Spanish 13-time world champion racer in serious condition after accident

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Ibiza (Spain), July 26 (IANS) Spanish motorcycling legend Ángel Nieto, a 13-time Grand Prix world champion in two categories, on Wednesday suffered a road accident while driving a quad bike on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza that left him seriously injured, officials said.

Nieto, 70, was rushed to the hospital with a strong blow to the head after his ATV collided with a car at a traffic circle in Santa Eulária, on the road to the town of Santa Gertrudis, located in the centre of the Balearic island, reports Efe.

According to sources in Santa Eulária’s municipal government, the accident took place at 10.25 a.m. local time.

Local newspaper Diario de Ibiza cited the car’s driver as saying she had not seen Nieto had braked while approaching the crossroads and crashed into him from behind.

Nieto’s relatives told Efe that he was hospitalised at the Rosario Polyclinic. They added he was being subjected to diverse medical tests and awaiting a diagnosis.

Santa Eulária local police said they were investigating the accident’s cause.

Nieto won 13 Grand Prix World Championships between 1969 and 84 — eight in the 50cc category and five with 125cc engine capacity.

However, being extremely superstitious and a notorious triskaidekaphobe, he always referred to his championship tally as 12+1 and used those numbers in his autographs.

Considered by many in the motorcycling world to be one of history’s greatest racers — despite competing in “smaller” categories, and never in MotoGP — he is also the uncle of former Superbike and 250 cc GP racer Fonsi Nieto.

The year 2017 has been a particularly bad year for motorcycling racers: former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden was also involved in a serious road accident earlier in the year, which ultimately cost him his life.

Hayden, an American racer who was nicknamed “The Kentucky Kid”, was out riding a bicycle with friends on roads near Italy’s Adriatic Coast when he was hit by a car, causing severe head and chest trauma that eventually led to his death on May 22.

–IANS

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