Esperance motocross teenager killed in ‘freak accident’, second WA rider to die in competition since 2019

A 14-year-old motocross rider from Esperance has become the second teenager to die in as many years during a WA motocross competition in what is described as a “freak accident”.

Tributes poured in for young rider Tyron van der Walt, who died Sunday during a competition at the Esperance Motorcycle Club after landing awkwardly from a jump.

The Esperance High School student received immediate first aid but died at the scene.

Esperance Police Senior Sergeant Justin Tarasinski said the teenager was wearing mandatory protective gear.

“We have already confirmed that he is wearing all the necessary safety equipment,” Senior Sergeant Tarasinski told the ABC.

Runners at Esperance’s Shark Lake Track prepare for the start of a race. (Provided: Esperance Motorcycle Club/Facebook)

“Words just can’t describe”

The teenager’s death is the second fatal accident in WA motocross competition in two years, following the death of 17-year-old Rhys Burnett at a state championships round in Manjimup in 2019.

A screenshot of a social media post's comments about the death of a young motocross rider.
Tributes on social media to young motocross rider Tyron van der Walt.

Senior Sergeant Tarasinski said bystanders did everything they could to save the boy.

“Two off-duty St. John Ambulance volunteers are members of the club and were present, and they were with him within 30 seconds and made all attempts at CPR, but tragically he was unresponsive and did not could not be revived,” he said.

“Any loss of life is a tragedy, but the death of a 14-year-old boy with his whole life ahead of him, words just can’t describe.”

“Everyone will find it hard to come to terms with what happened, and we will wrap our arms around the community as much as possible.”

A screenshot of an online crowdfunding campaign for a deceased young motocross rider.
An online crowdfunding campaign for the teenager’s family received more than 120 donations in just 12 hours.

Family thoughts and prayers

An online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the boy’s family raised more than $16,000 in just a few hours.

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In a statement, Motorcycling WA CEO Carl Grossetti said “our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of a 14-year-old young man.”

“We are particularly mindful of the president, committee and volunteers of Esperance Motorcycle Club who were present during this incident and offer them our continued support and contact,” he said.

“As the matter is the subject of an ongoing police investigation, no further public comment will be provided at this time.”

WorkSafe plans to send investigators to Esperance’s trail today.

The tragedy comes nearly four years after WorkSafe investigated the death of an eight-year-old girl during a drag race in Perth in 2017, resulting in a series of recommendations to improve safety for junior drivers .