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Motorcycle Crowd-Surf Goes Badly (Updated)

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“This bike has no front brake,” the announcer exclaims, as champion racer and motorcycle designer Roland Sands rides a brand-new Indian “Hooligan” flat-track bike up on stage for a crowd of fans at Sturgis. Then he goes right off the edge.

(Update: Indian connected with us to clarify two people were injured not four as originally thought, and confirmed there was no mechanical malfunction.)


Sands is an institution in motorcycling, probably best known now for custom bike design but he’s got a deep history in racing too. He appears to have been riding one of the Indian “Super Hooligan” flat-track bikes that would be racing around a dirt course at Sturgis’ Buffalo Chip arena and camp ground later in the week when it simply... failed to stop.

Apparently there was no mechanical malfunction, just a simple mistake.

Buffalo Chip spokeswoman Nyla Griffith described the incident as a “malfunction” to the Rapid City Journal, adding: “He’s super experienced, and well known as an experienced bike builder and racer...” “It was just a horrible accident.”


Local news initially reported that four people were injured, but a source at Indian has told me that number was “two.”

Sands’ condition and what exactly went wrong with his bike remains unclear. we have reached out to Indian Motorcycles and Sands’ design shop for details and will update if we hear anything substantial.

Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin told ABC the incident is not considered a ‘reportable’ accident “because it did not occur on a roadway.” The 2016 annual Sturgis motorcycle rally is going on right now through the 14th, where thousands of bikers are celebrating the freedom to ride.

I was a concerned about Sands’ condition after what seemed to be a painful fall, but reports seem to indicate he was at the track again this week.