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Way Too Trey: Is Trey Canard Trying Too Hard?

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Last week, word started getting around the racing community that Team Honda Muscle Milk star, Trey Canard, had been injured... again. This setback comes in the form of a broken collarbone, which, in motocross, is pretty small potatoes, and barely even tiny potato spuds when compared to Canard's other injuries this year.

Back in April, the Oklahoma native broke his right femur while prepping for the oncoming AMA Pro Motocross Nationals. Then, after healing up and getting his race face back on, Trey re-broke the very same femur at the Washougal National. It was ugly, and fans and friends alike felt bad for the guy who had just earned a third place overall in his first race back only one week earlier.

When videos and photos began emerging recently of Canard back on his game, you couldn't help but be excited at the prospect of watching him go toe-to-toe against the rest of the big five (James Stewart, Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto, and Ryan Dungey). During the 2011 Supercross season, Canard emerged as the most exciting new rider to enter the premier Supercross Class in a few years. But when rumors spread of Trey's misfortune, the possibility that the Okie would once again be on the sidelines seemed like cruel punishment.

All riders go through injuries, but since Canard turned pro back in 2007 he has endured far too many of them. Is the guy made of glass, or does he just make a lot of mistakes? Well, from what I have seen, neither is accurate. It seems that Trey, like the Grinch after he realized that he actually cared about the Whos down in Whoville, simply has too much heart. In motocross racing, this often translates into trying too damn hard and injuries.

Back in the Groove
I was there the day that Trey got his groove back after a few injury riddled seasons, and no, it didn't happen in the Caribbean with his BFF's. It was on the Fourth of July in 2010 at the Red Bud National. The outdoor series had reached the halfway point, and Christophe Pourcel was in relatively firm control of the 250 Class points chase. But that day something clicked for Canard, and the Honda rider was able to take the second moto win for his first ever overall victory. From then on, Canard went on a roll with Jeff Emig's coined "flick" of confidence, winning four of the remaining six Nationals and eventually claimed the championship at the very last round.

Going into his first full season as a 450cc rider for 2011, Trey's confidence must have been at an all-time high. Although it took a few rounds to find his pace, he was soon battling for the lead in the Supercross Class, and eventually captured three wins against the best riders in the world. But it was the way in which he did it that was most impressive.

Canard rides a 450cc machine as though it is a lighter 250cc, throwing it around at will, and scrubbing so low and effectively, that even his competitors are impressed. For being a shorter rider, Trey has incredible bike control. Unfortunately, this has also been part of his undoing.

Excess Effort
Details are sparse on Canard's first broken femur this year, but the second one was caught on tape. Trey was running near the front in the second moto at Washougal and did not want to let Dungey or Villopoto get an inch on him, but it all went wrong when he scrubbed the jump at the bottom of Horsepower Hill.

You can get as technical as you like, but at the very base, Trey simply over-scrubbed, keeping the bike's trajectory so low that the front wheel did not entirely clear the lip of the jump. In other words, he was trying way too hard. That scrub, if it hadn't ended in disaster, would have kept Trey half of a foot lower in the air, and put his rear tire back on the ground two feet sooner, all adding up to .2 seconds saved on that lap at best. Instead, it cost him three months of healing time.

Again, the details of Canard's most recent skeletal failure are lacking, but seeing how much heart and determination the guy rides with, one cannot help thinking excessive effort may be to blame. Just before his collarbone fracture, Canard had been practicing at Milestone MX Park's Supercross facility when he supposedly over-scrubbed one of the triple jumps and endoed his bike after take off. That is a Fly Racing pants-soiling thought right there. He was fortunate enough to walk away from that one, but obviously his good fortune didn't last long.

Even some of his competitors agree that while Canard's abilities are impressive, the risk involved with some of his maneuvers are not always necessary or worth the reward. Trey is one of the nicest, most humble yet outgoing riders in the pits, so everyone -- including his closest rivals -- wish only the best for Mr. Canard. James Stewart even tweeted, "bummed to hear about trey today. Get well soon buddy," after hearing of the busted collarbone. While nobody wants him to abandon his modern flare for a stiff 1980s riding style, calming down his Treyness can only benefit the guy with the big number 41 on his jersey.

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