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On 12 June 1983 Rüttimann took part in the Yugoslavian Grand Prix, sixth round of the World Motorcycle Championship, held at the extremely fast and dangerous 4.168-kilometer Automotodrom Grobnik, in Rijeka, Yugoslavia (now Croatia). While holding one of the last positions in the race, Rolf Rüttimann lost control of his MBA at the left-hand bend in front of the pits, on the twenty-third of 27 laps, and fell from his motorcycle at about 160 km/h. After hitting the pavement, he slid for more than twenty meters being run over by his own mount, and then crashed hard into the outside guardrail, hitting his head at the lower element of it.
Gravely injured, Rolf Rüttimann remained trapped under the guardrail for almost six minutes, before being rescued and immediately taken to a hospital in Rijeka. He passed away at that clinic a few hours later that same day.
125cc World Championship
Rijeka (Autodromo Grobnik)
Yugoslavian Grand Prix
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