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Feb 12, 2016

​Former CCS National Champion Santiago Villa, R.I.P.

Santiago Villa, circa 2010. Photo by David Swarts, copyright Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Former AMA Pro racer Santiago Villa, 39, died today of a cardiac arrest in his hometown of Bogota, Colombia, according to a report on the Colombian website and his cousin Cristina Venegas.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Villa was a successful professional motorcycle road racer in South America and North America, where his incredible love for racing motorcycles allowed him to come back from numerous crashes and serious injuries to win many Regional and National Championships.

In June of 2007, Villa crashed during AMA Superstock qualifying at Auto Club Speedway and broke eight ribs, punctured a lung, broke a wrist and spent a week in a hospital, but he came back within weeks to win CCS Florida races. Then just a few weeks later, Villa suffered second- and third-degree burns over 30% of his body in a horrific refueling fire during a pit stop in the ASRA Team Challenge at Daytona International Speedway. Just 10 days after being released from his five-week-long stay in the hospital, Villa entered 11 races at the CCS Florida season finale, crashed in one and picked up his motorcycle to finish, won another race, and did well enough in the others to capture the CCS Florida overall Championship.

In 2010, Villa raced with a 10-day-old broken collarbone and won three of his four CCS races at Daytona International Speedway. He went on to become the first rider to ever win three CCS overall Regional Championships (Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Florida) in the same season. He also won the CCS Heavyweight Supersport and Heavyweight Superbike National Championships in 2010.

In 2011, Villa won the CCS Southeast and Florida Regional Championships again in spite of breaking his left shoulder and collarbone mid-season. Later in 2011, Villa won the CCS GTO and Unlimited Supersport National Championships. Villa ended his 2011 season with a second-place finish in a Latin American Supersport Championship race in Colombia, one day after he crashed and suffered a broken shoulder blade, two fractured ribs and a concussion.

In 2012, Villa crashed on oil while riding to work in Bogota and suffered fractures to his pelvis, left foot, left wrist and left big toe, but he was back on track just one month later at the CCS Florida season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Unfortunately, that event ended when Villa crashed during a race and suffered a badly broken left femur and further damage to his fractured pelvis.

Villa returned to racing six months later, and one year after his crash he came back to win six CCS races at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In 2013, Villa won three CCS races at Roebling Road Raceway, one day before he crashed again and suffered a concussion and broke his right wrist, his left humerus, his right hand, his left foot, eight ribs and his C6 vertebra.

Villa never fully recovered from the injuries he suffered in his crashes in 2012 and 2013. 

Villa’s last CCS race was at Homestead-Miami Speedway in July of 2014 and his last CCS race win came in Heavyweight Superbike June 21, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In spite of not finishing the 2014 season, Villa placed eighth in the overall CCS Florida Championship.

Highlights from Villa’s seven seasons competing in AMA Pro Racing include a third place overall finish in the AMA Pro Moto-GT National at Heartland Park Topeka with co-rider Rodolfo Ramirez and a ninth-place finish in the Daytona 200 in 2011 on a Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600.

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