The last time Aaron Horsley raced and jumped his motorcycle was 20 months ago. The afternoon in October 2007 had ended in tragedy: While driving home, he was struck by a white pick-up truck and dragged behind it, leaving him paralyzed.

Twenty months later, Horsley climbed back onto his motorcycle -- now customized with an automatic clutch, bars to hold in and protect his unfeeling legs and a special seat to support him -- and raced it around the Milestone MX Park in Riverside on June 6.

"Third lap around, everybody was cheering and I went over the jumps."

And he crashed.

"After I realized I was OK, I gave the thumbs-up. The family had a heart attack," he laughed Friday afternoon. "It's worth [the risk]. It's what I love doing."

Horsley's father couldn't watch his son ride, despite coming from a family of off-roaders, but his mother was there, knowing it's what he still loves.

"It's not the bike that made me paralyzed," said Horsley. "It was the jackass who hit me and drug me down the street."

His doctor has similarly gritted his teeth over Horsley's decision to get back on the motorcycle again.

"He said don't send him pictures and don't tell him about it."

This fall, the Hesperia High School graduate will begin school in Riverside, learning how to fabricate motorcycle parts, so that he can work on off-road bikes for a living.

"If I had the choice of not riding and not being paralyzed, I would do it again," Horsley said. Off-roading "has kept me out of doing all the stupid stuff."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.