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13 year old killed racing

Posted by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:43 AM
  • 13 Replies

USGPRU rider killed during practice

Updated: Monday, 30 Aug 2010, 7:52 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 30 Aug 2010, 11:21 AM EDT

SPEEDWAY, Ind. - A 13-year-old motorcycle racer died Sunday after falling off his bike and being run over by another motorcycle at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Peter Lenz of Vancouver, Wash., was pronounced dead by the Marion County coroner after sustaining "traumatic injuries." The accomplished teenage rider crashed on a warmup lap before his race and was struck by 12-year-old Xavier Zayat, who was uninjured in the accident.

Medical workers immediately placed Lenz in a neck brace, put him on a stretcher and began chest compressions while taking him to a hospital. The coroner confirmed his death about 3 hours later, the first at the speedway since IndyCar driver Tony Renna was killed in October 2003.

"Peter passed away early this morning when he was apparently struck by another rider," said a posting Sunday on Lenz's Facebook page, which was signed "Dad."

"He passed doing what he loved and had his go fast face on as he pulled onto the track," the posting said. "The world lost one of its brightest lights today. God Bless Peter and the other rider involved. 45 is on another road we can only hope to reach. Miss you kiddo."

Lenz rode the No. 45 bike. It wasn't immediately clear whether Lenz's parents were in Indianapolis and a home phone number for the family was not listed.

The crash delayed the start of the U.S. Grand Prix Racers Union event in which Lenz was scheduled to start, but the three races sanctioned by the MotoGP Series all started on time.

USGPRU spokesman Bill Syfan did not respond to interview requests from The Associated Press.

Despite being only 13 years old and listing his profession on the Grand Prix website as "kid," Lenz was already a well-known racer. He had been riding bikes for six years, won nine national championships and nine regional titles, and appeared to be a rising star in a series that bills itself as a prep for riders 12 to 18 who hope to compete at a higher level.

Those races are not typically held in conjunction with MotoGP events.

The fatal accident Sunday will almost certainly spark a debate about how young is too young for racers to be competing on one of the world's best-known tracks, whether it's inside a car or riding a motorcycle capable of speeds well over 100 mph.

Speedway officials declined to comment on the issue but pointed out that East Coast Region riders also compete at Virginia International Raceway and Road America, while the West Coast Region holds races at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah and Portland International Raceway.

MotoGP riders Colin Edwards and Ben Spies competed at even higher levels as teens. Edwards ran his first 250cc race at 17, while Spies made his first start in the 125cc series at 12.

Racing conditions were not ideal this weekend.

Hot, dry weather turned Indianapolis Motor Speedway's bumpy, 2.621-mile course into a slick track that was challenging even for the world's best riders.

Reigning world champ Valentino Rossi fell four times since practice opened Friday, including a spill Sunday morning during a 20-minute warmup session. Spies and points leader Jorge Lorenzo also acknowledged after qualifying Saturday that the track was difficult.

The Moto2 race Sunday was shortened after a big wreck took out four drivers on the first lap. Eight drivers did not finish that race.

Lenz had three third-place finishes this season in the 125GP class and had won three races in the MD250H class, which was the race being run Sunday.


What do you think about children racing? I can't believe parents let their kids race. That is so scary. I wouldn't even want my husband racing.

by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:43 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:47 AM

My kids don't even have bicycles. they are 10, 9 and 2.   So you really don't want myy opinion.

by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:48 AM

Well he loved it his parents knew he did they encouraged him and he was very good at it. He died doing what he loved same goes for adults. There is a risk at anytime your children are doing something could have very well been on a bicycle in the street or playing outside and a thunderstorm rolls in with lightening. I am just saying that it may be dangerous but so is getting up and starting your day in the morning. If it was something my child loved to do and was passionate about it I would let them.

by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:52 AM

When its your time to go, its your time to go. Some of us get to enjoy long & happy lives, some long & miserable ones & some go young. He could've just as easily slipped in the shower or gotten hit by a car. Why deny your loved ones activities that make them happy in fear of death? Again, when your time is up it doesn't matter how you go, you're just going.

by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:52 AM

 It was a freak accident.  The kids had lots of awards and had been racing for several years.  I have family who have raced for years, so I have nothing but remorse for the family, but it was an accident.

by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:52 AM

He was only 13....that's not even old enough to drive. What was he doing racing?

I lost my cousin to a motorcycle accident last year so this hits too close to home for me. I feel so bad that this happened to this VERY young boy and part of me wants to call his parents bad things for letting him do it, but that's probably the part of me that misses my cousin. So I will keep my yap as shut as possible.

by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:57 AM

It's very sad that he lost his life so young, but he could have been struck by a car while crossing the street.

Who's to say when our time is up and how we will go?


by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 9:02 AM
I think that if your child is responsible for their age, and you are respnsible about your child, there is nothing wrong with.
It is a tradegy for that poor kid, but they won't outlaw dirt bike's over it. I knew a kid who was racing dirt bikes since he was 3 years old. He was 7 or 8 years old and racing against teenagers and winning! His name was Cody. He broke his arm when he was at school playing and he wanted to arce so bad....his dad cut part of the cat down so he could grib the He didn't race until he was healed, but he was allowed to ride. I wouldn't have let him ride, but his dad did. That kid is probably making it big in the dirt bike world now!
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by Silver Member on Aug. 31, 2010 at 9:08 AM

 My niece's cousin's kids have been racing cycles since they were 4. The girl stopped at about 12 but the boy is 17 and still doing it.  He has had a few crashes.  He is so good that this year he got a sponsor that paid for his bikes and a new enclosed trailer to pull them.

I do not think I could let my kids race..

by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 11:42 AM

I had a kid in my pre-k class who was a motocross champion. Who knows-maybe he knew the victim. I don't think 13 is too young to race, but I do think 4 is. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. What a terrible, freak accident...

michele-7.gif picture by Michele34_photo

by on Aug. 31, 2010 at 1:11 PM

I'm truly heartbroken by this, I live in NW and have been involved in the local racing community for years. Peter was well known and loved by many in my area.This hits very close to home, especially coming from a roadracing family myself. Many of my friends personally knew Peter and the entire PNW racing community is in a somber state due to this tragedy. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Peter was a well-seasoned and accomplished racer, not just some kid pretending to be.... He had more talent and potential than most of you could ever imagine.

To learn more about Peter's racing career here is a link:

Here is a link to his memorial fund, please show your support if you can during this difficult time.

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