GP race winner Reinhold Roth has passed away aged 68

Reinhold Roth, one of the leading racers of the 250GP class during the 1980s, has passed away at the age of 68, it has been confirmed.

Reinhold Roth

Reinhold Roth, considered one of the most promising GP racers of his generation, has passed away at the age of 68, it has been confirmed.

In an era where Americans and Australians largely dominated the premier 500GP class, Reinhold was among the top Europeans duking it out for the 250GP crown together with fellow Germans Helmut Bradl, Martin Wimmer and Peter Ottl.

A title contender for much of the 1980s, Roth passed away as a result of multiple organ failure on 15 October 2021 having required years of care as a result of a career-ending accident in 1990.

Making his GP debut in 1979, though Roth made sporadic appearances in 500GP over the next decade, it was in the competitive 250GP class that he experienced the majority of his success.

He claimed his first podium in 1985 with a second place finish at the British GP before hitting his stride in 1987 with his first win at Le Mans, which together with six podiums, taking him to the runners-up spot behind title-winning countryman Anton Mang.

He repeated the feat in 1989, scoring two more wins en route to second position behind Sito Pons.

However, tragedy would go on to strike the following year when, during the 1990 Yugoslavian GP at Rijeka (in modern day Croatia), Roth collided with a rival and suffered life-changing injuries.

An investigation showed that flags deployed for worsening weather conditions hadn’t been deployed in time for the lead group, resulting in Roth striking a slow-moving rival that had seen flags up ahead at more than 100mph.

The ensuing impact was severe enough to leave Roth with a severe brain trauma, keeping him in a coma for two months. He awoke with impairments, requiring seven years to recover his speech.

Despite this, Roth continued to live well into his 60s, remembered as one of the riders for whom his full potential may never have been quite realised.

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