RANCHO SANTA FE — Young Motocross rider Johnny Jelderda has had a few bad breaks lately, including his pelvis, collarbone and a few ribs. He crashed his bike on Dec. 9 at the Pala Raceway and spent seven days in the hospital. He still can’t walk and needs months of rehabilitation.
Rancho Santa Fe Resident Elle France is trying to rally support for the 19-year-old whose dream is to become a professional Supercross rider and until the accident, was well on his way.
Her son, Dakota, 16 and also a rider, told her how fast Johnny was. “He is a local hero. Everyone knows him as ‘Jumpin’ Johnny,’” Dakota told her.
“My son suggested I become his manager,” she said.
France, who had worked for No Fear for 10 years, agreed because Jelderda needed financial backing to move onto the next phase of his career — Super Motocross.
“He was digging through trash cans for money so he could save for entry fees to a race,” France said.
“The day of the crash, he was traveling 40 miles per hour when his engine stopped in the middle of a jump. He flew over the top of the bike, punctured a lung, broke his collarbone and pelvis and cracked some ribs.
“I haven’t seen the bills on the hospital yet,” said John Jelderda, the young rider’s father. “We don’t have insurance.”
He said his son has already won seven amateur titles in motocross and has been riding since the age of 4.
“We got him a little bike for Christmas,” he said. Once he started riding on a little neighborhood course, there was no looking back.
“That’s how he got is nickname ‘Jumpin’ Johnny,’” said his father.
Before the crash, Jelderda, was at the track three or four days a week, France said.
He worked as a flagger, which is the person who notifies other competitors that a rider is down ahead and to slow down.
“He is really a good kid,” France said. “No drugs. No alcohol. He is just so gifted you are in awe watching him ride and all he can talk about is getting back into training and what he can do to pull himself out of the situation he is in.
“He has months of rehab coming up,” France said. “He can’t walk. He wants to fulfill his dream … There is no ‘American Idol’ for athletes with this kind of perseverance and he can’t seem to get a break. He could be any of our kids.”
France said that Jelderda is a “likeable kid” and pointed out that he is out riding every day. “He wants it so badly, but the consequences did not fall in is favor.”
The crash has been posted on both YouTube and www.nofear.com, she said.
To learn more, visit www.JohnnyJelderda.bbnow.org. Contact France at (760) 707-7751 or [email protected]