Jun 25, 2008
© 2013, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release
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 Roadracimgworld.com. "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 Roadracingworld.com, 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."