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Reports Received of Horrible Crash at Southern California Motocross Track Involving Several Stars

This past weekend in Southern California, at a motocross track known as LACR (L.A. County Raceway), an event called “Day in the Dirt” sponsored by James Cameron (director of the movie “Titanic”) and Troy Lee of Troy Lee Designs took place.

It was supposed to be a “fun and casual” race before everybody got serious with the start of the AMA Supercross Series in January 2000. Invited were several top riders, both past and present.

Reports on the internet about what happened at this race are somewhat inconsistent, but a few things are known for certain. During a race involving several current and former pros, a crash occurred that ended up being a huge “pile up” — apparently on the far, blind side of a jump face. A downed rider, who was unseen by several following riders, was crashed on top of by a series of riders.

The most seriously hurt is a young, 19 year-old KTM factory rider named Donovan Mitchell who has suffered a spinal cord injury (the cord has not been severed, but has been damaged) resulting in some paralysis at this time. Others riders reportedly involved, but less seriously hurt, include Yamaha of Troy rider, and current East Coast Supercross Champion, Ernesto Fonseca, Troy Lee himself, Rodrig Thain (another factory KTM rider in the U.S.), Ricky Johnson, Guy Cooper, and possibly Jeff Ward.

Fonseca may have suffered a fairly serious concussion, and was hospitalized briefly. Thain was also hammered pretty good, but current reports indicate he has no permanent/serious injuries.

Obviously, we will do our best to update this report with more solid information as soon as possible.

We find ourselves speculating about safety at this track for this event. Where were the flagmen? Motocross fans know that, in a well-run race, flagmen are placed strategically around the track to warn riders of a downed rider — particularly around a blind corner or on the other side of a jump. We will also investigate this aspect of the race, and let you know what we find out.

Obviously, this is a very tragic event, and our thoughts go out to Donovan Mitchell and his family. We are always affected by serious injuries to participants in motorcycle racing — even more so when it involves a very young rider such as Donovan.