaha, so are we already announcing that we're going to be on Yamaha next year?

Jerry: I'll definitely be on Yamaha and building my program as of now. I mean, unless something comes up, but as of now, I'm staying on Yamaha. This bike has been good on supercross the few days I've ridden it during the week. I've been very impressed at how easy it's been to be comfortable in supercross on this thing. It's a good change, and I like the 450 a lot. It suits my style because I'm smooth and pretty mellow on the bike. I'm not on the rev limiter 24/7 or anything like that. I think it will be a very good year for me with being able to test with Enzo. I've never tested before, and I'm looking forward to it.

Vital MX: Well, as of this recording, you have 100 days before the gate drop at A1. Plenty of time, haha.

Jerry: Thankfully, besides my elbow, it was a relatively healthy year besides having to get my plates out. I had a couple of crashes here and there, but we all did. I never had a crash where I sprained a wrist or broke something. So, I'm coming into the 2024 season healthy, at least for the offseason. I'm looking forward to that. I didn't have a crash in the playoffs or anything. I just got through them and was proud of myself for executing like that. The first one was a little sketchy because I got hung up on the concrete wall at the start, and I thought, "Oh God, here we go." (Jace) Kessler hit (Phil) Nicoletti, and he slid out. Then I hit Kessler and got hung up on the concrete wall. I rode my ass off and was proud of myself to get to third from that far back because the races are only freaking five minutes. They go by instantly. Moving forward, I'm just excited to finally test suspension with Enzo and change things. I'll be able to ride with (Eli) Tomac, (Cooper) Webb, and Star Yamaha when they come to California in December. That will benefit me a lot to be around guys whose only way of thinking is to win, you know?



View replies to: "My Body was Shutting Down..." | Jerry Robin on an Infection in His Elbow


The Latest