When Steve Ramon crashed heavily on the first lap of the 2011 Belgian GP at Lommel, it was a sad day for the sport. Ramon was unable to move on the track, the race was red flagged, and things were so serious that at one point Ramon called his family over because he thought he was passing away, highlighting just how serious and scary is was for Ramon at that time.
Thankfully the medical team transported Ramon to the local hospital where it was revealed he had no break in his spine, however, because his nervous system had shut down, Steve had to go through a long painful recovery to learn how to move and walk again. In the early days in hospital Ramon had to lie on his back, he struggled to even have the strength to hold a telephone in his hand and he was in constant pain for a long time.
It was thought Ramon would never ride a bike again and his main goal was just to rehabilitate himself to the point that he could lead a normal life outside motocross.
Then, earlier this year, was the welcome site of an online video where Steve Ramon was back riding his Suzuki at a practice track in Belgium. He was taking it easy, but he was still passing the majority of riders and had the same smooth style that took him to two world titles.
Ramon would, later in the year, make a return to racing in the some Belgian Championship races and the European round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals. He was still fast and capable of mixing it with some of the GP stars. It was quite an incredible recovery.
It was at that Red Bull event that David Thorpe noticed that Ramon still had the magic, and it was there that he decided to contact to the Belgian about racing for the Buildbase Honda squad in the 2013 Maxxis and Red Bull series. Thorpe knew that Steve was not just still a great rider but also the consummate professional. Ramon agreed to the deal, and now British fans have the chance to watch one of the smoothest riders ever and a true world class rider race in our national championships next season.
Ramon was never expected to come back to this level, and he will never ride full time GPs again, but we as British motocross fans are lucky to be able to see this great rider in action again at close quarters. They way he rides a bike is a thing of beauty and not many in history can pick lines like the Belgian. He is perhaps one of the most underrated World Champions in history, but watch carefully and you will see one of the most technically proficient riders in history.
Despite his two world titles, two Des Nation team titles, multiple Belgian titles, and riding with a broken neck in 2010, many feel Ramon didn’t fight hard enough on the track, and wasn’t tough enough. Any lingering doubts about Steve’s toughness should now be forgotten after he fought the biggest battle of his life and overcame it to be able to do what he loved once again. He also did it in the way he did in his motocross career – quietly behind closed doors and without any fuss or media attention.
Steve Ramon is back and he is the comeback story of the year (even if no-one is talking about it). So when the two time world champion rides past you next season with that effortless smooth style, on a line that no-one else can see, give him a cheer and a wave of your program to show your appreciation for what he has overcome to get back out there. The quiet Belgian might not like the attention but, after this comeback, he deserves it!
Article by Jonathan McCready