May 23, 2013
© 2013, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
From a press release
issued by Road America
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike racer Dane Westby. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
DANE WESTBY SEEKS REDEMPTION AT ROAD AMERICA
- Popular SportBike rider is eager to put early season disappointment behind him at Road America as the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Racing Subway SuperBike Doubleheader Returns May 31 - June 2 -
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., May 23, 2013 - Ever since he was old enough to walk, GEICO Motorcycle Honda Daytona SportBike rider, Dane Westby, has spent at least part of his day on two wheels in one way or another.
It's a fact that has made the last month and a half so excruciating for the 26-year-old Oklahoman following a crash at the AMA Pro Racing season-opener at Daytona International Speedway that damaged his spleen and severely limited his activity while he healed.
"The inability to ride made me feel worse as I got better," Westby said. "It was easier to handle when I was in pain and knew I needed to rest. It wasn't very long before I wasn't in pain and wanted to ride. Those days and weeks were long for me. There's no physical therapy to help motivate you to get back to where you were. All it takes is time, and waiting for that time to pass is tough."
Westby said he was looking forward to his chance in the spotlight riding for new sponsor GEICO Motorcycle, and he was expecting great things from the weekend at Daytona.
This year's season-opening event presented cooler temperatures than in years past, which caused problems for most of the riders in the field. Westby was one of a couple dozen riders in all classes who crashed during practice, but he wasn't going to let a little adversity get him down.
"I went in with a lot of confidence," Westby said. "Daytona and I normally get along pretty well. The cold temperatures caught me off guard. I wasn't really ready for it and I don't like racing in the cold.
"The tires were just so cold they did not want to grip at all. The crash itself was minor, but I held on to the bike." By holding on, instead of rider and cycle separating, the bike bounced into Westby's midsection.
"Usually if something is hurting, like a broken bone, you do your best to ride through it," Westby said. "It's exactly what I thought I was going to get to do. We spent what seemed like forever waiting for the test and diagnosis. Afterward, we tried to find another doctor who could clear me to ride. They all told me, 'You don't understand, if your spleen were to burst you could bleed to death in less than 10 minutes.' That was an eye-opener for me."
Dealing with injury is a part of racing motorcycles, but this injury was nothing like Westby had ever encountered before.
"I dealt with broken bones and stuff in the past," Westby said. "Everything seemed to be going pretty well with this injury until they saw the problem with my spleen."
Westby was able to return to the track before the weekend was out and watch substitute rider Steve Rapp turn in a respectable performance in his place. Upon leaving Daytona, Westby started the clock on his recovery, patiently counting the hours, days, and weeks before he could return to the doctor, get cleared to race, and begin his comeback.
"To help fill the time, I've been doing some light work remodeling my house," Westby said. "I've been doing a lot of spackling and things of that nature trying to get the house done. There's a lot to do and it's not too exhausting to put spackle on the wall. I was moving around slowly working on a project here and there."
On the day he was finally cleared, Westby's thoughts immediately turned from home improvement to self-improvement and he is now eager to put his Daytona disappointment behind him and resume the season at Road America.
"I like that track so much," Westby said. "I've been on the podium there before. It's an older style of track with the way its corners and other parts are laid out. I like how you can come flying into the corners and the fans are right there. It's just special. I like how those old-style tracks are laid out."
Westby said he was lucky that if an injury like he suffered had to happen, the schedule gave him a wide enough window to get healed and fit to return in top form.
"Timing is everything. I was lucky things weren't worse. Thanks to the long break between the first and second races this year, I was able to get healthy again without losing my opportunity to contend for the championship. I can't wait for my fresh start at Road America."
Westby is not only an icon of the sport on the track, but the Tulsa, Oklahoma product has some brains as well, as he spent time testing and knocking some of the rust off at Barber Motorsports Park to prepare for the upcoming event next week.
When asked whether or not he would be gun-shy or nervous about reinjuring himself, Westby responded with; "I don't have time to be gun-shy. I have too much on the line going into Road America and I know I can't get too excited. I'm really going to focus on keeping myself on an even keel. Testing is simply for my team and I to get all of our ducks in a row and make sure we give ourselves the best chance at Road America."
Westby will wear a pad that covers his entire spleen while he tests as well as when he competes at Road America. The 26-year-old now looks forward to practice and qualifying for the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Racing Subway SuperBike Doubleheader. The track goes hot on Friday May 31, and runs through June 2 with riders reaching record-breaking speeds in three multi-manufacturer classes, SuperBike, SportBike and SuperSport. Each class has a race on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. A special Harley-Davidson class, the XR1200 Series, will race on Sunday prior to the second round for SuperSport, Sport Bike and SuperBike. All seven races provide fans with up-close viewing of one of the worlds most intense forms of motorsports.
In addition to the racing action, fans with motorcycles are encouraged to pre-register for a unique 'Salute to Cycles' on-track riding experience presented by Innovative Technologies. The Salute to Cycles provides participants with the rare
opportunity to ride Road America and develop a true appreciation for the undulating road course where pro racers like Westby battle it out for glory and fame. Pre-race ceremonies include a fan walk, which allows fans out on the grid to see the bikes and get rider autographs. Other fan activities include public karting and a supermoto exhibition race at the Blain's Farm & Fleet Motorplex, shows by stunt rider Jason Britton and the Dairyland Classic flat track races on Friday night in nearby Plymouth, Wis.
Tickets are available for the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Racing Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America and additional event details; ticket pricing and camping information can be found at or by calling 800-365-7223. Kids 12 and under are free with an adult.
About Road America: Established in 1955 as the first permanent road racing course in the United States, Road America is located midway between Milwaukee and Green Bay in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The world's best racers have competed at this legendary four-mile, 14-turn road circuit for over 55 years. The 640-acre, park-like grounds offer amazing viewing opportunities, fantastic concessions and high-speed excitement to hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. In addition to public race weekends, Road America offers a variety of group event programs, the Blain's Farm & Fleet Motorplex for karting and supermoto, and the Road America Motorcycle and Advanced Driving Schools. For more information, visit Follow Road America on and on Twitter: @roadamerica or call 800-365-7223.