Autocross Tragedy Kills Two Racers in Washington State
It was an ugly weekend for grassroots racing in America.
Two racers have died as a result of a crash at an SCCA autocross event in Washington state. The incident occurred on the heels of another grassroots-level racing fatality, as well as a near miss at Goodwood.
The fatalities occurred Sunday at a Sports Car Club of America ProSolo autocross meet in the southwestern part of the state. According to an SCCA release, a car continued past the finish line at speed, striking a bystander before hitting a building. The remainder of the event was immediately canceled, and two competitors were acknowledged to have died as a result of the crash—though few details of the crash have otherwise been published.
The SCCA did not specify whether the driver of the car was a casualty, or what caused the crash. On the surface, a brake failure seems a likely possibility, though some SCCA competitors speculate the driver suffered a medical issue. However, the SCCA did identify which competitors were killed: 50-year-old Amber Dawn Jorgensen, and 61-year-old Des Toups, a 14-time Solo Nationals Championships competitor with two trophies.
Autocross is widely considered one of the safest forms of motorsport, owing to its lower speeds and lack of wheel-to-wheel competition. However, this crash demonstrates motorsport's inherent danger, as do other racing mishaps over the last week. Last Friday, an amateur rally co-driver was also killed in a crash in Maine. The day prior, the Goodwood Hillclimb narrowly avoided disaster when a classic Jaguar's wheel fell off and bounced into the crowd—though no serious injuries were reported.
At the end of the day, racing is dangerous, no matter how much we try to mitigate the risk of injury. It's something we have to banish from our minds every time we put on the helmet. Even so, the loss of one of our own is always a tragedy, and gives us more reason to make racing safer for the drivers and riders that'll follow in our footsteps.
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