Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student


USGP to review safety rules following death

INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Grand Prix Racers Union is promising a review of its motorcycle racing safety rules, conceding it will never be able to eliminate the dangers in a high-speed sport where teenage competitors are the norm.

One day after a 13-year-old rider was killed in Indianapolis, the union’s chief steward, Stewart Aitken-Cade, said series officials will review all safety measures, including new age limits.

A formal investigation, however, is not planned.

“I don’t believe there are grounds for anything drastic,” Aitken-Cade said in a phone interview. “That doesn’t mean we’re not going to look at anything that we can do to prevent something like this from happening again. This is the first accident we’ve had like this in nine years, and that’s a tremendous safety record.”

Peter Lenz of Vancouver, Wash., died Sunday after he fell off his motorcycle during a warm-up lap and was run over by a 12-year-old rider from Flushing, N.Y. Lenz is the youngest driver or rider to be killed at the 101-year-old Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and series officials said he was the first rider to be killed in their series.

Autopsy results released Monday confirmed Lenz died of multiple blunt force trauma.
The 12-year-old, Xavier Zayat, was not injured but did not race. Aitken-Cade said the boy and his family left the pits after the crash.

When Lenz fell off his bike, still photos showed him sitting on the track with his arms raised. A few moments later, Aitken-Cade and speedway officials both said Lenz stood up and started waving his arms before Zayat hit him.

“You want to make yourself as visible as possible, and that’s when you hope the safety lessons kick in,” Aitken-Cade said. “Most racing schools teach that it is safer to stay down if there are bikes flying around, but there are some different schools of thought on that.”

Aitken-Cade did not say either rider was at fault, and the owner of a California racing school that Lenz attended did not immediately return a message left seeking comment.

The speedway does have video of the accident but will not release it. Speedway spokesman Fred Nation said Lenz was being tended within 10 seconds of being struck, and the full emergency response team was on the scene within minutes.

Get stories like this in your inbox