Recently we hopped on a call with EVS athlete Grant Harlan while he was on his way to Kentucky to pick up a practice bike from his race team sponsor to see what he's been up to lately and how his recovery is going after a crash at the Daytona Supercross earlier this year left him with a broken wrist, broken elbow, broken ribs, a contusion on the lungs, and a brain bleed.
Fortunately for the Team TiLube/Storm Lake Honda Racing rider, he's already back on the bike and working his way back towards the form that earned him 11th in the final 2021 Eastern Region 250 SX standings—despite missing the last two rounds. Harlan is thankful to be back on the bike and racing so soon, and in his mind, the Daytona crash could have been much worse. Despite waking up in the hospital with little memory of the crash and with a laundry list of injuries, he was quick to recover and able to get back on the bike in early May after only two months.
"I didn't really have any headaches or lasting symptoms from hitting my head," explains Harlan. "The whole real devastating injury part didn't really affect me too bad because it wasn't like, 'hey, you can't ride for like six months to a year because of how you hit your head.' Then after two months, I saw a neurosurgeon, and he said my brain looks as good as it did before I hit my head, which made me feel a lot better. In terms of lasting effects, I feel like I ended up in a pretty good place."
As if getting back on the bike wasn't enough, by June, Harlan felt well enough that he chose to line up at the High Point round of the Pro Motocross Series. He considered making his comeback at the Thunder Valley round in Colorado earlier in the month. Instead, he gave himself the extra two weeks between Thunder Valley and High Point to add to his preparation. Apparently, the extra time paid off with Harlan carding 19-17 moto scores for 20th overall in the 250 MX class.
It was an impressive start to his comeback when one considers he went from a major crash with injuries to qualifying and lining up with 40 of the fastest 250 riders in the world after only three months. Harlan lined up again at Red Bud and, more recently, Millville, but unfortunately experienced bad luck at both rounds because of a broken engine case cover at Red Bud and a punctured radiator at Millville that took him out of action at both rounds.
Despite his bad luck, Harlan is grateful to be back racing with the support of his team. "Considering the team is really Supercross-only, they've gone above and beyond to get me out here for a couple of outdoors," said Harlan. "We had a select few nationals that are fairly close. I think six, and we're looking to make things even better for next year."
If Grant Harlan's 2021 Supercross season results are any indication of his future, don't be surprised to see the Hawaiian-born rider fighting for top-five or even podium finishes in 2022. He has the heart and determination to persevere no matter the hardships thrown his way. "You can't really think about it [injuries] too much because stuff like that can really weigh you down. I think I came out of it really lucky, and it wasn't too bad. I think I'm pretty close to where I was, pre-injury."
All Photos Browndog Wilson