Scar Off: vote now!

Dailies -


The time has come. We received over 100 Scar Off entries, but have narrowed them down to a short list of 10 for you to vote on. The winner of this poll will receive over $1,100 in Icon riding gear and there’s Icon prizes for second and third place too, you decide who gets what. Oh, and if you can’t handle a little exposed bone, close your eyes.

(Update: Due to service work this weekend, the voting will be open until Tuesday midnight.)

What you’re voting on here is the total injury package: injury shots, scar shots and the write up. Vote on who you think has the gnarliest injury.

You can find full contest and prize details here, but the gist is that Icon and HFL got together and decided to give something back to our readers. Danger, death and injuries are a part of what makes motorcycling so unique and something we all have to deal with at some point in our two-wheeled lives. Hopefully by acknowledging that and providing readers with the tools to lessen or avoid all together the consequences of risk taking, we can make everyone a little bit safer.

Voting will remain open through midnight EST this Sunday, October 24. We’ll announce the winners on Monday. Vote now, vote often and tell your kids, tell your wife.

Andy Kraft

So what happens when you grab a handful of two stroke at the wrong time in the dirt? Well I’ll tell you. It starts with a foot first launching into a dirt berm, a snapped femur, the fire department being called to extract you from the pickup you were loaded into by your friends, 10 days in the hospital, 5 in the icu …when you get a fat embolism which prevents you from knowing what year it is or who the president is or even where you are, three days of a 20″ scar being left open to let the compartmentalizing syndrome go down and the surgeons to put your leg back together with something like 46 staples and stitches. Then just for fun your awesome girlfriend will hold your catheter bag for you when you have to get out of the bed. Did I mention the 320mm long nail in my leg, the two screws, and the spiral blade? Yea, I set off metal detectors now. All said, my insurance was billed well over $200,000 for that one. I’m an engineer at Harley-Davidson and we seem to have good insurance coverage for this kind of thing thank goodness. Maybe motocross just isn’t my sport. 13 weeks later, the limp is getting hard to notice and I’m looking forward to ice racing this winter!

Brittany Smith

I was a passenger on a GSXR 750. I went down at 100+ mph. 3rd degree roadrash on 50% of my body. 9 surgeries, 2 months in the hospital, 4 months of physical rehab. Thank God for helmets. Now I ride my own R6 and coach MSF classes. Hollar.

George Dencer

3+ years, 7 surgeries, countless dollars and a shit ton of support from friends, family & the medical community here it is. I am able to walk on it but will never have full mobility of it like prior to the accident. I still ride although I spend more time riding/racing a vintage Triumph in the woods than I do riding on the street. More because I live in FLORIDA and there aint much fun roads to ride here.

Ducati Monster propelled foot versus car bumper. 77 year old A’hole pulled outta a side street and hit my bike at the clutch sending my foot back through the foot rest assembly shearing both the foot and assembly. This is what it looked like the first time I got to see it 14 days after the first surgery. It gets better(worse actually) over the next 3 years.

Few months after accident tissue didn’t heal as expected so it had to be sectioned and a artificial skin graft had to be attached.

Artificial graft didn’t take the first go round so Doc went back and did a trans tarsol(sp?) graft using both artificial and donor from above the initial wound.

Second graft doesn’t take either and got infected (dont have pic of infected flipper but the smell will stay with me forever) so from here on out it was soaking in epsom salt 2x a day. After each soak the wife (a f’in saint I tell ya) had to scrub till it bleed then wrap it in dressings. Did this for a few months. I had it easy at this point, pop 2 percs and let her scrub away. LOL. The yellowish that you see is protein that is a few mils. thick on top of bone, pretty much exposed bone to stare at several times a day.

Guy Procter

Going for length with this one. Can’t show the rest as they’re still covered with vac dressings. This is where they took the vein to replumb my smashed, near-amputated left arm, where a broken bone end sawed though the artery, starving the arm of blood for five hours. Big thanks to the 78-year-old in an Audi TT who saved me unnecessary brake pad wear by pulling out just at the point I couldn’t even reach for the lever.

Jim Priest

First trip of spring, Blue Ridge Parkway just north of Meadows of Dan. Broadsided by deer on Wee-Strom. Woke up with EMTs asking me if I’m OK :)

Joshua DelMonte

I was riding my motorcycle when I got hit by a girl who was texting and driving, went down and took off my skin along with a little muscle. 3 weeks in the hospital, three surgeries, and nothing to show for it because she was under-insured. There was way more road rash, but that’s the worst of it. Looks cool as hell tho!

Justin Wells

It all started at 4am on November 8th, 2009. I was riding my 2008 KLR650 home wearing pants, Hein Gericke jacket, gloves, boots and a modular helmet. A deer ran out in front of me and I swerved to avoid it hitting a guardrail at 45 mph face first. The bike went down the road with hardly any damage. I lay there for about… an hour bleeding from my face, skull and internally. A man on his way home from work saw the bike down in the road and called police. Police came and found me, calling the time for my death, laying in a five foot pool of blood under a guardrail. I wasn’t dead though. I started moving and helicopters and medics were called. When they got to me it took 4 medics to put transfusion IVs in me cause I was fighting so hard. They all looked at me and assumed I was going to die. My helmet had broken apart hitting the guardrail and tore my nose off from the strap pulling over my face. My left eye was facing my nose and both of my eye sockets were broken and I was partially scalped.

They flew me to the University of MD shock trauma and had like 10 doctors start working on me. All of which considered me a loss. My parents got a call and was told I was dead from a motorcycle accident. Then about 10 minutes later they got another call to hear I was critical and was not expected to make it. The doctors did x-rays, MRIs and cat scans to see what was injured. Besides my head my lung was punctured had 3 broken ribs, broken clavicle, hand and internal bleeding in my abdomen and head. They sawed the rest of my scalp off to relieve pressure, gave me transfusions for massive blood loss almost 5 pints. They also opened up my stomach to find that I pulled over 10 Gs and my organs had hit my ribs and become damaged. My stomach ripped apart from my small intestine called a ruptured fistula and they had to leave me open and figure out what to do with it. They ended up gluing a bag on me that had to be changed every 4th day. A pump made the acid get pumped out of me. They also figured out what had to be done to put my face back together. Also put a trauche tube in my neck for me to breath.

My parents came and were told how bad I was my mom got pictures of me to show the plastic surgeon what I looked like. He rebuilt my eye sockets, nose forehead and eventually stapled my scalp back on. Later that week my mom told the nurse I was acting strangely. My mom left and 2 hours later I went into cardiac arrest and flat lined for 15 minutes. They eventually got my heart fired up, but I fell into a coma. The heart attack was from a blood clot stopping my heart. So I’m a coma for thanksgiving, xmas, new years, and I woke up two months later on January 15th.

While I was there the dream girl from my high school found out and flew from Grenada where she was going to vet school and came to see me. A nurse was like is this your brother and she said no, its my boyfriend… so I managed to get my dream girl in a coma.

They had put my face together and skin grafted to try to close my stomach but it was like trying to sew wet tissue paper, it just blew out. So here I am getting therapy my left arm is not working well and I’m left handed, and after my neck tube came out my voice sounded crippled. Assuming from my stroke and heart attack. So every 4 days they have to take this bag off a huge open wound clean it and glue a new one back on, all the time dealing with my stomach pumping acid out into it. Everyday I got blood taken for testing and I got 2 super painful shots for blood clots.

For nearly a month I had a blood infection and would puke anything that would go in my mouth. Oh yeah, I couldn’t eat or drink for about 6 months. My first ice chip was absolutely amazing. Then I started getting soup broth and jello. I was on tpn via a main line in my neck. It was my food and cost about 1000 dollars a day. I had also had surgeries, x-rays, cat scans and mri’s galore. So I get an eye infection and they have to put a needle in my pupil to inject antibiotics in it. Oh and I was on a max dose of morphine everyday to the point I couldn’t spell my name. One day I got a fever that broke their record of 105.8. They put me on ice to prevent going into another coma, so that brings me to when they want to close up my stomach with major surgery. They repair it and close me up. Then I cant pee. So after mri’s and x-rays they realize I have a hematoma in my stomach the size of a softball. They open me back up and take it out. They also put a filter in my heart to avoid any more blood clots from stopping my heart.

By the 8th month my veins in my arms would no longer work from being collapsed. Drawing blood had to be from arteries in my neck. By the 10th month, sept 28th 2010 they were talking about letting me go home. She tells me not to do anything strenuous. I ask my nurse 3 very important questions. Can I have sex, can I drink and can I shower. She says yes to the latter and says, depends on how you do it during sex. I had to laugh. I thanked my doctors and surgeons for the great job. One Dr pulled me aside to tell me that if I had crashed anywhere besides shock trauma I probably would have died. I went home, took my first shower since November, drank a cold beer and ate taco bell. it was amazing to say the least. This is the very condensed version there are humdred of other things I could put in here but it would be so long.

Stats about it:

Was in the hospital for almost a year

Have 3 lbs of titanium in me now

Had 15 major life threatening surgeries

Had 20 minor surgeries

Hundreds of x rays, mri’s and cat scans

40 staples in my scalp

Over 100 stitches in me and around 80 staples

Broke 6 bones total

Died 2x, once for 15 minutes

Had hundreds of shots

Hundreds of blood drawings

Veins are now collapsed, whole face is scars

Insurance bill of over a million dollars

Kiya Babzani

I had my chest cut open, then my entire breastbone was sawed in half, then both of my lungs were collapsed and they forced me to stop breathing, then my heart was pulled out of the muscle sac it sits in and was put on a bypass machine and a large hole in my heart was sewn up.  This took 7 hours during surgery.

Matt Messier

My hip after I totalled my TL and flew 300 feet off a cliff. 29 staples and 10 stitches through my leg muscle and out again. Thank god for full leathers and gear!

Pat Gallo

I suffered this little injury last spring. I had spent the entire weekend prior prepping the Guzzi for the season; new fluids, fresh wax and every bolt checked. I was on my way to pick up the bike when there was a slight entanglement with some shoelaces. Yes kids, mom was right all along. Tie your f*%king shoes!

From the pain as I dragged myself up off the concrete, I assumed I had dislocated my shoulder and walked my ass to the ER in hopes of having it popped back in. No such luck. After three painful rounds on the x-ray machine, I was informed I had a proximal humerus fracture – in layman’s, I broke my freaking shoulder bone. Surgery, steel plate, 10 pins, and a full year of torturous rehabilitation and now it’s almost 100% back. By the time I had healed enough to get back on the Guzzi, though, I had missed an entire season of riding.

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You can find high-res versions of the pictures above in this gallery.

  • BN.

    Justin, godspeed. I don’t know what else to say.

  • vigor

    Justin Wells didn’t include face off pictures. For this reason he should win. Also, makes me question modular helmet performance.

  • Brammofan

    No contest. Justin, my thoughts and prayers and awe are with you… An amazing story.

  • RanDryRacer

    Justin, God speed indeed.I think a high powered rifle with a nice scope would also make a nice gift for you, in order to mount that deer on your wall.

    I hope your able to get back on that horse Bro.

  • the_doctor

    I am a numbers kind of guy, so Justin Wells! Jesus, that is a very impressive story. Jesus.

  • Kevin

    Justin FTW! This guys is a living miracle. Hope you can find that same dear again and have it mounted on your living room wall.

    Stupid question: If you had a second chance, would you swerve again or hit the dear?

  • thecrumb

    Tell my wife? Are you mad? She’d never let me look at a motorcycle again.

    Good luck to everyone – heal quickly!


    Justin – let’s go hunting! Deer suck!

  • noone1569


    Justin: godspeed man, hopefully all this new gear will help you!

    Also: LOL at the HIGH RES GALLERY. No thanks.

    • Mark D

      Ha! This is serious NSFL (Not Safe For Lunch)

  • vic

    well obviously Justin has the most awful wounds and story but i voted for George because of the sheer amount of hurt he had to go through for such a relatively simple injury

    IMHO they all deserve prizes just for having the power to wade through and the humour to post the pics

    • vigor

      well put. i vote they all get something. make ten official HFL Scar Off Finalist t-shirts,

  • Beast Incarnate

    Wow. To all of it from everyone.

    • Beast Incarnate

      I cast two votes because I can. One based purely on the pictures and a second on the true damage. Which means my first vote wasn’t really accurate per the instructions. Thankfully, like the year I accidentally voted for an idiot, my vote clearly won’t be a deciding factor.

      • Beast Incarnate

        Bonus Question: Who’s the bigger idiot, the idiot running for office or the idiot who “accidentally voted” for him?

  • wolf and wendy

    I am a paramedic from the firehouse that responded to Justin’s call. Although I was not on it, a fellow paramedic and Lieutenant were. Justin, ironically, had just left my brother’s house (a weird six degrees of separation) and had a horrific wreck that left my seasoned co-worker’s jaws dropped. Between hearing their stories of his incident, and hearing my brother’s stories of his rehabilitation, by the time I met him, my jaw was dropped in amazement! With 15 years of fire department experience under my belt, and seeing many nasty motorcycle wrecks, hearing about Justin LIVING through those injuries shows me and everyone he touches that HE HAS GONE AND COME BACK THE FURTHEST. Go Team Wells!

  • markbvt

    I never even bothered entering my currently-healing scar because there was no point competing. Justin completely deserves to win.

  • GuyP

    Holy fuck, I’m in it and I voted for Justin

  • jeremy

    jesus christ dude, I don’t why you’d ever even want to get on a motorcycle ever again, but you deserve some sort of recognition for living through that. I’m voting for you and then I’m calling my health insurance company and changing to a better plan. Seriously.

  • ajkraft

    I’m in this damn thing and I think Justin should win. I only had a barely double digit chance of dying and he actually did! Twice!!! I’ve got nothing on that.

  • wolf and wendy

    This is wolf of wolf and wendy, and it has been a very long and wild recovery and he has defied all odds and doctors!! 10 months shock trauma, multiple surgeries, all to put the ripper delux back together again! After having thoughts before of never being able to talk to him again, now being able to talk to him is beyond a blessing!! “screaming demons for life” and “lost boys for life”…….”the path to hell is paved with the skulls of quitters”, and he never gave up! never will! love you brother!!
    “lost boys for life”

  • ur blue-eyed girl

    Justin always says with a smile of his face that “he’s got the life of a cat because they have nine lives”. Motorcycles are one of the greatest passions in his life and to this day always will be. When I heard of the accident my heart sank. I said to myself this isn’t fair and is not supposed to happen to such a caring, loving person and great friend to many. But I knew deep inside what a fighter he was and I prayed EVERY single night. I thought my prayers were getting lost because he was briefly taken from us when he went into cardiac arrest. But then when he woke up in mid-January I knew that indeed my prayers were still being heard and answered. I said to myself “yup, there’s the fighter I know.” Come Sept. I heard from him and that he was home. A week later I went to see him. When I walked in the house and first saw him I lit up for there I saw my friend walking over to me for a big hug. My eyes teared for I was so thankful for my prayers being answered. There was Justin with the his contagious smile and twinkle in his caring eyes. I said, “See you got those cat lives” As he smiled and laughed he said “Yup! You know I’m a fighter. I’m not done living.”

  • ontheroad

    You know, Andy nearly swayed me with the Gonzo tattoo. They’re all pretty gnarly, but I feel for Brittany the most as she was just along for the ride: cheers to you for coming back to motorcycling and teaching MSF courses no less! George’s foot looks horrifyingly painful & reaffirms that I will never leave the house without my Sidi Vertigos on. Ultimately I, like most of you, had to vote for Justin. Those injuries are staggering and it’s a miracle to see he pulled through.

    I agree with Vic for sure, they all deserve something.

  • 2ndderivative

    Justin = holy nutballs.

  • Justin Wells

    Its justin wells, i cant believe all the love and support ive gotten. thank u all, all my gear was wrecked or got cut off, so i hope i win some new stuff to get back and ride again next summer when better. atgatt, without mine id look like road pizza. thank you all for the kind words.

  • Glenngineer

    Incredible stories. What impresses me most is that these people are all still riding, still active enough to hear about this contest.

  • jwinter

    I’m sorry, I am not qualified to vote on this on account of sqeamishness. I am going to stop complaining unless my troubles rise to this level.

  • Slim Pickens

    Holy shit, two lessons from this contest:

    1. ATGATT

    2. Just hit the deer. They’re a lot softer.

    • ontheroad

      Agreed. I’ve actually had 2 customers hit deer on BMW R-series bikes and just split the things in half and lowside. Bike’s looked like hell but the riders didn’t fare too badly.

      So if a deer jumps out in the road, aim for the middle.

      • noone1569

        No joke. Same thing in a car, signficantly so on a bike. Hit the deer.

  • fatmexican13

    Props to all these survivors, you’d all get my vote if it was an option.

    Justin: You are amazing dude, I wish you the best!

  • george_fla

    How did I miss Justins’s injury bio on FB? JEEEEEEEBUS!!!
    Justin, you are the fuckin man, HANDS DOWN!! Hell I’m in the contest and I’m voting for ya as should everone else. I say the contest ends now and ALL the gear that is to be rewarded to the top 3 goes to Justin.

  • Ben Branch

    After reading this and seeing the images I was instantly hit by the desire to go buy a new helmet, body armour, boots et al.

    Justin, you got my vote. Holy shit man.

  • smoke4ndmears

    Every single one of the contestants here is a winner. My helmet goes off to all of you. But Justin, man, I am at a loss for words.

  • mugget


    This page is way gnarly hardcore. I gotta come back and read all this tomorrow, just not before bed…

  • twinsrule

    Kudos to all that entered!

  • panagiotis

    Justin no question!

  • Mark D

    No matter what awesome stuff I do with my life, after reading these stories, I will always feel like a pussy.

  • slowtire

    Wow. I feel bad for all of you folks and you all have my best wishes. One note about deer – I live in the woods and see deer all of the time. I’ve hit them with my car and truck, but never on a bike. It’s always on my mind though. I’ve found that if you see one cross the road, there’s almost always at least one more behind it. A lot of times there are two. Scares the shit out of me.

  • zato1414

    Justin got my vote… it would have been easier to die! Everybody, better luck in the future.

  • PhilTheBiker

    When I saw this contest I told Justin he had to enter. My wife and I visited him shortly after he awoke from his Coma and continued to visit him as often as we could for month after month. I remember when his mother said he could have an orange, so we brought one in. He couldn’t eat solid food but he was obviously tired of ice chips. We cut open the orange and he started sucking on the juice. Shortly after a nurse came in, he tried to hide the orange, although he was stuck in his bed there wasn’t very many places to hide it. My wife looked over and said “You’re not supposed to have that are you?” and he said “no” and looked like someone who’s hand was caught in the cookie jar! God bless Justin! God kept you around for a reason and only he knows why. I’m happy to be able to spend more time with you!

  • Papasan

    Lucifers Toenails!

    Justin Wells is the Biking’est survivor of all motorcycle wrecks! Good luck Justin and keep the oil side down.

  • HaVoC

    Holy Shit there are some SCARS here…Damm!

  • CafeRacer8509001200

    I’m glad i didn’t enter with my puny little harvested shoulder.

    Justin by a nose.

  • thecrumb

    Deer are NOT soft :)

    When I say I was broadsided – I never saw him coming. No Bambi on the side of the road. No beautiful woodland creature prancing in the daisies.

    Just WHAM and next thing I know I’m waking up in the road.

    Deer suck.