A nasty crash isn't enough to keep police Officer David Hall off the racetrack.
Hall is a part-time racer on the American Motorcycle Association pro circuit when he's not pulling graveyard shifts for the Key West Police Department.
On Friday, Hall was at the Public Safety building at Florida Keys Community College, where he was preparing to teach self-defense to police cadets. Before class started, he showed the deep bruises still visible on his elbow and right leg from an April crash in Atlanta.
"Cracked three ribs," Hall said under a shaded picnic table. "Second race of the season. I was more worried about the bike than me."
At least he didn't get knocked out, noted the police training officer.
In the world of high-end motorcycle racing with high-speed super-bikes, crashes are part the training syllabus.
Hall lost control on a sharp turn and was launched from his 600cc super-bike.
He said he had never raced the Atlanta track, which has sharp changes in elevation and many blind turns. The crash occurred during a qualifying heat when Hall was only trying to post a good time to make the final race. He came up on a particularly severe turn, but another racer was in his way.
Decisions come fast when you're traveling north of 100 mph and braking in a turn.
"I was trying to cut inside of him when I went through the turn," Hall said, stopping a minute to chuckle. "A track guy nearby said me and the bike went about eight feet in the air and flew about 80 feet. I landed on my back; that's how I cracked my ribs."
He was laughing when he described the mishap.
"It's funny. Later on that day I was watching the races -- because I don't have the money to have to a backup bike or all the parts to keep racing -- and you could see where my bike took out the grass. It looked like a big, clay landing strip."
Such racing had been a dream for years for Hall and his roommate and former partner on the police force, the late Robert Keith Rendueles. He and Rendueles had been preparing to get their professional certification when Rendueles took his own life in 2008.
Hall was sleeping in the adjacent room of their shared Big Pine Key home when he heard the gunshot.
After some time away from police work, Hall doubled-down on that shared dream. For the past four years he has been working every overtime and special detail assignment he can to raise the money necessary to race.
On Thursday, he will be in Birmingham, Ala., racing at Barber Motorsports Park.
Hall is still looking to nab sponsors. The crash in Atlanta set him back financially, but not enough to quell the dream. He's hoping to place high enough to draw the eye of major sponsors so he won't have to spend as much of his own money on tires, fuel and replacement parts.
He spends $2,500 at every race on tires, alone, and each race requires $150 in gas.
The nasty crash in Atlanta only fueled his desire to get back on the track.
"Crashing isn't bad. If you're not crashing, you're not going fast enough. It's about pushing yourself right up to the edge and then knowing when to throttle back. Racing is about finishing first."