SCCA – Heartbreak in Texas

Today, we were reminded of the dangers and risks inherent in all forms of motorsport, even autocross, in the most heartbreaking way. The Texas Region of the SCCA was holding a Solo Event in one of the parking lots at the Texas Motor Speedway just north of Fort Worth, TX. Kierstin Eaddy, a 14 year-old girl racing her Formula Junior kart suffered a fatal accident after finishing one of her runs. Speculation now is that it was a stuck throttle, but regardless, it is a reminder that the sport we love and enjoy as spectators and competitors is not the safest past time available to us. Does that mean that we shouldn’t do it? No. It does mean that it is everyone’s job to ensure that we all do everything we can to make things as safe as possible.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kierstin’s family and to the members of the Texas Region. Here in the Kansas Region, we have an event coming up this weekend, and I’m sure that today’s events will still be haunting us even as we take to the track ourselves. We’ll certainly be going over our junior competitors’ karts with a fine-toothed comb, and watching over them with even more care than normal. I don’t mean to imply that the Texas Region didn’t. I’m sure they were as diligent as anyone can be. I hope this doesn’t prevent them from allowing karters to enjoy our sport in the future, but it is a sobering reminder of the sport’s perils.

I find myself thinking about my own daughter, now two years old, and how much she enjoys cars and going fast. In three years, she’ll be eligible to compete kn the FJC class, the entry-level and slowest junior kart class in SCCA Solo. Will I let her compete if that’s what she wants to do? The more I think about it, the more I come to think, “How could I not?” Is it dangerous? Yes, but so are many other activities. Accidents can happen in stick-and-ball sports, in gymnastics, horseback riding, even merely riding a bicycle. As a father, I want my daughter to do what she enjoys, and whatever she chooses, it will be my responsibility to keep her as safe as possible while still allowing her to follow her passions.

My heart hurts tonight thinking about what happened, but I’m also looking forward to seeing our Kansas City region junior karters in action this weekend.

Statement from Lisa Noble

TOPEKA, Kan. (July 20, 2014) – Kierstin Eaddy, 14, of Flower Mound, Texas, passed away on Sunday following an accident at a Sports Car Club of America autocross event being held outside Texas Motor Speedway.

From Lisa Noble, SCCA President/CEO:

“All of us at the SCCA are shocked and saddened to hear about Sunday’s tragic accident involving Kierstin Eaddy. We are a Club of families, and are shaken by the loss of this young competitor. Personally, and on behalf of the SCCA, my heartfelt condolences go out to Kierstin’s family, friends, and the participants at Sunday’s event.”

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One Thought to “SCCA – Heartbreak in Texas

  1. Alan Sheidler

    As a proponent and early adopter of the junior kart program, and a member of the Kart Committee during the formative years…. This hits me right where I live and breathe. And it knocks me down hard. I mourn for her family, and can’t imagine what it must be like for the local club members and friends.

    Over the many years we parents and adult participants may have been lulled into a less worried state by having very few, and pretty much minor incidents involving all competitors. That certainly includes the FJ drivers. Sadly, a tragedy like this one can’t be predicted and prevented. We can only do what is possible, by being vigilant regarding machinery, and training the young drivers to the best of our abilities.

    I sincerely hope that some kind of good comes from this. For me personally, it makes me want to be the tech guy for every FJ kart at every event I attend, from here forward. We owe it to Kierstin and her family to double our efforts in the interest of safe fun for all participants.

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