Moto Media

Catching up ... with Devon Rogers

Devon’s back on the bike using an electric gear shifter.  Slow at the beginning but when I watched him at Mercer practice last Saturday I was astounded at his pace and corner speed.  Mercer is now technical with multi jumps and drop-offs and always demanding because of the shifting sands.  Before the accident, Dev was always very fast off the line and up the front but prone to fade, hence his nickname One Lap.

       The electric shifter on the KTM          Replacement van with a bigger frontal area           The 'one lap' theme continues

AH: Let's get the accident part over first?

DR: I worked in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and on the 10th of December 2010, I’d just came back on flight from the Antarctic.  I went to sleep driving home in my motocross van.  I actually left the road and hit a parked truck off to the side of the motorway. Luckily the workers there gave me first aid to stop bleeding until the Paramedic got there. If they hadn’t used two tourniquets I would have bled out through both legs.

Besides losing your left leg I recall you had some nasty internal injuries as well.

My list of injuries was quite long and the leg wasn’t really the one that kept me in hospital the longest. Starting at the top, my jaw was broken into 3 pieces and I have 2 small plates in there now. Fractured scapula and a vertebra which healed on their own. My right elbow was shattered and required a plate which I have just had out, much to my relief! Internally my urethra (the canal that carries urine from the bladder) was torn so I had a suprapubic catheter (an external bladder) for a couple of months until they could stitch that back together. My pelvis was also broken into a couple pieces and I had an external fixator (like scaffolding) across my midriff for a couple months, which held that all together. My left leg was obviously amputated above the knee and my right leg is missing a bunch of muscle and skin but nothing was broken in there, luckily, although it is causing a few issues now with the running blade and the extra work it is having to do. My pelvis was the big issue, this is what broke the urethra but I also had an infection which has messed with my body temp and I don’t handle the heat very well now and also had a couple of doses of pneumonia while in hospital. All the injuries are pretty good now and when the leg is fitting properly it doesn’t stop me from doing much!

You then had a lengthy period of recovery?

Yes, I was in hospital for six weeks and then a live-in rehab unit for 3 weeks.  That was supposed to be three months but they let me out because I was a nuisance speeding through the hall ways and doing wheelies in my wheel chair. Then I was in the chair for a few months around home and at work. I was actually back to work after three and a half months which was good for the mind. Then it was onto crutches for a while after the external fixator was out, then learning on the legs for a few months until I could walk with crutches, then with a walking stick, then un-aided. Ever since then it has been a matter of building endurance and learning how to get the best out of my prosthesis.

Has the RNZAF been good about everything?


Yeah, real good. I’ve had soo much time off for Physio and the Limb Centre appointments and surgery. I needed to access to my superannuation funds so I resigned from the RNZAF and took on a civilian position there in the Boeing Technical Support.


You were actually ‘lucky’ to be alive.  Okay, let’s talk Motocross. How long had you been riding before your accident?

Started riding when I was 5 on a Yamaha quad but that didn’t last too long as I needed two wheels. So I stepped up onto a DS80. Most of my riding when I was younger was trail riding with dad until I started to get the jumping/racing bug. Then mum and dad got me a KX80 and we used to travel over the hill to Wairarapa most weekends to race. I never did much as a Junior but went to quite a few training camps, so learnt some good skills while I was young. When I got to the age I had to pay for things myself, I stopped. Had a big break until my mid 20's where I got back into it when I moved to Auckland and found some buddies and a great club up here (Pukekohe MCC) to ride with.

In your words, what level of rider were you?

I raced the South Island Champs when I was a Junior but probably didn’t do any good and have never raced Senior Nationals. Just a local racer, although now I want to try and qualify for some Nationals!

Tell us about the desire to get back on the bike - most people would give up? What drove you?

Moto has always been a passion and even when I was in a chair or on crutches I still wanted to get back really bad. I didn’t see how the leg could stop me and after a bit of hunting around the internet, I made contact with ‘Monster Mike Schultz’ in the States. I found out about his Moto Knee, he had designed with help from Fox and knew there would be no stopping me. I don’t really see it as a disadvantage at the moment. I had reservations to begin with but through some trial and error, we have the bike set up pretty good and the leg is working okay but still a lot of work to do to get to where I want to be. Having all my friends and support from everyone has helped and everyone has done everything to help get me back on the bike and being treated as if nothing has changed is key. I did have thoughts that I may not enjoy riding any more, like if I was super slow it would drive me nuts but I have come back a decent speed so I am definitely happy and going to pursue it, to see what I can do. It helps motivate me when I get to do battle with the boys even though they can drop the hammer and hang it out a bit more but I will get there. Hardest part has been adapting my style to the left hand corners when the tracks don’t allow you to push really hard.

                              Candid moment with Dev.                        Early days and Wayne Gillard adjusting the sag - all good humour!

On the gas at Mercer - thanks Phil Smith for the image.

Where to from here - competitive or pleasure?

There are some options to race in the States and the ultimate goal is the X Games Adaptive Class. The knee I bought was designed by the current Gold Medalist and I told him from day one that I was coming to race him. I will have to make a trip over there to get noticed and invited but that shouldn’t be a problem, although I am under no disillusions as to the speed of some of the other amputees!!! They flat-out haul! I have a couple other things going on to get me fit at the moment because the para scene in NZ is pretty quiet and they are always keen to get new people.  So I have a program for training with some selection camps in the not too distant future. It has been a big effort to regain fitness, especially when sockets don’t fit my leg properly however with a super supportive group of mates and girlfriend I think we are on the right track.

You have had a lot of support?

I have an awesome support crew from my family to my amazing girlfriend Kat, all my buddies like Tim Gould and Aaron Cooksley so I guess also just a big thanks to everyone that came and visited me when I was in hospital and supported me while I was getting back on my feet/foot. 

The Pukekohe Motorcycle Club definitely went out of their way to help out with my autographed shirt and the PS3 to keep me entertained. These little things can make a massive difference when you are in a bad way. Everyone at the track asks how I am and are looking out for me which helps keep a big smile on my face!

                                                                                                                                                        Devon, K Dub and Tim