Usually I’m discussing something to do with drag racing and most of the time it’s Nostalgia drag racing but a recent story of another motorsport caught my attention – Off-road racing. The event in question here has received more press than anyone could have imagined, especially for a small organization like MDR Productions, who put on the race. But that attention and notoriety isn’t the kind this racing series needed.
If you didn’t hear, the race was in the Mojave Desert near the quiet little town of Lucerne Valley in Southern California. It was a relatively short race and was run at night, which is somewhat unusual. During the race, one of the trucks went out of control (they are almost out of control all the time) and flipped, crashing into a crowd and killing eight people. This was a tragic incident that screams simply: What The Hell!
Now I have to say, nobody should be endangered to the point of dying when watching a race. Note, the Bureau Of Land Management oversees all these races. Interestingly, as a side note, when we go to the track, we sign a waver (everyone who’s a race team member) stating we relinquished any rights due to the inherent danger associated with being near or around the racecars and drag strip. With that said, I have a different take.
This will be short: If you go out into the desert, at night, with race cars bouncing around everywhere and you stand right next to the track (it’s just a dirt trail really), so close you could jump out and touch the vehicles as they race by, do you suppose there might be a danger and risk? Speaking of jumping out, some of these fans actually do just that, getting their thrill by reaching out to touch the trucks et al that are streaking by. Now with a modicum of common sense, with race vehicles going over 100 mph, don’t you think you should stay back at least 100 feet and not near a turn (which are stated rules for the spectators)?
If you broke the rules, should you be able to sue this organization, sponsors, the BLM or anyone else? Are you responsible for any risk? Are you responsible period?
I feel sorry for everyone including the driver who was incredibly distraught afterwards. Get this. The crazy people who were too close to the racing and DIDN’T get hit by the truck, THREW rocks at the driver right after the crash! Idiots!
There are no winners in this (except lawyers) and I suppose it could be the beginning of the end of desert off-road racing – and it shouldn’t be.