On a beautiful sun-soaked day, which featured some of the most talented riders in the world competing at the highest level, we were quickly reminded just how precious and fleeting life can be.
Just 13 years of age and filled with potential, Peter Lenz was killed in the warm up lap procession of the 125cc event when he was struck by another competitor, casting a huge dark cloud on the remaining portion of the day and raising the inevitable question of what age is proper for competing in this exciting, yet obviously dangerous global sport?
But despite this tragedy, the balance of the day’s events went on, and all information pertaining to the death of Lenz was withheld from the general public until after the main event had been completed per the request of his family.
Spain’s Dani Pedrosa overtook pole sitter Ben Spies on lap seven of the Red Bull Moto GP event and was never challenged as he cruised to his third victory of the year for his Repsol Honda team and his first at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“ I am really happy with this victory,” said Pedrosa in the news conference afterwards. “Last year we lost this race after sitting on the pole when crashing on lap four, so this is indeed a satisfying result.”
Spies was impressive the entire day and drove a gritty race from the pole to finish in the runner up position. “I am pretty happy where we ended up,” said the affable Texan. “We had a great weekend and to be the highest finishing Yamaha is indeed an accomplishment.”
Current points leader and 2009 Red Bull Moto GP winner Jorge Lorenzo was understandably upset after the race, complaining of a lack of speed in the straights. “The conditions were incredibly hard, and I did not ride as well as I am capable of,” lamented the Team Yamaha ace.
Seven time Moto GP champion Valentino Rossi finished fourth and Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the top five, on a day in which you could have argued, in my humble opinion, for the cancellation of the main event due to the tragic circumstances involving young Lenz. Sadly, the show went on.
NOTES: Heat indeed was a factor for the riders as it warmed up to the lower 90s by the time the green flag was dropped at 3 p.m. for the main event in front of an announced attendance of 62,794. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway cannot be pleased with such a meager attendance figure.
With the original three-year contract with Moto GP ending, a one-year deal for 2011 has been announced. The fact that it is only a one-year deal does not bode well for the future of this series at IMS. Next year could indeed be the end for this great international event.
“Tonight Show” host Jay Leno was in attendance and served as the grand marshal. The 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya was also at the race. Both seemed to be having big fun in the garage area before and during the event.
Hats off to the throngs of people who rode their bikes safely in and out the Speedway during the weekend. Few incidents were reported and it was indeed intoxicating to see all of the bikes converge at 16th and Georgetown. Nice job folks.
Danny Bridges, who could barely ride a bicycle at age 13, offers his sincere condolences to the family of Peter Lenz. You can call him at (317) 578-1780 or by e-mail at [email protected].