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Thread: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

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    Default 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/racing...ory?id=5509590

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    INDIANAPOLIS -- The death of a 13-year-old motorcycle rider at Indianapolis Motor Speedway cast a shadow over Sunday's races at the historic track and prompted mourning competitors to defend the development system for the dangerous circuit.

    Peter Lenz of Vancouver, Wash., fell off his bike during the warmup lap for the day's first race at Indianapolis and was run over by another motorcycle, driven by a 12-year-old. Medical workers immediately placed Lenz in a neck brace, put him on a stretcher and began chest compressions while taking him to a hospital.

    Several hours later, he was pronounced dead.

    The Marion County coroner's office said Lenz died from blunt force trauma. More details could be released Monday following an autopsy on the youngest driver or rider ever killed at the 101-year-old speedway.

    "Peter passed away early this morning when he was apparently struck by another rider," read a posting on Lenz's Facebook page, which was signed "Dad."

    "He passed doing what he loved and had his go fast face on as he pulled onto the track," the posting said. "The world lost one of its brightest lights today. God Bless Peter and the other rider involved. 45 is on another road we can only hope to reach. Miss you kiddo."

    Lenz rode the No. 45 bike, and his father was at the track Sunday.

    It was the first death at the track since IndyCar driver Tony Renna was killed in testing in October 2003.

    Lenz had emerged as one of America's youngest rising stars.

    At age 11, he earned the "expert" license from the American Federation of Motorcyclists, and in March 2009, Lenz became the youngest rider ever to win an AFM race. This year, competing in the U.S. Grand Prix Racers Union series, Lenz had four wins, five podium finishes and was leading the MD250H classification in points.

    The grown-up resume just didn't match his appearance. Listed at 4-foot-11 and 81 pounds, the baby-faced Lenz described his profession as "kid."

    "Our hearts go out to the parents, family and friends of Peter Lenz," speedway CEO Jeff Belskus said in a statement. "Words cannot adequately express the sadness of our company and our employees about this tragic incident, and Peter is in our thoughts and prayers."

    It wasn't the first time Lenz was involved in a serious crash.

    A mechanical failure last season left Lenz with four broken bones and a severed radial nerve -- all of which required surgery. By November, Lenz was healthy again and by spring, he was back in Victory Lane.

    The fatal accident almost certainly will spark a debate about how young is too young for racers to be competing on one of the world's best-known tracks, whether it's inside a car or riding a motorcycle capable of exceeding 120 mph in a straightaway.

    The USGPRU sanctions races across the nation, billing itself as a development circuit for motorcycle racers from ages 12 to 18. The hope is these riders eventually will compete in a world-class series.

    Lenz seemed to be on his way to the top before the accident. He was struck by 12-year-old Xavier Zayat, of Flushing, N.Y., who escaped injury and did not race after the crash.

    "We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss, but know that Peter is racing even faster in the sky," the Lenz family said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are now with the other racer and his family, who were also involved in this tragedy."

    Racers insist age has never been the issue.

    American Colin Edwards was running 250cc bikes at age 17, and Indy MotoGP runner-up Ben Spies was competing on the 125cc circuit at age 12.

    "That's not like a bike too big for him, you know, I mean this is our sport, we chose to do it," said American Nicky Hayden, the 2006 world champ who called the death "terrible."

    "I mean, sure, we know going in the consequences."

    But are new rules needed?

    Those in racing circles say no, comparing the sport to other potentially dangerous sports such as football and gymnastics. When asked about running at Indy, speedway officials pointed out that the series has stops at potentially more dangerous tracks.

    USGPRU officials said this was the first fatality in the series in nine years.

    Still, racing conditions were not ideal this weekend at Indy.

    Hot, dry weather turned the bumpy, 2.621-mile course into a slick track that tested the world's best riders.

    Reigning world champ Valentino Rossi fell four times, including a spill Sunday morning during a 20-minute warmup session. Sunday's Moto2 race was shortened after a big wreck on the first lap took out four drivers.

    "This was the most difficult race for everyone," MotoGP winner Dani Pedrosa said. "The conditions were very hard because of the heat and the asphalt was very greasy."

    After a brief delay to clear the track, the USGPRU race was restarted. Had they known the severity of the injuries, one official said they would have considered canceling the race. The three other races all started on time, though Lenz was never far from the racers' thoughts.

    "This is an ugly, terrible part of this sport," USGPRU chief steward Stewart Aitken-Cade said. "You do what you can to stop it from happening as best you can. That's really all that you can do."

    "Any time a racer is injured in this way and loses his life, it's tough, adult or child," Aitken-Cade added. "It just makes it especially difficult when it's a young guy like Peter."
    How young is too young?
    "I had to take her down like Chris Brown."

    -Lance Stephenson

  2. #2
    DIET COKE! Trader Joe's Avatar
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    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    He died chasing his dream.

    "Make no small plans for they have no power to stir the soul."-Machiavelli

    RIP Peter.

    “WE NEVER SURRENDER, WE NEVER GIVE UP, WE KEEP ATTACKING”- Frank Vogel
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    As said above, he died doing what he loved to do.

    In my opinion, any age is too young for death. I can only imagine the heartbreak of his family, and certainly the family of the young man who collided with him as well.

    What a sad and unfortunate event. My heart goes out to all those involved.

    “Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.” - Oscar Wilde

    R.I.P Peter.

  4. #4

    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    13 year olds should not be racing motor cycles.

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    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    Quote Originally Posted by Foul on Smits View Post
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    13 year olds should not be racing motor cycles.
    Why not? The kid had been riding since he was 5.

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    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    Quote Originally Posted by Trader Joe View Post
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    Why not? The kid had been riding since he was 5.
    5 year olds should not be riding motorcyles.

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    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    That still doesn't answer the question of why not...he's probably a more skilled rider than most of the jackasses that get on the road with them, and put themselves in just as much danger.

    It was an accident, a terrible one to be sure, and a reminder of the dangers of racing ANYTHING, AT ANY AGE, AT ANY LEVEL. He was one of the best racers in the 12-18 motorcycle racing league, in fact he was leading it in points. So if he's capable of out running 16-18 year olds, I see no reason he shouldn't be allowed to ride.

    A tragedy. Yes. An accident. Yes. But that kid probably wouldn't have wanted to do anything else that day, and for that his parents can take comfort that it was the right decision.

    “WE NEVER SURRENDER, WE NEVER GIVE UP, WE KEEP ATTACKING”- Frank Vogel
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    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    Quote Originally Posted by Trader Joe View Post
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    That still doesn't answer the question of why not...he's probably a more skilled rider than most of the jackasses that get on the road with them, and put themselves in just as much danger.

    It was an accident, a terrible one to be sure, and a reminder of the dangers of racing ANYTHING, AT ANY AGE, AT ANY LEVEL. He was one of the best racers in the 12-18 motorcycle racing league, in fact he was leading it in points. So if he's capable of out running 16-18 year olds, I see no reason he shouldn't be allowed to ride.

    A tragedy. Yes. An accident. Yes. But that kid probably wouldn't have wanted to do anything else that day, and for that his parents can take comfort that it was the right decision.
    Why not give a 13 year old a gun then. Heck, if he's a skilled shooter. Why not. Lets give them licenses.

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    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    How do you think the drivers in NASCAR, Indy, and F1 become the best? It's because they've been racing since they were old enough to reach the go kart pedals. It's in their blood. Motorcycle racing is no different, and in fact, statistically at least, is quite a bit safer than racing the four wheelers. In fact, just for you, I looked up youth deaths in ALL sports. The most recent data I could find covered 1982-2002. Want to take a guess how many motorcycle racing deaths there were? Want to compare how many deaths there were in the other "safe" sports like basketball, baseball, cheerleading? Yes cheerleading. In fact, according to this data, a rider could die ever month for two years and not catch cheerleading. Boy, we should put a stop to that awful cheeleading we are letting our 13 year olds do.

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  12. #10
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    I think the question to be asked is not whether 13 year olds should be racing motorcycles but should they be doing it on tracks like Indy...

    I don't have the answer to that question because I don't know what the bikes these kids are riding are capable of. I don't know the data involved or anything about the sanctioning organization. The only thing I know is I was absolutely STUNNED to know a 13 year old was killed on the IMS track because I had no idea a 13 year old would be allowed on the track by any series that would be racing there.
    O'Brien has been fired! Yay! What took so long?

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    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    BBall,

    I guess that would be a legitimate question, but the fact is, this was a freak accident occurring before they were even up to speed on a warm up lap.

    Racing is inherently dangerous. If you're going to ban it from 13 year olds you might as well just ban it altogether. If kids weren't allowed to train from such a young age, then once you stick them in something really dangerous (F1, Moto GP, etc.) I think you would see deaths sky rocket in those series. They need the training at these young ages to make those series safer IMO.

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  14. #12
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    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    Quote Originally Posted by Trader Joe View Post
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    BBall,

    I guess that would be a legitimate question, but the fact is, this was a freak accident occurring before they were even up to speed on a warm up lap.

    Racing is inherently dangerous. If you're going to ban it from 13 year olds you might as well just ban it altogether. If kids weren't allowed to train from such a young age, then once you stick them in something really dangerous (F1, Moto GP, etc.) I think you would see deaths sky rocket in those series. They need the training at these young ages to make those series safer IMO.
    I wouldn't ban it from 13 year olds but I'm certainly curious about their bikes, the tracks they race on, and a 12-18 year old age group tossed in together.

    With this being a freak accident, and without more info, it's a little hard (for me) to take a hard line stand overall. OTOH, if I was IMS there would be no 13 year olds racing on the oval or road course. If the sanctioning body didn't want to agree with that then not having that sanctioning body and their series is a viable alternative. The PR hit over something like this isn't worth it and it's hard to justify putting 13 year olds in life threatening situations. And if nobody believed it was life threatening then they certainly have evidence to the contrary now.

    I'm just absolutely stunned a 13 year old would be allowed on this track though. And when the argument turns to he was more than capable of running this track then I have to ask what about those around him? Of course it's also true there are only those riders who have laid their bikes down and those that are going to so it's hard to blame him too much for losing control on a slick track but I do have to wonder how much experience (and inexperience) played a factor here in the entirety of the accident and especially the way other riders reacted initially leading up to him being hit.
    O'Brien has been fired! Yay! What took so long?

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    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    Quote Originally Posted by Foul on Smits View Post
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    Why not give a 13 year old a gun then. Heck, if he's a skilled shooter. Why not. Lets give them licenses.
    Flawed logic, my friend. The discussion is about motorcycles, not guns.

  16. #14

    Default Re: 13 Year Old Dies in Motorcycle Race Crash at IMS

    13Y is too young age to ride a bike parents are responsible for this type of incidents
    “Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.” James Dean quotes

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