My name is Kenny Noyes and I was a professional motorcycle racer. On the 5th of July, 2015, when I was Spanish Superbike champion, I crashed during the morning warm-up of race day at Motorland (Alcañiz, Spain). I don’t remember anything but from what I have been told it was a brutal accident with the bad luck that my bike hit the protection and came back toward me. My 1000cc Kawasaki hit me at the estimated combined speed of about 80 mph.
I owe my life to the rapid and efficient medical team at the track. I was taken in a helicopter ambulance to the intensive care unit of the Hospital Clínico Universitario Lozano Blesa in Zaragoza. I was in a deep coma (Glascow level 3, the most severe on the scale). They assure me I was between life and death, but 17 days after my fall, according to the medical report, I opened my eyes. After 4 weeks in intensive care, still only minimally conscious, I was transported by ambulance to the Guttmann Institute in Badalona (Barcelona).
My first memories after the crash are from the Guttmann and are confusing. I didn’t know who or where I was, but I did know that I was a motorcycle racer and that I had had some kind of accident. Instinctively I looked at my feet and moved them, so I knew I wasn’t paralyzed…. and I thought, “Then, why do they have me confined here?” I tried to escape but without success because I couldn’t even begin to get up. According to the doctors, I suffered injuries that were considered permanent, but for almost 2 years I have continued to improve so that I will once again walk and talk well.
I am better and full of hope, but at the same time I am aware of the economic situation of my family. We had no idea how long this road would be and we still don´t. I train at home but I know that in order to continue recuperating I have to continue to work with the professionals who are guiding me through my rehabilitation. Unfortunately, the insurance of the racing federation only pays part of the costs of the first 18 months (a year and a half). The costs paid until now have exhausted the resources of my family and now we lack the means to continue the rehabilitation program.
It is frustrating because I am steadily improving and making good progress,working with specialists in physical, cognitive and speech recuperation.
If you can help me with my program, please donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/KennyNoyes
Also, here I will put updates about my progress so that you can see it.
One year ago, while practicing for the fourth round of the FIM CEV Repsol European Superbike Championship at Motorland Aragon in Spain, American Kenny Noyes crashed and suffered a severe head injury. Following a long, difficult, and ongoing recovery, Noyes is now able to joke with family, friends, and participants at his Noyes Camp Racing School.
Kenny Noyes is sitting on a quad, smiling and chatting with his father, Dennis, during a Noyes Camp Racing School at Motorland Aragon two days before the first anniversary of a life-threatening crash at this same circuit. By the way Kenny and Dennis are joking and laughing, you might think years had passed instead of just one.
On July 5, 2015, Noyes, the reigning FIM CEV Repsol European Superbike champion, had already endured two difficult days of practice. The Palmeto Kawasaki team had worked all night and the problems appeared to be resolved when Noyes went out for Sunday morning warm-up. On his first flying lap, he set the fastest sector times. Then, he crashed. The bike bounced off a wall and directly impacted Noyes’ helmet.
At the end of a very hard year, Noyes is now walking, driving a car and, of course, riding motorcycles. His family knows that without the fast and efficient work of the Motorland Aragon medical team, Noyes would not have survived. Thanks to them and all who came after, his goals today are ambitious and even visible on the horizon.
The Crash And First Days And Weeks
Noyes arrived by emergency medical helicopter at the University Hospital Clinic in Zaragoza, 80 miles north of the circuit, in a stage Glasgow-3 coma, the most critical level on the established Coma Scale: no reaction to any stimulus.
For the most critical first 24 hours, Noyes was on life support for breathing, hydration, and nutrition. His skull was drilled for a pressure relief tube, and he was kept under induced coma. A valve measured intracranial pressure. If that pressure had risen, doctors were standing by to initiate brain surgery.
Initially, the medical team prepared the Noyes family for the worst. Good news came the following morning when Dr. Pilar Luque confirmed that the cerebral hemorrhage had not grown and was capsulating. Intracranial pressure was stable and her cautious words were, “The situation is better than we expected.”
Luque explained that with this type of injury and recuperation there are no reliable predictions of outcomes or recovery time. Nearly a month after the accident, the situation remained worryingly stable and the family was warned that Noyes might remain in a vegetative state.
The Family’s Role: Good Cop, Bad Cop
Now, with Noyes making steady improvement, the family firmly believes that nearly constant accompaniment and stimulation—allowing for periods of rest, of course—are vital to the recovery of a person in a situation like that experienced by Kenny.
“You just have to remain positive and reject all negativity,” father Dennis said. When he told Kenny a familiar story about Kenny Roberts and Randy Mamola, for example, Kenny made eye contact. Dennis read aloud for hours and retold stories from Kenny’s childhood as did Heidi, who also sang songs.
Wife Iana and younger brother Denny provided more aggressive stimuli. They pinched Kenny, pulled his hair, and Iana even bit him. They exhorted him to wake up, to open his eyes, to fight back. “Heidi and I were the good cops,” Dennis said. “Iana and Denny the bad ones.”
Dennis, a journalist and writer, kept a daily log of events and the teams shared their experiences in diary form to keep the doctor informed and establish that Kenny was able to follow instructions, proof that he was moving from deep coma into a state called “minimal consciousness,” which is recognized by specialists when a person is able to follow simple commands like “squeeze my hand,” or “open the throttle with your throttle hand.”
The work went on for days: Old friends from Miraflores sent recordings of recapitulations of adventures in the Guadarrama Mountains, a childhood playground for Kenny and his friends. Iana annoyed him by ticking his face with her hair, something that he had always hated. When he got mad, that was big progress.
One day, Dennis handed Kenny, who had been a pitcher, a baseball and asked him to throw a curve. Kenny’s hand “remembered” the grip. “The feeling of a familiar object, like a baseball, seemed to stimulate memories,” Dennis observed.
During this first stage of recuperation, Iana said, “The nurses play a key role along with the family because they are the ones who are with the patient the most.”
After that the family—wife Iana, younger brother Denny, and parents Heidi and Dennis—decided on a “super-intensive” program of sensory stimulation. Exceptions were made to hospital rules, and the family was given permission for virtually unlimited visits of two persons at a time. The “team” organized into shifts, and after a single weekend of intense stimulation, Noyes voluntarily opened his eyes for the first time.
After several days on this “intensive stimulation,” Dr. Luque decided the time had come to move Kenny into the Guttmann Institute in Barcelona, 200 miles east, where emphasis gradually shifted from stabilization to recovery and rehabilitation.
Denny advises others who might find themselves in the same situation that to ensure recovery goes well they must also take care of themselves. “If you want to help,” he said, “you have to get enough rest and stay active.
“Ask the nurses what you can do to help but also ask other families in the ward who are going through the same process with a loved one. And when you have time read up on the type of injury, how it is treated, and what to expect, but don’t accept limits.”
The next phases of recuperation took place in the Guttmann Institute and StepByStep Foundation in Barcelona, both specialized centers in medullary (spinal) and brain injuries. The Guttmann Institute is a fully equipped and staffed specialized hospital while StebByStep concentrates on more aggressive physical rehabilitation using methods developed in the US working with injured soldiers.
When Noyes entered the Guttmann at the beginning of August, the family supplemented his short daily specialist rehabilitation. “Nobody knows the patient like the family,” Iana said, “and you need to know your loved one’s limits and then push those limits more than most doctors would advise. The doctors are always conservative, but the family often knows best.”
Eight months after the accident, for example, Iana believed Kenny was ready to try his hand at a driving/riding simulator, but the doctors felt it was too soon. The very next weekend, however, Iana and Denny took Kenny to the Noyes Camp at Motorland Aragon, where he demanded to climb on a Suzuki GSX-R1000 “wheelie machine.”
Later, Noyes was encouraged to drive a car, ride a motorcycle, drive a tractor to water the dirt track, and operate heavy earth-moving equipment for track maintenance. Those tasks couldn’t have been better for his recovery. Soon afterward, Noyes was reclassified as an outpatient.
Noyes now attends daily sessions at both and also at ReSport, a Barcelona sports injury rehabilitation center. His goal is to eventually get back on the Palmeto Kawasaki ZX-10R, but only if and when he is ready.
Before he was able to leave the Guttmann, Noyes went through a period of recovering his memory. For a while, he thought he was 16 years old and refused to believe that Denny was his brother. As Denny said, “My 16-year-old big brother refused to believe his little brother had a beard.”
At that point, Noyes was experiencing post-traumatic amnesia, and the family had to constantly remind him where he was and why. Iana explained over and over the crash with all details and aftermath. He was shown photo albums and videos, which were indispensable tools that brought him into real time and filled in holes in his memory.
Doctors and nurses finally determined that Noyes had gone beyond post-traumatic amnesia—a big step in recovery from coma—when he was able to remember their names and faces, was oriented in time and place, and knew what had happened on July 5 at Motorland. Doctors say Noyes will probably never remember the crash, but there are continual improvements in short- and long-term memory.
Dennis had to return periodically to the Grand Prix paddock to do his job as a TV commentator for Spain’s Tele5. Because of periods of absence, he was the one who most clearly saw the improvements.
The First Smile
The family watched as Noyes moved up the Glasgow coma scale from the dreaded Glasgow 3 all the way to the top—level 15. There were long, troubled times of bad news and no apparent improvement, but one day when Noyes smiled. His brother produced that smile, singing and dancing in the hospital room at the Guttmann Institute, a moment that the family will always remember in the form of a video. Denny sums it up well: “It’s the best thing I’ve done in my life, coming up with a dance that made my brother smile.”
American Kenny Noyes, riding the Palmeto Kawasaki ZX10-R, battled chatter and grip problems all weekend as track temperatures soared to over 120 degrees on Sunday. From the start right through to the finish of the 17-lap European Championship SBK race, Kenny was constantly fighting wheel-to-wheel with one rival or another and watching up the road as Carmelo Morales (Yamaha) broke clear of the pack.
Kenny, starting from fourth on the grid, was fifth into turn 1 and running in the midst of a swarm of three BMWs (Adrian Bonastre, Dani Rivas and Ivan Silva) while the two Yamaha riders, Morales and Venezuelan Robertini Pietri, led. Once past the first of the BMWs (Bonastre), he needed four more laps to close the gap on Pietri, who low-sided out of the penultimate turn at the end of lap 6. Three laps later, Rivas took a lunge up the inside at the turn 10 left-hander and crashed, nearly taking Kenny down with him, and allowing Silva, who had just moved into second, to pull a small gap.
While Morales extended his lead, Kenny reeled Silva back in and the two passed and re-passed each for the rest of the race, exchanging a little paint on the way and monopolizing the TV director´s attention.
At the flag it was Silva by a bike length and, immediately after the podium, the Palmeto Team met to go over data and to schedule a two-day practice session at Motorland-Aragon where Round Four will be held in two-weeks time on July 5. The team is determined to overcome the chatter and set-up problems that plagued them at Barcelona. Kenny is second in the points table by 9 points with 200 points and eight races still to be contested.
Kenny Noyes 3rd:
"It probably looked like a fun race on TV between Silva and me but, to tell the truth, I was having a pretty hard time. I could hold the slipstream of his BMW down the long home straight but when I led he could overtake me too easily. Even though we rubbed fairings a couple of times, it was a clean scrap all the way to the flag.
I was disappointed not to get him back one more time, but having two guys go down right in front of me, especially Rivas who nearly took me with him, I realized just how easy it would be for me to drop it. It was slick and very bumpy out there. We got out of here with minimum damage - Morales took nine points from us - but now we know where we are.
We decided right after the race to go to Motorland on Tuesday and Wednesday for two days testing to try and get rid of the chatter and to find some more speed. Our rivals made some improvements after Portugal and now we have got to do the same."
Como suele ser habitual por estas fechas, el Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya ha supuesto una dura prueba para los pilotos de la categoría de Superbike dentro del FIM CEV European Championship. Con una pista muy delicada cuando las temperaturas son altas, la prueba se convierte en un reto.
Aún así, Kenny Noyes ha mostrado su lado más competitivo durante las 17 vueltas que ha durado la carrera. En un primer momento, el estadounidense se ha visto taponado en las dos curvas de final de recta, pero después ha comenzado a remontar posiciones hasta situarse tercero e intentar dar caza al segundo clasificado en ese momento. Además de intentar alcanzar la segunda posición, Noyes ha tenido que defenderse de los envites de otros rivales, teniendo que esquivar a Dani Rivas que se ha caído delante del estadounidense. Con la pista en esas condiciones tan delicadas, ha llegado la caída de otro de sus rivales, Robertino Pietri, por lo que Noyes ha pasado a la segunda posición que posteriormente ha tendido que disputarse con Iván Silva. Después de la lucha y teniendo en cuenta la situación del circuito, Noyes ha preferido asegurar el tercer puesto, subiendo de nuevo al podio y manteniéndose segundo en la general a nueve puntos del líder y con una ventaja de quince sobre el tetero.
Ahora el Kawasaki Palmeto PL Racing Team se desplaza directamente hasta el espectacular trazado de MotorLand Aragón, donde esta próxima semana tendrán lugar unos test previos a la próxima cita del FIM CEV European Championship, que se disputará en el trazado turolense en dos semanas.
Kenny Noyes 3º:
"Seguro que desde fuera ha parecido una carrera bonita, pero en realidad hemos sufrido un poco. Aunque podía seguir bien a Iván, en cuanto me ponía delante en las rectas nos faltaba un poco de velocidad. Hemos tenido una lucha de tú a tú bonita, pero al mismo tiempo siempre pensando en el campeonato.
Las caídas de Pietri y Rivas justo delante de mi puede que me hayan marcado un poco a la hora de haber tomado algún riesgo más en algún momento de la carrera.
Salimos de aquí con un tercer puesto, pero aquí hemos visto que nuestros rivales han dado un paso hacia delante y ahora nos toca a nosotros hacer lo mismo de cara a la próxima carrera en MotorLand.”
Kenny Noyes on the Palmeto Kawasaki ZX10-R and Spaniard Morales (Yamaha R1) completely dominated the weekend at the Autodromo Internacional Algarve outside Portimao, Portugal, with the American taking race one with a last lap pass on the brakes and with Morales taking race two after the two collided on the penultimate lap.
In both races there was a similar pattern. Noyes led for the first thirteen of seventeen laps with Morales following. Both riders know each other's tactics well and Kenny intended to set a fast enough pace pull clear of Venezuelan Robertino Pietri (Yamaha R1) to ensure that the duel on the final lap would be a two-rider affair.
In Race one Noyes led the first 13 of 17 laps before Morales made his move. The two swapped the lead and a bit of paint but it was the American who made the final pass on the brakes at the end off the Portimao home straight at the start of the last lap and then held on to win by a bike length.
In Race two Noyes again led for the first 13 laps and the American seemed to have the pace to repeat the win from the previous race, but after the two had exchanged the lead with some incidental contact, Kenny went for a gap that was closing and there was hard contact between the front wheel of the Kawasaki and the rear wheel of the Yamaha. Kenny managed to stay on, but lost almost two seconds.With only a lap to go he was only able to recover 1.1 seconds, fastest lap included, and took second by .9.
The season promises more battles like the two in Portugal. Kenny was especially glad to leave Portugal tied for the points lead because in 2014 Portimao was his most difficult track. There is now a long break defore the 10-race season resumed in Catalunya on June 20. This will give the Palmeto team an opportunity to work in private tests before the next battle.
Kenny Noyes Race 1: 1º / Race 2: 2º::
"Of all the circuits on the schedule, this is the one where we had the most trouble last year, so coming out of here sharing the lead and after seeing that we had a winning pace is huge for us.
I am happy about the win in race one and a little mad at myself for letting race two get away because I was feeling a lot stronger in the second race and knew what Morales' tactics would be. I should have waited for a better opportunity to pass. It was my mistake. I lost too much time to make up on the last lap, but seeing that we did the fastest lap of the race the last time around shows that we kept the tires working to the end. The tracks coming up are a lot more to my liking, so I´m liking our chances, but not underestimating anybody."
La defensa del número uno por parte de Kenny Noyes y el Kawasaki Palmeto PL Racing Team no podía haber empezado de una mejor manera, gracias a la brillante victoria que se ha adjudicado en la primera carrera. Después de dominar desde el principio, Noyes ha sabido ceder el mando de la prueba a Morales para volver a superarlo y cruzar la meta en primera posición. En la segunda carrera y después de volver a dominar la misma, un toque cuando estaba superando de nuevo a Morales ha hecho que el norteamericano haya estado a punto de caerse. A pesar de haber evitado finalmente la caída, la distancia perdida hacía muy difícil recuperar la primera posición a falta de poco más de vuelta y media. Aún así, Noyes ha hecho gala de su competitividad, intentando alcanzar de nuevo el mando de la carrera, algo de lo que finalmente le ha separado menos de un segundo.
La próxima cita del Kawasaki Palmeto PL Racing Team con el FIM CEV European Championship llegará el fin de semana del 20 y 21 de junio en el Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Antes de ello, la estructura madrileña llevará a cabo diferentes test, además de disputar, con los pilotos del Junior Team la segunda prueba del Campeonato de España de Velocidad en el Circuito de Jerez a finales del mes de mayo.
Kenny Noyes Carrera 1: 1º / Carrera 2: 2º:
"La primera carrera ha sido genial. El año pasado este era nuestro peor circuito y Carmelo tenía mucho mejor ritmo. Hoy hemos empezado liderando, al final he visto que estaba muy pegado y, cuando se ha metido en la curva de izquierdas, le he dejado pasar para estudiarlo un poco y he visto que iba mucho más cómodo detrás suyo. Aunque hemos tenido problemas en algunas curvas abriendo gas, estoy muy contento con la moto en general, con el motor y con la puesta apunto.
Para la segunda carrera no hemos tocado nada y me la he tomado con algo más de calma, porque veía que si apretaba Carmelo seguía ahí y he preferido no forzar y mantener a Pietri controlado detrás, sabiendo que cuando adelantara a Carmelo tendría más neumático y así poder forzar algo más para el final de carrera. Luego me he equivocado un poco, me he tocado con él a final de recta y después en otra curva de izquierdas, puede que haya pecado un poco de conservador y a lo mejor tendría que haber sido algo más agresivo. Aún así, salimos líderes de aquí que era un circuito poco favorable para nosotros así que somos optimistas de cara a las siguientes carreras porque vienen circuitos que nos gustan más y siempre se nos han dado mejor.”
Kenny Noyes finished third in the second edition of Superprestigio Dirt Track in a thrilling Superfinal. AMA Grand National winner Jared Mees finished second behind the world champion Marc Marquez.
This time the stadium was nearly full with more than 9,000 very appreciative and loud fans. In the Superfinal, Márquez and Mees were slowed by a turn 1 tangle but eventually hunted down leader Noyes, with Márquez taking the win. Unable to find a way past Márquez, Mees was second, and Noyes, for the second time in a row, was third.
Among the distinguished roadracers who took part in the event were six present or former world champions, all three current Grand Prix champions, Marc Márquez (MotoGP), Tito Rabat (Moto2), and Marc’s younger brother Alex Márquez (Moto3), plus the three-time World Superbike champion, Australian Troy Bayliss.
Third for the second time in a row, Noyes said, “That’s just the second dirt-track race I’ve ridden since 2000, so I can’t complain, but now I think we know what we have to do to the Kawasaki to have a shot at winning this thing the third time around. It has been such an incredible Season. And this Event has had massive media coverage. I’m very grateful to RPM Racing. I want to return next year and achieve the victory because today these two guys were just so fast! I ‘ve had very little time to practice in my new bike, so for next year I’ll be ready!”.
American Kenny Noyes rode the race of his life at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, Valencia, and emerged at the end of the 19 laps as FIM CEV SBK International Superbike Champion. He went into the ninth and final round trailing former Spanish Champion Ivan (BMW) by four point and needing either win or finish second ahead of Silva.
Starting fourth off the second row, Noyes got the hole shot and, with Venezuelan teammate Robertino Pietri in his slipstream, opened slight gap over Morales and Silva, but on lap three they both got past the Venezuelan and closed on the leader. On lap seven Morales when into the lead and Silva slipped under Noyes out of Turn 2 but the American dived under Silva at Turn 6 and tucked in behind the new leader.
Once the gap over Silva had grown to a just over a second, Noyes slowed his paces slightly, but then Noyes lost some valuable time finding his way past a lapped rider and Silva was suddenly only .4 back. With five laps remaining Noyes upped the pace and not only pulled clear of the BMW rider, he also closed on Morales and looked set to make a move when Silva lost the front on the entrance to turn four at the start of lap 17.
The Palmeto PL team quickly got the board and informed Noyes that his only rival had crashed. He then slowed and cruised home to take the title. Pietri was third, giving Palmeto PL not only the title but also two podium places.
Kenny Noyes: “My strategy from the beginning was to push as hard as a could on the opening laps and try and get some distance between me and Silva. The opening push was enough to do that. When Morales came by, I thought that would be OK because it is good to have a wheel to follow at Valencia, but when Silva slipped under me out of turn 3, I realized I had to pass him back immediately and push again. When I saw on my board that I had 1.1 seconds over Silva, I slowed just a bit, but on the next lap I saw he had closed to .8 and then I had some trouble with a lapped rider and my board told me he was just .4 back. I made a second hard push and in three laps I was back with Morales and had put Silva over a second back. I was starting to think about making a move on Morales, but with two laps to go, my board said Silva was out. I had to take a long look back to believe it and I saw beautiful empty track!
I didn´t think I could do a whole race in the 35´s. But that´s what it took today.
Silva went down pushing hard and it was the only time all year he´s failed to score. He pushed us hard and was fighting right to the end. I´m so grateful to the team, to Kawasaki and to Michelin for all the work they put in, and it was great to be on the podium with Robertino again. That made it ever more special for Palmeto PL.
1. Morales (Spain) Kawasaki ZX1000-R
2. Noyes (USA) Kawasaki ZX1000-R
3. Pietri (Venezuela) Kawasaki ZX1000-R
4. Ramos (Spain) Kawasaki ZX1000-R
5. Rodriguez (Spain) Suzuki GSX1000-R
6. Plassen (Norway) Ducati 1198
7. Martinez (Spain) Kawasaki ZX1000-R
8. Rivas (Spain) BMW R1000SS
9. Pouhair (France) BMW R1000SS
10.Llano (Spain) Kawasaki ZX1000-R
Final Championship Standings
1. Noyes 160 , 2. Morales 145, 3. Silva 144, Pietri 125, Barragan 123, Rivas 113, Rodriguez 71, 8. Ferrer 53, 9. Kuperinen 44, 10. Gomez 43.