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Motocross Star Among Those Dead After Devastating Avalanche

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by Gerard Spaans/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

A teenage Motocross star died along with 11 others in an Austrian avalanche on Saturday.

Nineteen-year-old Rene Hofer was on a skiing trip with friends to almost 7,000-foot Lachenspitze mountain when the accident happened.

According to the U.K. Sun, the avalanche swept eight group members away, and Hofer died. A 24-year-old and a 19-year-old had search devices. However, one died on the scene, and another died at a hospital.

According to Dirt Bike Lover, five helicopters, mountain rescue, and the Red Cross were in action with a crisis intervention center set up in the Tweng municipal office.  

The U.K. Sun reported a third buried skier was located four hours after the avalanche and recovered. Others freed themselves and went to the hospital. The setting was ripe for an avalanche in the area, and officials also observed snowdrifts.

Motocross Star Remembered 

Hofer’s team, KTM, and others have posted memorials on social media. The star had aspirations of becoming the FIM Motorcross World Champion one day.

KTM said Hofer was a “multi-time junior champion and GP winner with a bright future in Grand Prix ahead of him.”

In an Instagram post, the team expressed sadness about the incident and sent condolences to the teen’s family.

The post memorialized his talent as well as “his approachable, fun-loving and friendly personality, along with his ever-present smile.”

They added: “Ride on peacefully, Rene. You will be missed immeasurably.”

Another team also remembered Hofer for one particular feature.

 “Hofer was no doubt one of the happiest guys in the paddock, always seen with the biggest smile on his face,” an Infront Moto Racing statement said.

Twitter user Jordan Barber added, “It’s unbelievable. Such a nice young lad, really infectious happy person. Had the pleasure of seeing him race a few times, and he was a real talent.”

Motocross Star Had Racing Skills

Hofer had an 85cc Junior World Championship and European championships under his belt in 2016. The teen also became just the third Austrian to win the world title in cross-country motorcycles.

Many took that success to mean Hofer had a bright future ahead of him.

The Linz, Austrian native got his first career start in 2005. The Red Bull Racing website noted that the racer began his profession at age four and had a winning streak from age seven onward. From 2009 to 2016, Hofer won at least one title per season.  

Hofer’s season this year had a good bit of success as well. He picked up his first race win and Grand Prix victory in Pietramurata only a few weeks ago. While representing Team Austria, he scored an overall victory in the MX2 class at the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations.