Video: Ambulance Crossing Track Causes Near Miss In Race At Roebling Road Raceway (Updated Again)

Video: Ambulance Crossing Track Causes Near Miss In Race At Roebling Road Raceway (Updated Again)

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

An ambulance produced a very scary moment during a WERA National Challenge race event March 19 at Roebling Road Raceway, near Savannah, Georgia.

Roebling Road Raceway is a club-level road race course where the paddock and most of the infrastructure is located within the interior of the track itself. To enter or exit the interior of the track, vehicles must cross over the actual racing surface at the start/finish line on the front straightaway.

The crossing point at Roebling Road Raceway is gated on both sides and most crossings are closely monitored and only done when the track is “cold,” as in no racing vehicles are active on the track, and rarely when the track is “hot,” when race vehicles are active on the track.

In some rare cases, like when an ambulance is trying to exit the track with a patient in need of critical care, Race Control gives the ambulance clearance to cross the hot track. In these rare cases, it is only done when there is a sizeable break in race traffic and with the appropriate warning flags displayed by flagging stations preceding the crossing, warning riders that the ambulance is entering the track.

On Sunday, something went wrong.

Toward the end of the Open Superstock Expert and Novice WERA National Challenge race, an ambulance pulled across the front straightaway when the track was hot with no warning to the riders, causing two riders to crash at very high speed.  And it was all caught on the forward-facing on-board camera of Novice racer Daniel Alexander.

Alexander, who was riding a Yamaha YZF-R1, is seen on the video exiting Turn Eight, passing through Turn Nine at over 100 mph, accelerating to 140 mph on the front straightaway until he sees a white ambulance crossing the front straightaway perpendicular to race direction.

Amazingly, Alexander was able to slow slightly, veer left, and miss colliding with the front of the ambulance, but lost control in the grassy area to the left of the front straightaway and crashed. Alexander was relatively uninjured in the crash, he told Roadracingworld.com in an online message, but was unable to speak on the phone prior to post time.

 

 

Dwayne A. Brown, another Novice racer on a Yamaha YZF-R1, was behind Alexander on the front straightaway. Brown veered right but clipped the rear of the ambulance, before crashing. Brown (who goes by “Dwayne Breezie” on Facebook), posted that he went to a local hospital in pain but did not suffer in any major injuries.

Brown declined to comment directly to Roadracingworld.com until he’s had a chance to acquire legal representation, he wrote in an online message.

When contacted by Roadracingworld.com, WERA responded via text message that it was working on a press release it hoped to release later today.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

 

 

More, from a press release issued by WERA Motorcycle Roadracing, Inc.:

On March 19th in the Open Superstock race at Roebling Road Raceway, there was was an incident on the front straight involving an ambulance and two riders.  The ambulance was leaving the track to transport an injured rider from an earlier incident.  Due to a miscommunication between the ambulance driver and race officials the ambulance crossed in front of two motorcycles.  Both riders did fall but walked away from the crash.  WERA is investigating what led to this incident and will be instituting any necessary changes to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

 

 

This Just In From Roebling Road Raceway owners SCCA Buccaneer Region:

Respectfully submitted

Michael Shortt

Buccaneer Member/ Past BOD.

Roebling Road Raceway

Faulkville, GA

Buccaneer Region

Sports Car Club of America.

To whom it may concern:

Roebling Road Raceway has existed for nearly 70 years outside Savannah, Georgia within the smaller community of Faulkville. Owned by the SCCA’s Buccaneer Region since 1992, the track is a part of motorsports history, utilized by road racing cars, motorcycles, and karts.

Used extensively by manufacturers and race teams for testing and practice, but most commonly used by organized sanctioning bodies for non-spectator racing, and HPDE events.

Last week, an incident occurred at our facility which was leased to WERA for a scheduled competition event.

When any group rents our facility, especially one with a long and distinguished history at the track such as WERA, we as track owners are always at arms length, that is our Standard Operating Procedure.

In accordance with the lease agreement terms of the facility, the sanctioning body is solely responsible for the complete and full organization of the event. This includes all safety personal, fire response, corner workers, communications, flagging/scoring, tech inspections, EMT workers etc.

At no time during any rental period has the track management assumed control of any facet of an event or taken over track operations.

It is now and has always been incumbent upon the leasee to properly and professionally manage their event. Within that mission, Safety has always been paramount.
Unfortunately, safety protocols were not followed by some WERA officials under the control of their Race Director. This breakdown of communication mistakenly gave affirmative direction to a third party EMT unit to proceed onto the racing surface while competitors were still riding at speed without any flagging or communication being shared with ontrack competitors.

As a result, injuries occurred – but thankfully no fatalities.

Roebling Road Raceway has no responsibility in this incident, nor does it assume any responsibility.

Further inquiries need to be directed to WERA for their response.

WERA Road Racing, Inc.

2555 Marietta Hwy, Ste 104

Canton, Ga 30114

Roebling Road Raceway will examine this incident in exacting detail to determine if there are any procedures which can be put in place to alleviate such an incident happening again.
Ultimately, Roebling Road Raceway is a rental facility for use by qualified personnel/organizations and has an excellent safety record due to our leasees following all safety protocols.

Signed.

Don Johnson

Regional Executive

Buccaneer Region, SCCA.

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