By Øyvind Aas
A tragic accident marred an other wise great race in and around Drammen, where the Norwegian Marathon Mountain Bike Championships were held in conjunction with the P4 Mountain Bike Race on the weekend.
The race was run in a three clover patterned course with riders entering the main square in Drammen three times. It was after the first lap that disaster struck. On a makeshift bridge built especially for the race, so that riders can pass over and under on their way in and out of the main square, a 37 year-old rider came off and landed on his head on the paving stones below.
Medics and an ambulance were quick to respond, but the rider died in hospital the night after the race.
"This is very sad and tragic to experience when we have done our outmost to ensure the safety of the riders." Race organizer Svein Bolsad said to Drammens Tidende.
Marius Meinseth was just behind the deceased rider when he crashed. "We came into the town at high speed. At the last edge of the bridge he jumped, but his rear wheel landed at an angle and he came off hard, face first," said a shocked Meinseth.
The organizers will now review the security of the race. Before the race, they were most concerned about how to protect riders from the traffic, but never expected anything like this could happen on the square.
534 riders participated in the 68km long race that was held for the second time. The mountain bike race that takes in some of the best trails Drammen has to offer is highly regarded among the racers.