David Bailey (motocross)
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David Bailey (born 1961, San Diego, California) is a broadcaster, motocross school instructor and former professional motocross racer. He is the adopted son of Gary "Professor" Bailey, also a former professional motocrosser.
Bailey began riding bicycles at the age of 3, and received his first bike, a 60cc Yamaha at age 10. He started racing that same year. In 1978 he won the 250cc Amateur National Championship on an antiquated Bultaco motorcycle. He turned professional the next year, but had a tough rookie season. For 1980 joined Kawasaki's Team Green, and was one of the first members of that program. He began showing major potential and earned national #45. 1981 was his last year on Kawasaki, and Bailey moved further and further up the rankings.
He was asked to ride for Team Honda in 1982, managed by multi-time World Champion Roger DeCoster. That season, Bailey was a member of the Motocross des Nations team, and helped the team to its second consecutive victory. David joined the team as an alternate for 1982 National Supercross and Motocross champion Donnie Hansen.
In 1983 he won the 250cc Supercross and National Championships, and was awarded the Wrangler Grand National title. He also won the United States motorcycle Grand Prix (USGP) at Unadilla and repeated as Motocross Des Nations champion. The next season he added the 500cc National title, won the King of Bercy title and led the USA to victory in the Motocross Des Nations for the third straight year. Bailey would win many more major races in the next few seasons, most notably two more MXdN titles, and coming out on top of a duel with teammate and fellow champion Rick Johnson at the 1986 Anaheim Supercross. Bailey rode his Honda CR500 to the win at the Motocross Des Nations that fall. The performance by the US team is regarded as one of the most dominant in history.
Prior to the start of the 1987 Supercross season, Bailey was injured in a practice crash in Lake Huron, California. There was significant spinal cord damage, and Bailey became a paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. Bailey withdrew from the industry and sport he had loved.
In 1997 Bailey started training for the Hawaii Ironman triathlon. In his first two attempts, he finished 3rd, then 2nd, and finally in 2000 he became Ironman World Champion in his division, 13 years after his accident.
Bailey continues his role as a TV broadcaster to this day. He is also active in many non-profit organizations dedicated to helping others with spinal cord injuries and contributing to finding a cure.
On February 14, 2006, Bailey rode again. Riding a new Honda CRF450R, outfitted with nerf bars, hand brakes, and a seat to hold him in place, Bailey completed several laps of the track in Lake Elsinore, CA. On his very first attempt to ride in 19 years, as a paraplegic, Bailey circulated the track with his son Sean. Bailey himself said, "If I could stick my leg out, I think I could go as fast as I used to!"[this quote needs a citation] He has expressed a desire to do more of this in the future.
David became a world-class competitor in chair marathons, and has completed the Hawaii Ironman triathlon several times.