World SBK: Davies Storms to Front in Comeback Victory

World SBK Ducati rider Chaz Davies has stolen victory for himself at Laguna Seca – only weeks after the crash which saw Jonathan Rea run over his spine.

World SBK Ducati rider Chaz Davies gave the collective of the World SuperBike Series a scare when he went down in front of Jonathan Rea at Misano three weeks prior. Davies crashed out of a turn at the most inopportune moment – which sent the closely-following Jonathan Rea right into him, running over his spine with his bike’s front tire.

Although Davies got up and walked away from the incident, he complained of back pain and was administered to the local medical facilities. Upon inspection, it was determined that Davies had sustained thorax trauma as well as a thumb fracture. All which makes his return to form all the more impressive.

Davies stole the pole at the Californian circuit, where he took his fourth win for the 2017 season. Davies managed to clear the finish line 1.2 seconds ahead of Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea, and was candid about his desire to bounce back without redoing the mistakes of the past:

“It was important to bounce back with a win, although my priority today was just to finish the race and maybe get a podium. Once I hit the front I didn’t want to overstep the mark with the front end.” – Chaz Davies

Davies’ comeback victory may not be the greatest of all time, but the Briton’s persistence in the face of what could have been a truly gruesome crash is highly admirable. With it, he now sits third in the 2017 WSB Rider’s Championship, 52 points off of second place’s Tom Sykes (262 points) and championship leader Jonathan Rea’s 316 points.

Davies’ defense of Rea was a stark echo to what unfolded at Misano, with the Kawasaki rider hungrily stalking the Ducati through the circuits twists and turns. Luckily for Davies, history was not set to repeat itself, and his breakaway from Rea earned him and Ducati yet another victory.

Crashes in motorcycle racing always manage to feel both captivatingly macabre and thrillingly inspiring when riders can stand up and walk away after being tossed around the track lag ragdolls at ludicrous speeds. Davies’ most recent kerfuffle should be viewed as a testament to what the increased safety standards of the rider’s suits have become. While it is always preferable that a rider should not crash, there is no denying that should have that incident occurred a decade or two prior, Davies would be watching his comrades zip around the track from a wheelchair.