Cameron McAdoo finished third in the second round of a three-race residency at Atlanta Motor Speedway and stood on the podium for the sixth time in seven 250 West races, but the mere mention of his finishing result buries the lead of his wicked crash.
Still, it provides some symmetry because in the opening laps of Round 14, McAdoo buried his face in a tunnel jump.
A written description will not do justice to his accident, but the stage must be set.
Running fifth at the time, McAdoo got off rhythm in a series of jumps leading to the tunnel turn, and slammed head-on into the ramp. His foot caught on the peg and fender of his Kawasaki. The momentum of the bike carried him onto the tabletop and flipped him forward like a rag doll. The hard impact stunned the rider, but also gave him a charley horse that momentarily rendered his legs useless.
McAdoo lay on the edge of the ramp as medical staff rushed to his side and the entire field rolled past – covering him in rooster tails of dust. His title hopes were seemingly over.
Still wobbly, McAdoo needed help down the ramp. That necessitated a red flag.
But once he got to the bottom of the ramp and saw that his mangled bike was still operational, he was heard over an open mic on Peacock TV pleading his case to be allowed to remount the No. 31.
“I hit my leg really bad and I couldn’t move it,” McAdoo said during the post race press conference. “I was struggling to get my leg back moving and I was doing my best to get up. I was wanting to go back to my bike.
“I had the medics tell me: ‘no, you probably shouldn’t.’ They helped me down the jump. I got back to my bike when they red flagged (the race) and rode back.”
Now that he could stand again and his bike was functional, McAdoo underwent evaluation for a head injury. He passed.
And since the race was red flagged with less that three laps complete, a full restart was required. Mechanics used duct tape and zip ties to piece the mangled bike together.
When the gate dropped for the restart, McAdoo was back on board. He led briefly on Lap 1 and settled into a top three position, where he remained until the checkers waved.
With handlebars that were rolled back and bent, McAdoo did not know the extent of the damage until he rounded the first turn. It took a little bit longer for him to assess the damage to his body.
“About five minutes in when the adrenalin wore off, I realized just how beat up I was,” McAdoo said. “I’m pretty sore now.”
NBC Sports analyst Ricky Carmichael summed up his effort best in a tweet: “Cameron McAdoo is as tough as $2 steak,” he wrote.
Cameron McAdoo is as tough as $2 steak. I can’t believe what I just saw. #beast
— Ricky Carmichael (@RickyCarmichael) April 14, 2021
Fellow Kawasaki rider Adam Cianciarulo knows a little something about toughness as well. After several falls to start the Supercross season, he was eventually sidelined by a crash in Round 8 at Orlando.
“Put some respect on his name!” Cianciarulo tweeted after the race.
McAdoo and Cianciarulo are training partners.
For years, the general narrative on Cameron is that he’s a little sketchy. I see it differently and now everyone can. It’s just heart. It’s the willingness to do anything in order to do your job to the best of your ability. Legend.
— Adam Cianciarulo (@AdamCianciarulo) April 14, 2021
“I know I can ride with what I’ve got (for injuries),” McAdoo said. “I’ve got a pretty beat up leg and my groin’s not good.
“We’ve got three or four days to do as much therapy as possible to get back going.”
“Supercross is one of the gnarliest sports on the planet,” McAdoo wrote on Instagram. “Yesterday night I pushed myself to a new limit trying to achieve a goal.
“I’m excited to have another shot this Saturday.”
Carmichael offered an extended analysis of McAdoo’s crash during Wednesday night’s episode of NASCAR America, which you can watch by clicking here or on the video at the top of the story (Carmichael appears around the 12:30-minute mark).