Motocross champ dies at national championships

One of Australia's most successful motocross riders has died after an accident at an event north of Melbourne Sunday.

Former world No. 2 Andrew McFarlane, 33, of Queensland, died after becoming airborne and landing incorrectly during a practice lap at the Australian Motocross Championships at Broadford, the Herald Sun reported.

Family and friends of the father of one, who has toured Europe and the United States in pursuit of the daredevil sport, witnessed the accident during a practice lap just after 9.30 a.m. local time.

Frantic efforts by paramedics could not revive McFarlane, who died at the scene.

McFarlane, nicknamed "Sharky,'' was a member of the JDR Motorsports team and had returned to Australia only last year after almost a decade competing on the international motocross circuit.

In an interview leading up to the Broadford event, McFarlane said he was looking forward to the competition and hinted he was preparing to wind down his career to concentrate on teaching younger riders.

McFarlane was due to compete in the third round of the 2010 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals.

The event has now been canceled, with shocked competitors taking part in a ride of honor shortly after McFarlane's death was confirmed.

"He has come off his bike, we are not sure exactly how at this stage,'' Rural Ambulance spokesman John Mullen said.

"The young man suffered extensive head injuries and paramedics attempted to revive him for more than an hour.''

Ahead of Sunday's race, the event's website said McFarlane was expected to retire from racing after the 2010 season.

Motorcycling Australia and Victoria Police have both launched investigations into the accident.

McFarlane is survived by his wife Natalie and their young daughter.

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