Apr 6, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Racer Ricky Lundgren suffered fatal injuries during Superstock qualifying at Fontana Friday when Jeff Tigert's tumbling bike vaulted a retaining wall and hit Lundgren.<BR><BR>The incident occured in an area of the racetrack where the infield doubles back upon itself, with traffic going one way separated from traffic going the other way by a grassy area and plastic Triton Barriers, which are about two feet wide at the base and about two-and-a-half or three feet high. The barriers at the crash site are designed to be filled with water but were not, and were fronted by a row of haybales.<BR><BR>The infield section of the track at Fontana starts with a tight left-right followed by an increasing-radius left-hand sweeper, a short straight, a wide double-left u-turn, a short straight, a fast left-right chicane, a short straight and a decreasing-radius, almost-180-degree right. <BR><BR>AMA radio traffic initially said that three riders were involved, but no official AMA statement has been released concerning the incident. A press conference clarifying what happened is expected sometime this morning at Fontana, where drizzling rain has delayed the start of practice.<BR><BR>According to AMA sources, Tigert lost the front end and fell in the left-right chicane leading to the following short straight and decreasing-radius right. His bike continued on, crossed the grassy area, started tumbling and flew over the retaining wall directly into Ludgren's path. <BR><BR>AMA and track officials were meeting Saturday morning to discuss preventing a repeat of the situation, and may stack the barriers double high.<BR><BR>Ludgren was survived by his wife, Kelly, and two twin boys, age two-and-a-half.<BR><BR>Meanwhile, veteran AMA 250cc Grand Prix racer Greg Esser remained hospitalized and has already undergone surgery to pin his broken left ankle. Esser also suffered a dislocated right shoulder and a concussion, according to his brother Brian Esser.<BR><BR>According to American Honda's Chuck Miller and Danny Hull, Kurtis Roberts will not race this weekend, due to soft tissue damage to his right knee; Roberts, who crashed in Superbike qualifying, cannot bend the knee.