Deadly Crash Could Spell End of Off-Road Racing

Feds weighing options after Mojave Desert crash kills 8
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2010 9:07 AM CDT
An off-road vehicle travels down the road Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010 where an off-road truck went out of control into a crowd at the California 200 Saturday night.   (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
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(Newser) – Off-road racing fans and promoters fear that the accident that killed eight people in the California desert Saturday night may end up killing their sport as well. The spectators were crushed when a driver lost control of his truck and skidded into a crowd just a few feet away, a tragedy that has turned a critical eye on a sport that has no enforced rules ... or guardrails, allowing viewers to get dangerously close to the 3,500-pound trucks as they lumber over jumps.

Critics of the sport say the Bureau of Land of Management should never have issued a permit for the event to be held on its property, the Los Angeles Times reports, and environmental groups complain that the desert races destroy the ecosystem and that the federal government lacks the manpower to manage them. Race organizer Ron Matthews says the BLM has refused to tell him whether they now plan to ban the sport. "They said, 'We're leaning that way but we can't give you information," he tells the AP.

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