Spanish riders killed in California motorcycle race


By Kristin J. Bender - Associated Press



SAN FRANCISCO — Two Spanish racers were killed in a chain-reaction crash on the first lap of a World Superbike race, leaving the racing community overwhelmed with sadness and raising questions about what happened on the track.

The deaths occurred Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey County sheriff’s spokesman Cmdr. John Thornburg said.

The sheriff’s office is not investigating the crash at the MotoAmerica Superbike/Superstock 1000 race, which appeared to be an accident, he said.

The track was dry during the race, MotoAmerica spokesman Paul Carruthers said.

“If there’s ever an issue with the track, we don’t hold the race,” he said.

Carruthers said there were 28 riders in the race and thousands of spectators in the stands when five competitors collided on the first lap. Riders were tossed into the dirt to the side of the track.

Carruthers declined to comment on whether MotoAmerica, which organizes the race, will investigate.

MotoAmerica identified the riders killed as 35-year-old Bernat Martinez of Alberic, Valencia, Spain; and Daniel Rivas Fernandez, 27, of Moana Galicia, Spain. Both were taken to hospitals, where they died.

Track spokesman David Hart said four other riders were treated at the track and released. Their names were not released.

It was not immediately clear what led to the crash, Hart said, adding that Laguna Seca will conduct an investigation.

MotoAmerica president Wayne Rainey sent condolences to the families.

“I really don’t have any words to describe what we all feel,” Rainey said in a statement. “First and foremost, is the loss to the families and loved ones.”

By Kristin J. Bender

Associated Press