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2016 Baja 500 Claims Three Lives

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/7/2016 Stefan Ogbac
jesse-james-baja-250-lucus-truck © Provided by MotorTrend jesse-james-baja-250-lucus-truck

The Baja 500 is dangerous, as this year's event again proved. Regardless of whether you're a spectator or a participant, the off-road spectacle comes with significant risks. In a statement, SCORE International Off-Road Racing has reported that three died at this year's event, including an eight-year-old boy who was fatally injured after a race truck attempted to avoid spectators during a failed turn. One of those injured was the boy's mother, who was hospitalized for injuries on her head and legs but is reportedly in stable condition.

Two riders also died in the Baja 500. Travis Livingston, a native of Palmdale, Calif., lost his life in a crash at race mile 288.9 while another rider, Noah Evermann of Alaska, was found dead by another team much earlier at race mile 180.9. All three incidents are still under investigation by local police in Ensenada, Mexico, where the event starts and ends, according to the SCORE press announcement.

Winners this year include Tavo Vildosa Jr. who piloted a Ford Raptor and was able to finish the race in 8 hours, 20 minutes and 55 seconds at an average speed of 56.86 mph. In the motorcycle division, Colton Udall took the win for the second year in a row riding a Honda CRF450X. Udall finished the race in 9 hours, 18 minutes and 11 seconds at an average speed of 51.33 mph.

Taking place on Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, the Baja 500 is the third round in a four-race series sanctioned by SCORE that also includes the Desert Challenge, San Felipe 250, and Baja 1000. Various vehicles can be entered in the Baja 500, including trucks, buggies, motorcycles, and custom race cars. Much of the course has stayed the same since it started in 1969. The race starts and ends in Ensenada, Mexico, and is usually just below 500 miles in total.

One of the most notable accidents in the Baja 500 was in 1999 when Jason Baldwin crashed into spectators, killing one and injuring six more. Authorities ruled that excessive speed was the cause of that accident, which was the second one involving Baldwin after 1998 when he collided with a motorcycle rider who was also going to enter the race.

Source: SCORE International Off-Road Racing

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