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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
AMA and track officials were meeting Saturday morning to discuss preventing a repeat of the situation, and may stack the barriers double high.
Ludgren was survived by his wife, Kelly, and two twin boys, age two-and-a-half.
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.
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.