California 200 Memorial Unveiled at Off-Road Expo

Oct. 11, 2010 By Josh Burns

With members of the off-road community gathering in Pomona, California, for the 2010 Lucas Oil Off-Road Expo, the Off-Road Nation paid tribute the victims of the California 200 accident on Saturday, October 9, with the unveiling of a monument built in their honor.

Families and friends were invited to the unveiling, as the Off-Road Nation mourned the loss of eight killed and the 12 injured at the off-road desert race in Johnson Valley, California, in August. The designers of the memorial contacted Off-Road Expo about having an event at the show to unveil the memorial statue they were developing.

“As an event, we were honored when the designers with this monument came to us and asked if they could host an event at the Lucas Oil Off-Road Expo,” Tom Gattuso, show director of the Off-Road Expo, said at the unveiling. “We just hope that we do it justice because it certainly has affected a lot of people.”

Family members lit candles to honor their loved ones lost in the accident.

The event was quickly rallied around by the off-road industry. Fast-Aid, which has been accepting donations to help the victims and families of those affected by the accident, was involved in the event to unveil the monument that Scott Freeman and Craig Hall constructed. The event was also organized by Bower Motorsports Media’s Charlene Bower by Dirt Sports Editorial Director Marty Fiolka, who also co-hosted the event.

“On August, 14, 2010, the lives of eight vibrant and dynamic members of off-road racing’s extended family were tragically lost in the desert a little more than an hour from here,” Fiolka said. “Sadly, it’s a safe bet that most, if not all of them, would’ve been here today amongst the thousands that will gather on these historic grounds to share the passion of the sport that we all love so much.

Family, friends, and off-road enthusiasts showed their support by signing the wall set up behind the monument.

“We all share the pain, grieve the loss and want to console those left behind and to heal the 12 that are injured. But today we can also rejoice in the fact that the aftermath of the California 200 tragedy is filled with humanity too. In the wake of our sport’s darkest moment, we did what off-road enthusiasts are known for – we overcame difficult challenges, we came together to support each other, and we gave unconditionally. In the days and nights following that dark August night, thousands of people contributed thousands of dollars to help those that needed it most.”

The large-scale monument takes the shape of a ribbon that displays the names of those who died in the accident: Michael Dickinson, Brian Wolfin, Aaron Farkas, Danica Frantzich, Anthony Sanchez, Andrew Therrin, Dustin C. Malson, Zachary Freeman. Immediate family of the victims also lit candles in honor of the deceased.

"We all lost a loved one that day. We're all left here to pick up the pieces," Todd Frantzich said during an emotional speech during the memorial unveiling.

“In the last six or so weeks, or eight weeks almost now, Fast Aid has raised over $150,000 from the off-road community to help those who are in need as a result of this tragic accident,” Fast Aid President Jared Tetzlaff said. “And I am honored to say that we have already been able to give back $50,000 of that in assistance to the families for various bills and medical expenses and everything else that goes along with the loss or injury of a loved one.”

Plans are still being worked out regarding the monument’s permanent location. For more information on Fast Aid or to donate to the organization for the California 200, visit http://www.fast-aid.org/california-200.html.

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