In May this year, English motor racing driver Dan Weldon was on top of the world after winning his second Indianapolis 500; America's great race. This morning he has died in a 15-car pile-up in IndyCar's last race of the season at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Motorsport is dangerous, and those who compete at the highest level are only too aware of the danger they face every time they go out to race. But advances in safety equipment, race vehicles and track construction have made racing far safer in recent years. Dan Wheldon's death today is a reminder, a painful reminder for all who compete that nothing can ever be done to completely eliminate the risk.
Wheldon was a fellow competitor in IndyCar with New Zealand driver Scott Dixon; a former team-mate at Chip Ganassi Racing. He was a tough competitor who had gone through a lean spell, but had burst back onto the scene this season with his Indy 500 win. He leaves behind his wife Susie, and two young sons. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and with all the racing community who mourn. As a mark of respect, his fellow competitors ended the season with a five-lap salute, whilst pit crews lined the edge of the track. Even from this far afield, the sense of grief was obvious and palpable.
Rest peacefully Dan Wheldon.
UPDATE: Thanks to Youtube, here is coverage of the emotional tribute to Dan Wheldon: