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Wednesday 13 July 2022

Ryan Varnes

AMA Pro Racing Deeply Mourns the Loss of AFT Production Twins Racer Ryan Varnes

On July 4, 2022, AMA Pro Racing announced that it was deeply saddened by the tragic loss of American Flat Track competitor Ryan Varnes (24), extending heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
Varnes, a Pennsylvania native, was involved in an on-track incident in the Production Twins Main Event at Weedsport Speedway on Saturday July 2nd. On-scene emergency personnel responded to the incident immediately and transported Varnes to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, NY, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

"The Varnes family has been a staple in the flat track community for decades, and they need our prayers during this difficult time," said Gene Crouch, COO of AMA Pro Racing. "Ryan was the class of the field, both on track and off track. His bright smile, perpetual optimism and loyal friendship will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
Varnes had made the selfless decision to register as an organ donor. His spirit will live on not just in our memories and in the record books, but also by extending the lives of others in dire need.
A memorial fund in Ryan Varnes' name has been established by the Rookies of '79, a charity that supports injured motorcyclists and their families. You can visit the Rookies of '79 website for more information about the charity and to make a donation.
We here at AMD love being able to report on AFT racing each year. Though we are doing so from several thousand miles away, what we believe is a first fatality since the AMA reimagined the series and brought it back so successfully (correct us if we are wrong,) it really breaks our hearts and reminds us all of the jeopardy that motorsports, of all kinds, professional and amateur, always carries with it.
This year has also been a tragic one for the iconic but always high-risk Isle of Man TT Races - after a Covid induced two-year break, there were five fatalities on the legendary Mountain Course this year.
British Supersport rider Mark Purslow, 29 and from Wales, died in qualifying on June 1st.
June 4th saw French sidecar driver Cesar Chanal die in a crash at the notorious Ago's Leap - named for all-time great and multi Isle of Man winner Giacomo Agostini.
No respecter of experience, the 37.3-mile public roads racecourse took veteran Davy Morgan, aged 52, on June 6. The Northern Irishman was making his 80th start at the TT.
The death toll rose to five on June 10 when two more sidecar riders, British father and son Roger and Bradley Stockton, were killed. The pair, 56 and 21 respectively, were competing as driver and passenger, having finished eighth in the first sidecar race when the incident happened on the final lap of the second race - also at Ago's Leap.
The event has been run since 1907 and ranks among the most dangerous in motorsport, with 265 deaths to date in the TT races, Manx Grand Prix and Classic TT. The only year without a fatality was 1982. This is the first time since 1989 that five TT competitors have died in the same year.
These recent fatalities are a salutary reminder of the death of Ducati rider Carlin Dunn at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2019 and of all of those who have lost their lives in pursuit of their dreams down the years.
In Carlin's case, he lost his life just yards before recapturing his Pikes Peak record time. While he was not the first motorcycle racer to lose his life in the PPIHC, history will record him as having been the last. His death ultimately proved to be the catalyst to permanently suspend motorcycle participation. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is the second oldest motorsport event in the United States, starting in 1916. Motorcycles had been participating since 1990.