Being an ex off-road racer (and one that has raced this race) this news while tragic should have been expected too happen sooner or latter. 8 souls lost 12 injured. It amazes me that this has not happened before due to the practice of spectators standing so close to the course.
I hear you OldSchool…WRC and off-road racing in general, are probably the most dangerous motorsports for spectators, IMHO.
I love watching WRC on the HD Theatre Channel, but I would never go in person and watch it from the sides of the road. Way too risky imho. Or perhaps I need a new pair !
Just read the story and while it’s a tragic thing to happen I just can’t muster up a ton of sympathy.
They made a reasoned choice to play on the train tracks and when you do this sometimes you get run over. It baffles me how someone can stand 10 feet away while 2 ton vehicles are airborne and not get a bit antsy.
With Rally racing you see the same thing almost; crowds separated from speeding cars by nothing more than a rope.
It was also reported that this crowd turned unruly and the driver had to take off running when they started stoning him. Talk about skewed logic.
I have watched rally (off road). It is in close quarter but in our parts usually tree or rocks can protect you somewhat.
The unforunate part of this all is it will affect all races now whether offroad truck or rally car. Insurance will be very difficult to obtain as someone will sue.
The BLM will use this as a reason to ban all further racing on public lands…
Stuff happens at these races but not at this level. One friend crashed upside/down on some spectators motorcycles (again spectators) and was terribly burned and at a Mexacali 250 some years back one disoriented racer got hit head on (and killed), he was running backwards on the course.I see son of the driver of the truck that hit the backwards racer on TV quite alot, everytime I see this guy I think of that crash. In the same race it rained and snowed really hard and our class 2 car got stuck is a wash that turned into a river, we took the hood off another car that was stuck and put ours on top of us and I “snuggled” with my driver till morning. My driver did not want to talk about this,ever. This was one of the funny things that happened off road racing as no one got hurt.
Yes, that was a tragedy, but it can’t hold a candle to the horrific accident at the 1955 Le Mans race that resulted in 83 deaths. The real cause of that death toll was lack of spectator control
This reminds me of an incident at the Warner-Robins dragway many years ago. A side by side race between 2 jet dragsters was to take place for the first time there. The crowd moved from the stands to right behind the 2 dragsters and stayed there despite repeated warnings over the loudspeakers and the staff. A few people did move out of the way but most of the spectators stubbornly stayed in place. The 2 jet dragsters lined up and in a blinding flash they were on their way. I watched as the jet exhaust from both dragsters completely engulfed the people standing behind the starting line. As I walked back from my vantage point about 200 yards down the track I saw many of the spectators who stood behind the dragsters. How did I know? Most of them had their eyebrows singed off and they smelled like a fresh plucked chicken.
Up until probably 1985 you could buy a pit pass for the drag strip here in Tuscon and stand as close as you dared to the cars doing their burnouts. The strip closed for probably 8-10 years and re-opend some years ago,now you can’t get that close at all.
A clip of this was shown on the news a bit ago and what’s a miracle is that more people were not killed and injured than reported.
People lined up in droves with vehicles, on both sides, covered in clouds of dust, and racers plowing through the narrow gap at full speed along with being airborne much of the time.
I don’t even know what to say about the people who lined up along there. Stupid is probably it in a nutshell. Heck, I’d feel safer taking a nap on the train tracks.
It’s also reported there was no guardrail in place. Who would have thought a desert boondock race would have been lacking this.