Dirt Biker Killed at Pala Raceway Remembered as Loving Father, Husband

Terrence James Cook was killed in a crash at the track Friday

Authorities have identified a 46-year-old man killed while riding a dirt bike at Pala Raceway Friday as neighbors continue to mourn the loss of a man they say was a loving father and friend. 

Terrence James Cook, 46, of Oceanside, was killed in the Pala Raceway crash that happened on the 12000 block of State Route 76 near Magee Road, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office (ME) said Sunday. 

The crash happened when a 30-year-old man, who has not been identified, was riding his off-road motorcycle at the Raceway when he lost control, attempting a jump. The man crashed into Cook as he was leaving the track, Pala Raceway said.

Cook was pronounced dead at the scene, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer Mary Bailey said.

Neighbors tell NBC 7 San Diego that Cook was riding with a neighbor who witnessed the crash.

Cook's friends are shocked by his death. They say he was a hardworking man who would do anything for anyone. Cook leaves behind a wife and a young son; the plate number on his dirt bike represents his son’s birthday.

One close friend who got the call about Cook’s death thought it was an April Fool’s joke. He said once he realized it wasn’t, he was speechless.

As Cook’s wife begins to plan her late husband’s funeral, friends are helping her and her son to get through this difficult time. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with costs. They also hope to find other ways to help with fundraisers.

The 30-year-old was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, but is expected to survive, authorities said.

Pala Raceway posted a message on Instagram in response to the incident, saying in part:

“This was a 100 percent accident, not because of anyone's riding skill level...We need to pull together as a motocross community for the families and show our love and support for everybody affected.”

It's unclear whether alcohol or drugs were a factor. Cook was wearing a helmet. 

The accident is under investigation. 

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