Category: Other motorsport

MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli has been killed in a collision at the Malaysian motorcycle Grand Prix which took place earlier today. He was 24. The Italian, who was racing in his second season in the top category, was battling with Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista when his Honda lost front-end grip. As Simoncelli struggled to stay on the bike, it veered into the path of Yamaha rider Colin Edwards and Ducati rider Valentino Rossi, neither of whom had time to react. Medical personnel were on the scene immediately to take Simoncelli to the medical centre, but despite the best efforts of the medical centre he was pronounced dead at 4:56pm local time. The race had already been cancelled in light of reports that he was in critical condition, reports which sadly proved all too true. His death comes just over a year after the death of Moto2 rider Shoya Tomizawa at Misano, and is the first fatality in the top category since Daijiro Katoh at Suzuka in 2003.

Marco was a very talented rider and widely regarded as a future champion in the making, and in his all-too-brief career he had won the hearts of many, both in the community and among spectators. It is a tragedy that a young man with such promise has had his life taken away so soon, particularly in light of the equally tragic loss of Dan Wheldon barely a week ago. It has been a very black week for motor racing indeed.

My thoughts and prayers are with Marco, his family and friends, and the entire MotoGP community at this desperately sad time.


Dan Wheldon 1978-2011

British racing driver Dan Wheldon has died from injuries sustained in an accident at the IndyCar Las Vegas Indy 300. He was 33. Wheldon, who won the championship in 2005 as well as the Indy 500 in 2005 and 2011, was racing in the event – the season finale – in an attempt to win a $5m jackpot available to any guest driver who won the race. In a fitting tribute to the man’s character, he had planned to split this with a fan via a competition. He was working his way through the field on lap 11 when a multiple-car accident occurred, in which his #77 car was caught up. He was airlifted to hospital but succumbed to his injuries at 1:54pm local time. IndyCar called off the race after the news was confirmed, and the drivers performed a 5-lap salute in his honour. His countryman Dario Franchitti has secured the title, albeit in circumstances no one would have wished for.

I offer my condolences to Dan’s family and friends, and to the IndyCar community, all of whom will be deeply affected by this tragic news. He was also well known among the F1 fraternity, including Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson whom he raced against in go-karting, both of whom have expressed their shock and sorrow. British motorsport, and motorsport in general, has lost a talented ambassador and a great man.

Erratum: An earlier version of this post stated that Dan won the Indy 500 in 2010 as opposed to 2005. This error was corrected as soon as it was spotted.