This weekend’s first race of the World Superbike Championship has been cancelled after a feeder series crash took the life of 15-year-old Dean Berta Viñales.
Berta Viñales was involved in a five-rider crash during the World Supersport 300 World Championship feeder series race during the first race at Jerez. The accident brought out an immediate red flag and medical personnel, and racing was quickly cancelled for the rest of the day, which underlined the severity of the incident. Soon after, it was announced that Berta Viñales had died.
“Following a serious incident during Race 1 of the Motul Spanish Round of the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, it is with great sadness that we report the passing of rider Dean Berta Viñales,” World Superbike announced.
That statement also announced that Berta Viñales “suffered severe head and thoracic injuries.” He had been transported by helicopter to the Seville Hospital, and the race was ended early before the rest of the day was cancelled.
On lap 11 of the WorldSSP300 race, Berta Viñales was involved in a crash with riders Alejandro Carrion, Daniel Mogeda, Harry Khouri, and Yeray Ruiz at Turn 2. Details are sparse, but it appears that the other riders are uninjured.
Berta Viñales is the cousin of MotoGP rider Maverick Viñales, and he was competing in his rookie WorldSSP300 season on a Yamaha with the family-run Viñales Racing Team that was founded by Maverick’s father with the goal of promoting Spanish talent in motorsport.
Berta Viñales has had a first season to be proud of. His best finish was fourth at the second race of August’s Magny-Cours event, and he had qualified 10th on the grid for this weekend’s WorldSSP300 races.
Our thoughts are with the Viñales family and Dean Berta Viñales’ loved ones. His death is yet another tragedy for teenage motorcycle riders, and he will be missed.