Kade Tinkler-Walker suffered critical injuries including a traumatic brain injury after crashing while competing in last Thursday’s Baja 1000, resulting in hospitalisation at Scripps Health in San Diego where he remains unconscious. His team SLR Honda has opened a fundraiser on the Road2Recovery Foundation’s website.
Walker was competing for the #7X Pro Moto Unlimited team led by Mark Samuels, who had won the last three Baja 1000s in the bike category. He fell off his Honda at Race Mile 823. The ensuing effort to get him to safety was set back by Mexican federal law that prohibited helicopters from flying at night while his accident occurred one of the more desolate locations on the course, which Samuels called a “worst case scenario” as the process ended up taking nine hours to complete.
The #7X team, who was five miles away, was informed by a chase truck from Trophy Truck team McMillin Racing that Walker had not gone through their pit area while other bikes already had. They arrived at the sceene thirty minutes later. Despite being told by SCORE International about medical helicopters being en route, the aforementioned law grounded them and forced the crew to take action, driving him to the nearest access road. Walker was finally in an ambulance at 1 AM on Friday before McMillin sent a team plane to fly him from San Felipe back to America.
The lengthy extraction drew widespread condemnation from fans and industry figures about the race’s safety measures, with Samuels saying it was “pretty disappointing that there was not much help from SCORE. There’s not much help outside of anything except for us.”
Walker did not suffer broken bones while his other vitals were steady, but remained in critical condition due to the head injury. The latest update from Samuels on Wednesday explained his traumatic brain injury will keep him unconscious for roughly thirty to sixty days depending on its severity. Doctors have also placed him under medical sedation to reduce strain on his body while in his state before gradually gauging if he could breathe without needing a ventilator.
“I know a ton of you guys have been reaching out and wondering and praying for them and everything, and it’s been pretty overwhelming and awesome to see how many people care and how many people he’s touched across the world,” stated Samuels. “We’ve been getting hit up from people all around the world where he’s raced and he’s made quite an impact and we really appreciate all of you guys.
Austin Eddy‘s #9X team donated all USD$3,000 of their prize money for finishing third in Pro Moto Unlimited to Walker’s fund. As of this article’s publication, the fundraiser has generated $15,547.
Donations to his Road2Recovery can be made here.