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Motorcycle race turns deadly at VIR

A North Carolina man died of injuries he received in a chain-reaction crash that occurred in Turn 14 during a motorcycle race at Virginia International Raceway in Alton on Saturday.

Robert C. Gette, 38, of Charlotte, N.C., died at the scene becoming the fourth fatality at VIR since the track reopened in March 2000 after being closed for 25 years.

It is at least the fifth fatality since the track originally opened in 1957, according to published reports.

A state police report indicated the fatal crash occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon on the racetrack when a Yamaha 250 lost control and overturned onto the track. When a Suzuki sv650 came up behind and swerved to avoid the crashed motorcycle, the Suzuki lost control and overturned.

As Gette, the driver of the Suzuki, was getting onto his feet, he was struck by a Moriwaki 250, the state police report stated. The Moriwaki, operated by a 12-year-old male from Sutton, W. Va., was unable to avoid the downed motorcycle and its rider.

James Bonner of Coopersburg, Penn., operator of the Yamaha, was transported by ambulance to Danville Regional Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, according to state police reports.

The 12-year-old male was flown to Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina for treatment of serious injuries, authorities said.

All racers were wearing helmets and full race gear. Motorcycles participating in the race typically reach speeds between 60 mph and 80 mph, the state police report stated.

No charges will be filed.

Senior Trooper T.C. Comer responded to and investigated the crash at VIR on Saturday.