Malfunctioning brakes were to blame
Four children were among eight spectators injured on Saturday morning, June 6, at the outset of the 47th running of the Baja 500 off-road race in Ensenada, according to multiple press accounts.
The onlookers were seated at the side of the road when the driver of car No. 1089, belonging to GT Racing of Mexicali, lost control of his vehicle, ran off the road, and hit a utility pole, according to La Jornada, a Baja California newspaper.
A member of the racing team told the newspaper the driver deliberately left the roadway and aimed at the utility pole after discovering that his brakes had failed and in order to avoid hundreds of spectators along a curve a few yards ahead.
Authorities identified the injured as Mariana Trujillo Anguiano, 8; José Alejandro Trujillo, 5; Adolfo Aldez, 64; Jaime Sofía Romero, 18; Manuel Leyva, 4; Omar Nicolás Estrada, 8; Leandro Solís Arsula, 50; and Nicolás Estrada Mora, 54.
None of the spectators was believed to have sustained serious injuries in the accident, but all were taken to area hospitals as a precaution, multiple newspapers reported.
According to La Jornada, the race's entry fee paid for insurance to cover treatment for the injured.
The newspaper said it was the first time in nine years of the Baja 500 that such an incident had occurred.
Members of the racing team complained to La Jornada that security measures at the event should be stricter since the only thing separating onlookers from the raceway were plastic posts connected by a ribbon of plastic tape.
An account of the incident on the Off-Road.com blog made no mention of the injuries: “A lengthy delay stopped the action this morning after a racecar lost control of their [sic] vehicle only a few turns into the race, thereby knocking down a power line that forced a complete stop to the race. All vehicles have now left the line with the hopes of returning to finish the 510.58-mile course….”