On the last day of 2022, it’s high time for me to present the ‘It’ Happens Award, the award that recognises the downright unlucky, and often extreme, pieces of misfortune that occur not just on Australian and International sporting fields, but in life itself.
Some of the ‘It’ Happens moments of 2022 include:
The Canberra Raiders with the FALCON TRY ASSIST to end the Melbourne Storm’s NRL season
For the uninformed, that it not a knock-on, as the ball did not hit his arms, and he wasn’t playing at the ball.
Alex Carey falling into the Australian hotel pool in Karachi, which magically turned him into the second coming of Adam Gilchrist
Jye Richardson getting a Liverpool Kiss as the Perth Scorchers celebrated winning the Big Bash League
KISS mistaking Australia for Austria
Vienna, it’s a small town outside of Adelaide.
Jaidyn Stephenson kicking in straight to Lance Franklin, then turning his back in disappointment and failing to realise that Buddy was streaming in for an easy goal
And it wasn’t the first time that day Stephenson turned his back to a Swans player running in to have a shot at goal:
The inflatable World Cup trophy that collapsed in Qatar
Scott Morrison providing a campaign trail highlight by tackling a child playing football in Tasmania
Thiago stopping Erling Haarland from reproducing
The AFL allowing this colour clash to happen
Still, it was easy to tell the teams apart, because Geelong were the only ones kicking goals.
James Tedesco and his cases of Full Moon Fever
Invest in some elastic, mate.
The Falcon Smother from Essendon’s Kaine Baldwin… ow
Tim Apple’s limp-wristed waving of the chequered flag in the US Grand Prix
Aleix Esparagaro celebrating a lap too early in Spain, dropping him down from 2nd to finish in 5th
One from the other night: Adam Lyth’s shot bouncing off his glove, onto his forearm, and onto the stumps
And finally, Jake Bowey getting hit by a ball at training after he’d won the first 17 games of his career, including the 2021 Grand Final… after this, Melbourne went 6-8 for the rest of the year, and crashed out of the finals in straight sets
But this year’s 2022 ‘It’ Happens award winner, which I felt was the clear winner for the combined elements of sheer unluckiness and absurdity in the incident, especially for the bloke on the receiving end…
The winner is Australian rider Joel Kelso, who was blindsided by a stray riderless bike while minding his own business on a hot lap during the Moto3 warm-up for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
Fresh off finishing a career-best 9th in Portimao in his first full season in Grand Prix racing, that brutally unlucky incident led to Joel’s Spanish holiday ending early, then he had to withdraw from the following weekend’s French GP due to his injuries leaving the native Territorian physically unable to last a race distance…
And, if that shocking incident wasn’t enough, Joel’s unlucky 2022 got even unluckier just before the European summer break, when he was taken out by another blindside hit, this time by Spaniard Adrian Fernandez attempting a suicidal overtake during the Dutch TT at Assen, a highside incident that left Kelso with a broken right ankle and foot fractures, which sidelined him for the British Grand Prix a full 6 weeks later.
In a further case of spooky unluckiness, Kelso’s crash occurred just shy of 30 years to the day that Mick Doohan had his career-altering crash at Assen.
However, Joel eventually recovered, and despite another highside in Japan, would finish the season with a career-best 8th place in front of his home crowd at Phillip Island, giving him something to work with heading into 2023.
So there you go, Joel Kelso, the 2022 ‘It’ Happens Award winner for one of the unluckiest moments ever seen in Grand Prix motorcycle racing, and hopefully this isn’t the only thing Joel wins in his time in Moto3.
And remember, as Forrest Gump says….