MPG / DAILY BREAD / JANUARY 19, 2017
Words / Lake Kilpatrick
Parker Mashburn had a 2016 racing season full of ups and downs. He put in some first place finishes during the Texas Winter Series at the beginning of the year and also took three championships at Oak Hill. But, things took an unfortunate turn when the Texas native broke his leg early in the year at the JS7 Spring Championship in his home state. After recovering just in time to qualify for Loretta’s, he went into the most high profile amatuer event of the season underprepared with little to no race prep. Mashburn wasn’t able to perform to his expectations, but it wasn’t because lack of talent or speed. The TLD KTM rider went onto the Baja Brawl where he rebounded by winning another championship as well as putting himself on the podium multiple times throughout his classes. After he had finally accrued some momentum and began to feel comfortable on the 250, disaster struck during the first moto of Ponca when he was flung from his bike over the finish line jump and suffered a broken femur. It’s been a long, arduous recovery for Mashburn, but he’s been putting in the work and he’s finally back on the bike and riding regularly. We caught up with Parker to talk about one of the gnarliest crashes of 2016, what it’s like training down at Underground, and what he’s got cookin’ for 2017.
What’s it like when you finally start riding after a big crash like that? How long does it take you to sort of get comfortable again?
I mean, of course it’ll take you a couple laps to get back to feelin’ it. But, since I’ve been doing it for a long time, it really wasn’t too bad. I couldn’t take my leg off the peg or none of that which was kind of hard. On the right hand corners, I could not take my leg off; I didn’t have enough muscle. Actually, I wasn’t even released from the doctors, but I was feeling good and I was feeling strong enough to where I could ride. It was kinda weird, you’re usually trying to lift that thing up as high as you can get it. It wasn’t too bad, all the movement is just kind of natural. It’s just kinda tough when you’re at the top of your game and then something happens and you’re starting from the bottom again. We’re out here training at Underground and I’m just trying to do everything I can every single day to get back healthy and get back normal, just to reach that max speed again.
Towards the end of last year, your Dad opened up Underground Training Facility and you’ve been training full time down there since you got back on the bike. Could you talk a little bit about the program down there?
Yeah, he was actually workin’ on getting this place while I was hurt. It was kind of a bummer to have this place goin’ for about a month and a half before I could get out here. It’s good to be out here with everybody. We’ve got Lance Kobusch, Zane Merrett, everybody down here. It’s really good, but like I said it’s good for me, because I’m trying to get back to normal, y’know what I mean, having all these fast guys out here is good.
Along with your Dad, one of the head trainers at Underground is Kyle Regal. What is it like having a former AX Champion out there to learn from?
It’s definitely really cool, because he knows all the ins and outs. But uh...yeah, he helps us out on a daily basis. It’s really, really good. He’ll help us out in the corners and pull us to the side, tell us what we’re doing wrong. It really does help. So, we’re thankful to have him out here. It’s a good place and a good investment for my Dad, so I couldn’t be happier.
I just saw on social media the other day that you guys were doing cardio work at a trampoline park. It seems like there’s a big emphasis on keeping things fun down there, what other ways are you able to do that?
Yeah, for sure. It’s been raining out here quite a bit this week, so we’re not able to ride right now. Yesterday we went to a trampoline park just for a little bit of fun. It’s not the easiest thing, it definitely breaks a sweat, y’know what I mean. It’s kind of a training/fun little thing we did yesterday. It’s not something that everybody does, so it’s pretty cool. Like ten minutes away there’s a place - we actually went this week - and we did go karts, and mini-golf and all that. You wouldn’t find that at MTF or something like that, y’know what I mean.
You had the opportunity at Freestone last year to have Heath Harrison as your mechanic. You’ve known Heath practically since you were on 50s, what’s it like to have a pro calibre rider on the gate with you at a big national like that?
Yeah, it was really cool. My Dad and Heath have known each other for a really long time, he’s actually known me since I was a little boy. So, it was pretty cool to have him as my mechanic, he definitely helped me out. He’s a pro, so he knows the ins and outs as well. He helped me out at the nationals and helped me with my starts and stuff, so that was pretty cool.
You’ve been with Orange Brigade for a couple of years now. At the beginning of 2016, you got to go out to Cali for the camp that they put on for all their riders. What was that experience like?
It’s pretty cool. They get two camps together each year. They’ll fly you out to wherever it is...and um, they get the whole team together; we do riding, we got Nathan Ramsey out there, and he helps us out with the training aspect of it. We do a little photo shoot, it’s a pretty cool deal.
You went out to Breckenridge over the Holidays to do some snowboarding with the family, how does it feel to get away from moto for a while, do something different, and just relax?
It was good, y’know. Obviously, when you do something for a long time it can get a little boring. It was good to go out there to the mountains and get a little family time. I wasn’t one hundred percent with my leg, so it helped my leg out in a way, just to get my muscle built back up. We try to go every Christmas or around that time, just to spend a little family time with everybody; it’s a pretty fun trip.
What’s the story with the whole ‘trash squad’ thing?
Oooooh, my brother is the one who actually started it just messing around one day. He was like “We should get some stickers made and just get a couple people together from Underground, and y’know, make some stupid name up.” Yeah, I mean, it’s nothing special...just something floating around social media.
What’re your plans for the 2017 season, sticking with the B class this year?
Yeah, we’re doing Schoolboy 2 and B class. You know, we’re obviously gonna try and hit all the big nationals, just training as much as we can. The level that we’re at right now, it’s tough, you can’t really have any setbacks. You try and play it smart, take it race by race and see how the year goes.
What’re your goals and expectations for this year?
The B class is gonna be pretty stacked this year. There’s a lot of fast kids, so top three and top fives, just keep it consistent at every national and try to win. Y’know, try to win as much as you can, but to be realistic, you’re not gonna win every single race. But, just try to keep it consistent, obviously I don’t wanna get hurt. Last year was obviously a rough year for me. I’m pretty consistent, I usually don’t get hurt too much, and last year was a little rough. But, we’ll try and rebound this year and stay healthy.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
Troy Lee Designs, KTM Orange Brigade, Sidi Boots, Ethika, 100 Percent, Powerband, Ed Torrance, DT1 Filters, Pro Taper, Dubya Wheels, Nihilo, FMF, Dunlop, Motorex, Skullcandy, DC Shoes, Neversummer Industries, Acerbis, Rockwell Watches, Matrix, Motion Pro, Tamer Holeshot Devices, Ogio