This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.
The off-road racing crash that claimed eight spectators’ lives last weekend in California would have been a senseless tragedy no matter where it happened.
The fact that the accident happened on public land makes it doubly troubling.
The California 200, a night derby in the Mojave Desert, is part of a seven-race circuit that attracts big crowds. Off-roaders in 3,500-pound trucks race around a 50-mile-long loop four times, reaching speeds topping 60 mph.
On Saturday, the race turned deadly when a racer lost control of his modified Ford Ranger truck at a jump called “the rock pile” and sailed into a crowd of onlookers who were standing as close as five feet from the course.
Video from the event shows no fencing or other protective barrier separated the crowd from the racers. Fans said that’s part of the thrill of the sport.