On Tuesday, Austin Forkner posted an update on his Instagram page and announced that he will not complete the 2019 Supercross season.
“Basically I just sent it as hard as I could until my knee couldn’t take it,” Forkner said on his Instagram page. “Whenever I jumped and landed into the face of that wall, my knee just buckled. At that point, there’s no kind of knee brace, there’s nothing that’s going to save it because that’s what your ACL is supposed to do and that’s gone.
“Obviously I’m out for Vegas. Obviously I’ll be out for the rest of the year.”
His is the story of the championship that almost was.
Through the first six rounds, none of the 250 East class was able to beat him in the Main. The only race he did not win was the 250 Showdown at Atlanta and in that event, he was the top East rider.
Then came Nashville. In timed practice, he planted his leg badly and tore his ACL after posting the third fastest lap behind his principal rival in the series Chase Sexton and teammate Martin Davalos. In too much pain, he failed to start his heat or the Main.
Entering that weekend, Forkner had a full-race advantage over the field. But when Sexton finished second in Nashville, he closed to within three points.
With the series heading to the West for the next race plus the Easter break, Forkner had three weeks to recover. For a brief moment, it appeared he would return with a vengeance. Forkner finished fourth in his heat.
“Pretty much what you saw in the heat races was as fast as I could go, the best I could ride, with my knee in control,” Forkner said.
He knew that would not be enough to protect his points lead, so he went harder in the Main. Forkner gouged his way past Sexton in the opening lap to claim second. A hard landing one lap later as he battled his teammate Davalos for the lead reinjured the ACL.
“I feel like personally, the way that I did it by going out there and sending it and doing my best – giving it all that I had – was a much better way than going out there and riding in 10th or 12th and just watching myself lose a championship.
“I gave it all I had. My knee couldn’t take it. At the end of the day, my confidence going into next season is good. Just knowing that even with a hurt knee for the first four laps of that race I was beating all of the guys I was racing for the championship. I know that. They know it, so they’re going to remember that next season.”
In addition to the torn ACL, Forkner announced he also has a torn meniscus and MCL as well as chipped cartilage from his femur and a “massive” bone bruise.