By Sarah Megson
On Oct. 23, Italian Moto GP racer Marco Simoncelli of the Gresini Honda racing team died after a freak accident at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang. This tragedy came just a week after the death of British Indycar driver Dan Wheldon, 33, in Las Vegas.
The incident occurred on turn 11 of the second lap of the penultimate race of the season. Simoncelli lost control of his bike which instead of skidding into the runoff, veered him into the path of two fellow riders. The 24-year-old collided with Colin Edwards, 37, (Monster Yamaha, USA) and Valentino Rossi, 32, (Ducati, Italy) the impact of the collision caused the Italian to lose his helmet. Dr Michele Macchiagodena, who was one of the medics who attended the rider said: “Because of the crash he had during the race, in which he was hit by other riders, he suffered a very serious trauma to the head, to the neck and the chest.”
Medical teams were quick to respond and Simoncelli was rushed to the emergency medical centre. Unfortunately, after 45 minutes of unsuccessful CPR, the 24-year-old was pronounced dead at 16:56 p.m. local time. The accident lead to marshals calling the red flag and putting an immediate stop to the race.
The seriousness of Simoncelli’s crash was evident when he lay motionless in the middle of the track following the collision with Edwards and Rossi. Edwards also suffered injuries with a dislocated shoulder and as a result will miss the final race of the season at Valencia on Nov. 6.
Fatalities are becoming few and far between in the world of motor sport but the tragedy of both Simoncelli and Wheldon leave a siginificant gap in the sport that will result in further improvements to track and equipment safety measures. The funerals of both were attended by thousands of fans who lined the streets to pay their final respects showing just how much of an impact their careers had on a global scale.