News 15 Sep 2021

Gritty Hampshire details outdoor health struggle

Covid-like symptoms hindered 250MX championship bid.

Image: Octopi Media.

RJ Hampshire detailed his ongoing health struggle following the final round of the season, reflecting that the end of the season has ‘been brutal, I’m used to suffering but man it’s been tough.’

After coming down with an illness at Unadilla during round eight of the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship, Hampshire gutted out the final three rounds of the season.

Following his podium performance at Hangtown, he reflected on what he’s gone through since he began dealing with respiratory issues at the New York round.

“It’s been brutal, it honestly kind of started at Unadilla,” Hampshire explained. “If you remember I kind of faded both motos and that’s out of the ordinary for me. I just really was kind of searching, I didn’t really know what was going on.

“The Tuesday after Unadilla was the last practice day I’ve had that I did legit motos, and I felt like I was dying after that. So it’s been a long three weeks of just kind of trying to recover.

“It seems like Friday is my lowest heart rate day, and I feel the best I do, then Saturday race day comes and I’m right back in the same situation.

“If I would have timed the sickness a little bit better to have it during the break, that would have been easier on me, but it’s just kind of been a hurt locker the last three weeks. It’s been brutal, I’m used to suffering but man it’s been tough.”

When asked what it is he’d been up against as he tried to secure a spot in the top three of the overall standings of the championship, Hampshire was honest, addressing that it was COVID-like symptoms that were ailing him.

“I’ll just be honest, I thought for sure I had covid. I went and got tested three times and they all came back negative. It was rough for I’d say two weeks, where I had no energy, I would just literally come home and pass out.

“I was on all the meds to try to kill it or cure it or whatever to do, but I was still testing negative so that’s why I was still racing. I didn’t really know what was going on and it just attacked my lungs pretty bad.

“I couldn’t breathe, I’m struggling to get deep breaths. I would go out for practice and I’d do two laps and I’m smoked, that’s it. So it was literally just adrenaline for the motos, that’s how I was able to even finish one moto, it just kind of kept me going.

“At Pala I puked in my helmet with like four laps to go and that one was gnarly. I’ve had a lot of suffers but man that one was brutal. Then today I puked last lap, but it’s all from lack of oxygen getting in.

“I just don’t feel like I can breathe fully and man it’s been tough. I felt like I should have been back to normal after the first week, but having to race on the weekends you just keep drilling yourself.”

Hampshire is set to return to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team to again contest for 250SX and 250MX championships in 2022.