Final salute: Bermuda’s Toriano Wilson, on bike No. 26, is seen here during a pre-race parade lap on Sunday before his fatal crash. *Photo supplied
Final salute: Bermuda’s Toriano Wilson, on bike No. 26, is seen here during a pre-race parade lap on Sunday before his fatal crash. *Photo supplied
Toriano Wilson was killed by a freak accident that could have happened to any rider of any experience level, onlookers who witnessed Sunday's crash have said.

Willie Cooper, 48, from Virginia Beach, was in the stands close to the corner where Wilson came off his bike on turn six of lap one at the Virginia International Raceway on Sunday.

"There was kind of a chicane on that part of the track and I guess Wilson over-ran it.

"His bike went down and kicked up a cloud of dirt. I guess it was hard for the other riders to see.

"He was okay after the crash. He was trying to get his bike back up and out of the way because it was lying on the track and he was just hit by the guy coming behind him.

"It was the start of the race and the riders were pretty bunched up so it was hard for them to swerve and avoid him. If it had been later in the race they would have been more spaced out and there would have been time for him to get out of the way.

"It didn't really look like anybody did anything wrong. It was just an unfortunate combination of events.

"It wasn't a case of kids not knowing what to do or anything like that. Riders have falls like that over and over again - even the adult pros."

His friend Anthony Wilkins, from Chesapeake, had been watching from another side of the track.

Wilson had caught his eye during the parade lap because he was impressed to see a young black rider among the elite group of kids and he snapped the photo above.

Minutes later he watched in horror on the large screen that transmits video stream from other parts of the track as Toriano was involved in the three-way crash.

"You could tell immediately that it was pretty bad. They didn't show the replay and they suspended the Red Bull race."

Cooper and Wilkins, who had been at the Virginia track for the weekend of American Motorcycle Association pro racing which includes the Red Bull Rookies series on the undercard, said Wilson had immediately caught the eye as the only black rider.

Cooper said: "It was more personal that it was him. I didn't know of him before the race but over the last few days I've been reading about him and learning about some of his accomplishments and it makes it even worse to find out what a really special person he was.

"I really feel for his family and for Bermuda because it's a small place and when you produce someone like that everybody contributes."

The two other riders involved in the crash were Garet Tomlinson, of Texas, who suffered only minor injuries and Argentinian Luciano Ribodino, also 14, suffered a broken left arm and broken right femur.

"The AMA and Red Bull have a long history in racing and every effort is made to create the safest possible environment for all participants," Red Bull race series spokesperson Jordan Miller wrote in a press release. "Unfortunately, racing also carries inherent risks. This was a tragic accident and our thoughts are with both families at this time."

The U.S. Rookie Cup Series, in its inaugural year, is billed as a platform for showcasing young road racing talent between the ages of 13 and 16 years old. Twenty-three teenagers were selected from a pool of more than 600 applicants to compete in this year's series and were provided identically prepared standard specification 125cc Grand Prix bikes, which hit speeds of up to 85 mph.