Just days before the opening round of the World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS), ATV Rider Magazine received a phone call from long-time friend and 7-time WORCS Champion Doug Eichner.
After recovering from a severe injury incurred at Glen Helen Raceway back in September during a practice session for the WORCS race, Doug was anxious to get back on the track and compete with some of the fastest racers on the planet. Just weeks ago he signed a deal for 2010 with Factory KTM to compete in the WORCS series as well as the ITP Quadcross MX series. Doug was spotted practicing aboard his new orange machine and it had people talking anxiously about Doug's return to the track. We figured Doug was calling to give us an update on his progress with the new machine.
Unfortunately, this was not the case...
What Doug did call to tell us was that he was retiring from the WORCS Series. When asked why he chose to retire, Eichner had this to say:
"I rode the KTM ATV for the first time in a suspension test for Fox Racing SHOX. I was super impressed with the machine and immediately knew what machine I wanted for 2010! I had intended on dedicating this year to my wife and business manager, Joan, who has been undergoing treatment for cancer since last June. Joan has been my biggest supporter for the past 16 years. When I discussed the dedication of 2010 with her, she let me know that I had already earned 51 championships in my professional racing career! Ultimately, I decided my wife and son deserve my entire focus and chasing down number 52 simply lost importance for now. A serious diagnosis gives you a new perspective. I plan to give my wife the support she needs so together we can take down the toughest competitor we have ever faced. I will still hit some of the races in the future, but WORCS will not be in my plans. I've had a successful racing career and it's been a blast for me and my family but...Hawaii, here we come!"
Successful isn't the word when you describe the career Eichner has had not only in the states but also across the Atlantic while competing at the 12 Hours of Pont De Vaux. We admire and support Doug in his decision to dedicate himself to his family because family is what our sport is all about.
We will miss Doug's spirit, energy, integrity, and signature style. No doubt we have seen history in the making and we feel privileged to have witnessed Doug's career. One of the most influential racers in the sport and perhaps one of the most well-liked professionals, Doug's ATV racing legacy is unmatched. Look for a feature story on Doug's career and retirement in an upcoming issue of ATV Rider Magazine.