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Jun 25, 2008

USPGRU Racer Smallwood Breaks Vertebrae After Hitting Tire Wall At VIR

Racer Scott Smallwood fractured two vertebrae when he crashed into a tire wall during the USGPRU 125cc Grand Prix June 22 at Virginia International Raceway.

"I hit the tire wall @ the bottom of the 'Hog Pen' turn (last turn, #17) @ Virginia International Raceway [VIR] last weekend," Smallwood wrote in an email to "In the melee, I broke the C5 & C6 vertebrae, and I am quite lucky to be alive and not paralyzed. My last lap was in the 1:35s, which is MUCH faster than I have EVER gone there."

Responding to an inquiry by, Smallwood added that he got off line entering the "Hog Pen" and ran off the track and crashed into the tire wall.

"The right hand final turn @ VIR 'The Hog Pen' is a descending right-hand dual-apex turn that consequently has a tire wall positioned @ the bottom of grassy run-off," Smallwood wrote in a follow-up email. "In prime conditions (dry grass) it is impossible to stop a GP 125 machine or even slow the vehicle before the tire wall. In conditions where the grass may be wet from dew/condensation I could not imagine anything but a velocity gain if the rider accidently exited the track.

"VIR being the first-rate facility that it is (and I do love the place), needs to take a much closer look @ this particular obstacle/barrier and reconsider the installation of a gravel trap and /or Air Fence. I am sure that I am not the first and certainly will not be the last that meets the 'Great Wall of Goodyear.' I again hope that VIR will revisit the idea of additional run-off or safety barriers at this particular location and others at their first-rate facility."