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Swedish ice racer dies after high-speed crash

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Swedish ice racer dies after high-speed crash
08:49 CEST+02:00
A Swedish ice racing rider has died in hospital after an accident during Wednesday's tournament in the ABB Arena in Västerås in central Sweden.

The racer's motorcycle slammed into a rail as he guided it round a curve. It is presumed that the bike sustained a puncture, an employee at the stadium told the TT news agency.

The rider lost consciousness during the accident but came to shortly before being transported to hospital by ambulance.

The race night continued and had been completed by the time news filtered through about his death.

"Family members have been informed," said Per Westling, secretary-general of the Swedish Motorcycle and Snowmobile Federation (SVEMO).

"The riders and team leaders are busy discussing exactly what happened."

According to Westling, accidents are not a common occurrence in ice racing.

"It does look very dangerous, but often the riders are very talented and very safety conscious."

Westling claimed that he is not aware of any other fatal accident in the history of ice racing, pointing out that it is the first fatal accident in the sport of motorcycle racing for four years. On that occasion a speedway rider died after a crash, leading to the introduction of an air-filled fence around the tracks.

"When something like this happens it means that we look through the racing regulations again to see if there is anything we can do," Westling said.

Currently the curves are equipped with protective barriers, but not on the straights.

Ice racing is run under essentially the same rules as speedway with riders using bikes with two gears and no brakes.

The tyres carry steel studs measuring up to 28 millimetres long, which are designed to provide traction on the ice. This means that motorcycles can maintain very high speeds even while travelling round the bends.

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