Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions shares the concern held by all desert racing enthusiasts over the recent tragedy at the California 200, and our thoughts and prayers are with those involved. A week of reflection will perhaps allow us to reconsider this event more carefully.
The accident has already produced debate within the off-road racing community and considerable regulatory changes by several sanctioning bodies, as well it should. The racers, teams, sponsors, sanctioning bodies and fans should respond to this as they see fit to help their sport prosper in a safe and enjoyable manner. Private regulation, rules of competition and fan input should determine how our sport responds to these events. Motor racing of all types has survived for nearly a century in this way, growing ever more safe and spawning safety technologies that improve not just the sport itself, but passenger automobiles worldwide.
Sadly, tragedies such the one at the California 200 are also frequently used as a plea for more governmental regulation and interference, often by well-meaning persons who are willing to sacrifice liberty on the altar of safety. However, history shows that there is no problem so great that government cannot make it worse.
We believe the level of acceptable risk in motorsports is best determined by the fans and participants themselves, not by government agencies, insurance companies and other political bodies who do not understand the sport, do not participate in the sport and have no stake in the sport. The fact that this tragedy occurred on public lands which are already burdened with tidal waves of unconstitutional regulation demonstrates clearly that safety comes not from bureaucrats, endless laws and government, but from the purpose-driven love of the sport by those who actually participate.
Sopwith extends its condolences to those suffering in the aftermath of this tragedy, and we encourage the continued evolution of safety standards by private sanctioning bodies, fans, racers, and those to whom the sport owes its existence.
The views expressed here are those of Sopwith Motorsports and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of any series, sponsor or team. Contributions to assist the victims of the California 200 tragedy may be made at this address: http://www.fast-aid.org/california-200.html