Youth Motorcycles Racing
It was neither Peter nor Xavier’s first serious accident. Peter crashed into a tire wall at Portland International Raceway in May 2009 when he dove into a corner to find he had no brakes. He broke several bones—the tibia and fibula just above the boot line, a femur and a humerus just above the elbow—and severed a radial nerve, all requiring multiple surgeries.
In July, Xavier posted on his Facebook page that he had just undergone a four-hour surgery on his left hand, injured in a crash at Road America.
Following Peter’s death, the media promptly chose sides on how young is too young to go racing. “Yeah, ” wrote John Canzano in the Oregonian. “These are children. We figure 12 and 13 is too young to make an informed decision, so we don’t let them vote or drive legally on the streets.” On the other side, and in the minority, Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star: “Young people get hurt, or even worse, playing football, playing hockey, playing any sport. Some of the most devastating injuries come in cheerleading.”
There is no argument that it was an awful scene at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that Sunday. John Ulrich, who was there, wrote for Roadracing World: “As the news spread through the pits, Xavier sat in a chair, bent over with his face on his knees and his arms wrapped around his head, sobbing.”
“There’s a different acceptance when it comes to injury and the dangerous aspect of racing, ” says psychologist Cohn. “They almost look at injury as a part of [their] sport, and you just have to accept that.”
Pigot’s plan is to keep moving up the open-wheel ladder. “My goal, ” he says, “is to get into Indy cars.”
But even if you make it that far, Richie Hearn can tell you it doesn’t mean you’re set for life. Hearn won the 1995 Toyota Atlantic championship, then in 1996 finished third in the Indianapolis 500, earning rookie of the race honors, and won the Indy Racing League event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.