Motorcyclist's death ruled as 'tragic accident'

  • 2005-07-13
  • From wire reports
RIGA - The Latvian Motor Sports Federation concluded its investigation into the death of motorcyclist Ugis Metra on July 8, having determined that his fatal fall during a race on July 2 was "a tragic accident", said federation president Kaspars Cveigelis.

The commission ruled that the race had been organized in compliance with all federation regulations, and reported no violations on the part of event organizers.

Metra died during a race on the Melnezera track in Tukums, western Latvia, where he had registered in the Open Hobby Class. The experienced motorcyclist, 39, began his career on the Latvian team during the Soviet era.

Officials believe that the athlete, who was leading the race, intended to make a spectacular jump for his fans but changed his mind at the last second, losing control of the bike. Metra flew over his handlebars and died on the way to the hospital.

The accident happened on a stretch of the track that wasn't particularly dangerous, said federation president Kaspars Cveigelis.

"Yet even an empty shotgun can fire once," he added.

The investigation verified that preparation requirements for the track had been met, and that quick and professional medical assistance had been received. Metra knew the track well, having helped build it himself, Cveigelis said.

Eyewitness statements were considered during the investigation, in which experts concluded that Metra's fall was "the consequence of a tragic accident." Crashes and falls occur frequently in motor races, the commission explained, adding that every motorcyclist is aware of this.

"However, fan excitement and an athlete's success are also characteristic of this sport, which enables the sportsmen to prove their skills on a technically well-equipped track and not on a street, which could threaten people's lives," federation representatives said.