When Dane Westby passed away March 23 at 28-years young, the motorcycle-racing community was full throttle with memorials for the Wolverine. Heart-wrenching videos were created, and rides were held across the country.
But what would become of the Yamalube/Westby Racing efforts in MotoAmerica, where the Oklahoman Dane was set to pilot the #00 Yamaha YZF-R1 in the Superstock 1000 class? More importantly, what would Dane do?
That was decided Monday with a special announcement from Yamalube/Westby Racing’s team principal and the father of Dane, Tryg Westby. The former AMA SuperBike racer Tryg says former World Superbike and AMA Pro Racing racer Geoff May will pilot Westby’s #00 R1 during this weekend’s MotoAmerica debut at Circuit of the Americas in Texas – an event running in conjunction with MotoGP.
“After thinking about what Dane would do, I decided to keep pushing forward this year,” Tryg said. “We brought Dane to the top, so why not give another guy the same chance? When in doubt, I ask myself, ‘WWDD? What would Dane do?’ Dane would push on, and finish strong. That’s what we’re going to do this weekend at COTA.”
As for May, the 34-year-old competed in the 2014 World Superbike Championship with Erik Buell Racing, but was left without a ride for 2015. May, who also competed for EBR, Team Hammer and Michael Jordon Motorsports in AMA Pro Racing, put together a last-minute effort to compete in the Daytona 200. He began Project Mayday at GoFundMe.com, and was able to secure funds to enter his #99 Project Mayday Yamaha YZF-R6.
May took the pole for the 2015 Daytona 200, and finished third in the race. With commitment like that, it’s no wonder he was chosen to ride the Westby Racing R1.
“First and foremost, my thoughts go out to the Westby family and the team. I am humbled and honored to help carry the Yamalube/Westby Racing flag. During my racing career, I’ve had the privilege of watching Dane rise through the ranks in the AMA paddock. I am positive that he was on the verge of having a huge year. I hope to honor him with my results and to possibly bring some peace to Tryg, the Westby family, and Yamalube/Westby Racing.”
Trevor Kemp of Yamalube, the team’s title sponsor, also commented: “It has obviously been an emotion-filled couple of weeks since Dane Westby’s passing. This was Tryg Westby’s decision to have the team race at COTA, to honor his dear son Dane, and to help everyone heal from this terrible tragedy. I admire Tryg greatly for making this decision. Tryg is a racer at heart, as was Dane, and having a rider as talented and experienced as Geoff May aboard Dane’s #00 R1 is a testament to the strength of the Yamalube/Westby Racing team.”
Chuck Giacchetto, team manager of Yamalube/Westby Racing, adds, “I’m both proud and honored to be able to serve the Westby family. Even as tragedy struck, Tryg knew he needed to press on like the Daner always did. With Geoff May racing for us at COTA, it will keep Tryg, the family, and the team members together like the close-knit group that we’ve always been.
“Riders of Geoff’s caliber are few and far between, and the entire team is excited to have him on board. Geoff knows how committed we are to being one of the best-prepared teams in the paddock, and I know he’ll return the gesture tenfold. Yamalube/Westby Racing is all about integrity, hard work, and dedication, and so is Geoff. I have no doubt that our combined efforts will serve us well at COTA.”
The weekend before the tragedy, Westby was at Circuit of the Americas for the first official MotoAmerica test. He was the quickest Superstock 1000 rider, and finished fourth overall combined with the Superbike class.
May and the Yamalube/Westby Racing team will be on track at COTA beginning this Thursday, April 9, for MotoAmerica Superbike/Superstock 1000 practice at 1 p.m CT.
Superbike/Superstock 1000 Race 1 will go green at COTA on Saturday, April 11, at 5 p.m. CT. Race 2 is scheduled for Sunday, April 12, at 3:30 p.m. CT.