Motorbike champion dies in Dubai Autodrome collision
DUBAI // A motorcycle racing champion was killed and a second rider left needing intensive care by a collision yesterday afternoon at the Dubai Autodrome.
Pascal Grosjean, 39, from Switzerland, had won the Sportbike Championship, Race 1 and was completing a warm-down lap when he was hit from behind by another rider.
Grosjean, the reigning UAE Sportbike 600cc champion, and the second-place British rider Jason Burnside slowed after crossing the finish line but the third-place motorcyclist, Tony Jordan, collided with Grosjean.
Jordan was travelling at an estimated 200kph, according to one witness, before braking hard metres behind Grosjean and crashing into his bike.
Burnside was not injured in the accident.
Grosjean and Jordan were thrown from their 600cc vehicles in the collision, which took place at around 2pm. The crash scene was around 300 metres beyond the finish line.
Both men suffered multiple injuries, and emergency crews rushed to the scene.
"Medical teams were immediately dispatched to the scene whereupon both riders were treated and stabilised," said a Dubai Autodrome spokesman.
"Grosjean was airlifted to Rashid Hospital from the track while Jordan was taken to the Dubai Autodrome medical centre before being taken to Rashid Hospital by ambulance.
"Reports from the hospital indicated that both riders were in a serious condition and a few hours later the passing of Grosjean was announced. Jordan remains in intensive care.
"Pascal Grosjean was one of the hardest competitors to beat on the track and was very respected by his rivals."
Carissa Crowley, the public relations and marketing manager for Grosjean's racing team Gros Gros in Dubai, said: "Pascal established a bike riding school here to train other riders about the importance of safety.
"His goal was to improve safety in the motorsport industry. It is such a great loss. He was at the top of his game.
"He was planning to go to Germany this year so that he could bring success to the team internationally.
"He was Abdul Rahman al Shamsi's coach and teammate and really hoped that they would compete internationally."
Hamish Brown, the general executive of Dubai Autodrome, said: "The Dubai Autodrome team and the motorsport community of the UAE are deeply saddened by the enormous loss and pass on our sincere condolences to Pascal Grosjean's family and friends.
"Pascal was a multiple UAE champion who was well respected in motorsport and in the motorcycle community.
"Our thoughts and prayers are very much with Tony and his family at this time. We wish him all the best and recovery during this critical period."
Dubai Autodrome said that the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the sport's governing body, had launched an inquiry into the accident.
The death is the second at the Dubai Autodrome this year.
On April 23, the Belgian driver Christophe Hissette, 29, died when his car caught fire during a qualifying session for the final round of the GulfSport Radical Cup.
Hissette was the first person in the UAE to die during a motorsport race.
Hissette achieved international success, raising the profile of Radical racing on the world stage by winning the 2009 European Masters Radical Championship with his co-driver, Bassam Kronfli.
Updated: November 27, 2010 04:00 AM