One year ago today the off-road racing community suffered its greatest loss when a terrible accident at the MDR California 200 night race took the life of 8 of its own and injured 22. Throughout the past year, many fundraisers have been held by Fast-Aid and others in the community, to raise awareness and assist the families, both financially and emotionally, who lost so much that night. The idea was put forth to come up with a monument that would be built and placed somewhere permanently to always remember those we lost that tragic night. Dana Dague was one of the creators of the memorial and, thanks to a design by Scott Freeman, and the craftsmanship of Craig Hall and R&I Industries, the monument was built.
Finding a home for the monument was not an easy task. It took almost a year to find a suitable and legal location to mount the monument, one that would be visible to the off-road community as well as others. There were a few suggestions for spots but one stood out above the rest – Slash X Cafe Ranch in Barstow, CA owned by the Lynn family. The cafe was a long time, iconic spot in Barstow. Many offroaders stop by every weekend for a cold drink and some awesome home cooked food. Making the arrangements for mounting the monument there was not an easy task but thanks to Lucas Hand from Fast-Aid he was able to make the connection to Slash X owner Brian Lynn. Brian was very happy to have the monument there and was working with Lucas to figure out the best way to display it. They came up with a concept and thanks to help from many people including the Green Army, Ahern Rentals, Worthing General Services, and other volunteers such as Mike Snoddgrass, Matt Savatos, Tom Wells, Larry Atzet, Rhonda Parkhouse, and Sharlene Miscik-Skoczylas the memorial was brought to life.
The design features a figure 8 layout of rocks in the shape of the memorial on the ground with the memorial itself sitting at the top. Around it are 8 trees, with each tree representing each of the 8 people lost that tragic night: Aaron Farkas, Danica Frantzich, Michael Dickinson, Andrew Therrinn, Anthony Sanchez, Zachary Freeman, Dustin Malson, and Brian Wolfin. There are also 22 shrubs planted along with 22 lights to signify each of those injured. There is also an American flag at the middle of the entrance which is also lit up at night by one of the 22 solar lights.
As if the tragedy of that night was not enough alone, just two days prior to the unveiling of this awesome memorial, Brian Lynn the owner of Slash X and one of the main people who helped get this monument in place, was on his way out to the ranch when he was struck head on just a mile or so from the ranch on highway 247. Brian passed away shortly after. His wife Gayle was also in the car with him and is currently in the hospital in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery. Jared Tetzlaff the president of Fast-Aid described it best, “The word tragic does not seem adequate to describe the events of this week that took Brian’s life. His generosity, support, and involvement in the off-road community was truly embodied by his enthusiasm to have the California 200 Memorial permanently placed on his property at Slash X”. The Lynn family was gracious to still allow the event to go on at their ranch and even had the cafe open for business during the event yesterday. Soda’s were donated as donations were received to help the Lynn family. The family also asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made directly to Fast-Aid. They truly are great members of the community.
There was a BBQ yesterday along with a raffle put together by Cortney from Poison Spyder. Bryant Layton did the announcing and raffle drawing which included many very cool and unique items donated to the raffle and lots of tickets were sold. There was also a silent auction where some bigger ticket items were purchased. Some very cool side items were raffled off also thanks to some great people such as Dana Dague and Rick Johnson’s (both of the RJ’s). Dana auctioned off a ride in his truck at the Rage At The River event later this year riding with Harley Letner driving his truck both Saturday and Sunday! Rick Johnson auctioned off a ride in his trophy truck when they go testing today which sold for $350. All funds raised went straight to Fast-Aid.
The CHP officer who was one of the first on scene to the accident last year wanted to do something special for the community on that day so he arranged to do a flyover in the CHP helicopter. They circled around for a few minuets to show their support.
At 6PM everyone headed over to the monument for the dedication ceremony. The service was lead by Chaplain Steve Hanson from Racers For Christ and he along with Lucas Hand (the man with the biggest heart ever) did a great job and it was a very touching and emotional ceremony. They reminded us to live every day to the fullest and never forget those who gave so much. Many family members were present from the 8 that were lost and the event was very touching for them. Now they know that their family members will live on forever in the off-road community and they have a place for everyone to come out and visit them forever.
Words can not describe what an awesome job everyone involved with this project did. Everyone must make it a point to sometime come out to the Slash X Cafe and see this monument in person. From the ground it’s placed in to the ribbon itself being tig welded it truly is a work of art. If you would like to make a donation towards this product please visit www.fast-aid.org Many thanks to EVERYONE who was involved in even the smallest parts of making this event happen. Now truly we can say that the 8 lost and 22 injured on that tragic night one year ago will never be forgotten.
Words and Photos by Austin Farner