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Aug 15, 2002

Injured Himmelsbach Was Unattended For 17 Minutes Following VIR Crash

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Veteran racer Bill Himmelsbach lay unattended with a broken pelvis, broken ribs and a collapsed lung for 17 minutes after he crashed on the opening lap of the first official practice session of the AMA weekend at VIR.<BR><BR>Himmelsbach fell on his out lap when his Yamaha TZ250 puked cooling water, which flowed into the dammed-fairing but escaped through a drain hole that is supposed to be plugged during dry-weather use.<BR><BR>He lay trackside, alone, while riders--who saw the incident and noted that no workers had gone to Himmelsbach--repeatedly came into the pits and asked that the session be red-flagged and Himmelsbach assisted.<BR><BR>The first rider to come into the pits was Ed Sorbo, who told a grid marshall, who radioed race control.<BR><BR>Sorbo came back into the pits after the next lap, and again asked that the session be red-flagged and Himmelsbach assisted. The grid marshall again radioed race control.<BR><BR>Next, rider Andy Edwards came into the pits and asked the starter to red-flag the session; the starter radioed control.<BR><BR>Finally, an irate Rich Oliver came into the pits and demanded that something be done, and this time, race control responded to the radioed-in report of Oliver's demands by calling for a red flag.<BR><BR>Elapsed time from Himmelsbach's crash to the red flag was 17 minutes, with some additional time for an ambulance crew to reach Himmelsbach.<BR><BR>AMA officials had a meeting with the ambulance service providers after the incident, and said afterwards that the placement of the nearest ambulance made it impossible for it to go to Himmelsbach's position without getting too close to the hot racetrack.<BR><BR>The ambulance was repositioned after the meeting.<BR><BR>No explanation was given regarding why Sorbo, Edwards and Oliver had to come into the pits to get a red flag, nor regarding why action was not taken when Sorbo and Edwards first requested it.<BR><BR>Because the session in which Himmelsbach fell was the first on Friday morning, scheduling concerns did not come into play.