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Local dirt bike racer recovering from injuries after bad crash in Illinois

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 September 2019 at 12:42 pm

Jeremy Higgins is one of top racers at Crusaders Motorcycle Club

File photos by Tom Rivers: Jeremy Higgins accepts the trophy for rider of the year in 2015 for the Crusaders Motorcycle Club. He received the award during the club’s annual dinner on Feb. 20, 2016.

One of the top riders at the Crusaders Motorcycle Club in Ridgeway was severely injured on Labor Day during a race at the Springfield Mile in Springfield, Illinois.

Jeremy Higgins, 27, suffered a traumatic brain injury after a crash at the track on Sept. 2. He is at Illinois hospital and is making progress, breathing without a ventilator, sitting up in bed and standing by his hospital bed, his wife Amber posted on Facebook.

Higgins grew up in Bergen and lives in Batavia. He has raced at the Crusaders track on Culvert Road since he was a young boy. He was named the track’s champ in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“He’s a really great guy,” Rhonda Waters said about Higgins. “He’s a great ambassador for the kids. The kids really look up to him.”

Higgins races with the Waters Autobody Racing team based in Albion and owned by David and Rhonda Waters.

Higgins has raced professionally for about a decade and competed on many weekends in the American Flat Rack Series, which includes races at 18 different tracks around the country. He won the race in Virginia the week before his accident.

Jeremy Higgins is congratulated for winning the $500 grand prize in the “Dash for Cash” on July 10, 2016 at the Crusaders Motorcycle Club on Culvert Road in Ridgeway. Higgins of Bergen is the reigning track champion. He is pictured with friends and family of Pat Blount and Les Washbon. The race that day served as a memorial for the two men who were mainstays at the track.

“He has been competing at the highest level in country,” said Mrs. Waters. “This is like competing at NASCAR.”

Higgins got off to a bad start in the Sept. 2 race. He rounded the first turn and was picking up speed when he was sandwiched between the wall and another rider. Higgins clipped the back tire of a racing bike and then crashed his Kawasaki twin cylinder. He was likely going more than 100 miles an hour at Springfield, which is considered one of the fastest tracks in the country where riders often reach 120 to 130 mph.

The racing and motorcycle community have rallied to support Higgins and his family, selling T-shirts and stickers for Higgins and collecting funds online.

Western New York Harley-Davidson dealers also are doing a benefit on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Stan’s Harley-Davidson in Batavia. That event will include a silent auction, 50/50 drawings, and a basket raffle. (Higgins used to work as a mechanic for Harv’s Harley-Davidson in Macedon.)

The Iron Smoke Distillery in Airport also is hosting a benefit for Higgins on Nov. 3.

“This is what the bike community does, we’re a close knit family,” Waters said. “Jeremy is loved. He really is loved.”

Jeremy Higgins is a blur as he speeds around the Crusaders dirt track on July 10, 2016. He has raced at the Ridgeway track for more than 20 years.

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