Nicknamed the “Wolverine” by five-time Daytona 200 Champion Scott Russell during a performance at Daytona, Westby passed away Monday, March 23, 2015, at a young 28-years old, the Tulsa, Okla., native dying from injuries sustained in a street crash.
According to Tulsa Police, the accident occurred around 8:25 p.m. Monday on Peoria Avenue just north of 15h Street. Police say Westby’s Honda Hawk – a standard, upright motorcycle – left the roadway and struck a curb. The bike then hit a concrete wall before smashing into a utility pole, police say.
Police say Westby – born February 13, 1987 – was en route to the home of his parents, former AMA Superbike racer Tryg Westby and Jane Westby. Dane is survived by his sister Scarlett and girlfriend Patricia Fernandez, also a motorcycle racer.
The sideburns-wearing Westby was loved by fans for his exciting style on the racetrack, and his attitude off the bike. Westby’s first race win arrived at just seven-years old when he piloted a Yamaha PW-50 to a win in the Gold Rush Cross Country Race at Hallett, Okla.
He began amateur racing in 2003, and went expert in 2005, winning five WERA and two Suzuki SV650 Cup championships. He joined AMA Pro Racing in 2009, competing in the AMA Daytona SportBike class through 2014. In 2010 he finished second at the Daytona 200. His best season finish was second in 2012; last year, he finished third overall after achieving three victories.
Westby’s plans for 2015 were competing in the Superstock 1000 class aboard the #00 Yamahalube-backed Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1. Westby was at Circuit of the Americas in Texas last week for the first-ever MotoAmerica test. He ended the test as the fastest Superstock 1000 pilot, and was fourth fastest overall (combined times with MotoAmerica Superbike class).
MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey commented on the tragedy: “All of us at MotoAmerica are deeply saddened at the news of Dane Westby’s passing. I watched him ride at our test last week in Texas and was impressed with his ability. He was a rising star and a rider with great potential. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his team and his friends.”
As stated previously, Westby was known for his positive attitude off the track. A great example? What he did at this year’s Daytona 200; he rode a bicycle from his home in Oklahoma to Daytona International Speedway, and then drove the pace car for the race.
The following quote from a 2012 AMA Pro Racing interview exemplifies his attitude; following is Westby’s answer to “What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?”
Dane Westby responds: “It’s a thing that I’ve found that I like the most is being able to run with some guys that are good. There are some things in my life.. I’m not a boxer, wrestler or baseball player. Motorcycle racing is something that I can do. It’s a confidence booster to be able to run with some guys that are some of the best around. Motorcycles are a big thing to me in my life.
“I enjoy riding them and going fast, but my favorite part of motorcycle racing having that good battle going back and forth. Obviously, taking a first is what I want to do, and nobody wants to get second or third, but it is the thrill of racing. You have to have the ability and work for it at the same time. It being a spec series, when you win, it’s because of you and your team.”
The staff at Ultimate MotorCycling offers its deepest condolences to Westby’s family and the motorcycle community.