A motorcycle rider lost his life for the first time in the history of the Redbud Trail near Buchanan.
It happened during a motocross practice run on Labor Day, September 1st. 29-year old Matt Thompson of Argos lost control of his motorcycle and suffered a broken neck.
Thompson had plenty of experience riding. He was introduced to the sport at the tender age of five.
Thompson was also eager to pass his love for the sport along to his son, four year old Ryley. Dad gave Ryley his first dirt bike—on the boy’s first birthday.
“He (Ryley) understands that daddy's in heaven now, and he thinks he's building a dirt bike track up there,” said Kristy Sears, who is Ryley’s mother. “That’s the easiest way we could do to explain that to him.”
Ryley was with his dad at the track that fateful day, when Matt became the first rider in Redbud history to suffer injuries that proved fatal.
“He just came up a little jump and then he was on a flat surface and lost control of the bike,” said Matt’s mother, Patty Thompson. “Then the accident happened.”
Just like that, a man who fixes airplanes for a living suffered a broken neck.
Just like that, some of Matt’s friends in motocross were inspired to go out and buy neck protection devices made specifically for motocross riders.
“It’s basically a brace that goes around your neck and it moves up and down when you’re riding to help prevent if you were to fall then it would move with you, your head can not move backwards in anyway it can just move sideways,” said Sears.
While Sears believes such a device could have saved Matt’s life, others in the family disagree.
“I’m sure that even if that neck apparatus was available for him, that Matt was such a freedom rider that he probably wouldn’t have worn it anyway,” said Patty Thompson.
Kristy Sears feels riders shouldn’t have a choice in the matter: “I know they require race car drivers to wear them (neck protection devices) I don’t see a big difference,” Sears said. “I think the A.M.A. (American Motocross Association) needs to consider making it mandatory that all riders wear these.”
Matt Thompson was a 1997 graduate of Argos High School. Thompson was splitting his time between Indianapolis—where he was employed as an airline mechanic, and Argos where he returned three days a week to spend time with his son.
A trust fund has been set up for the boy at the 1st Source Bank branch in Argos.