MONTEREY, Calif. (July 21) – In a Daytona SportBike race shortened six laps following a red-flag stoppage, GEICO Motorcycle Honda rider Dane Westby finished a respectable but frustrating seventh in Sunday’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Westby, of Tulsa, Okla., was the No. 7 qualifier for the event, Round 5 of the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series, and entered the weekend seventh in the points. His qualifying effort, result, and championship ranking show consistency, but after finishing runner-up in the popular 600cc class in 2012, Westby was understandably frustrated.
“There’s a lot of sevens on the ledger for us this year and it’s getting frustrating,” Westby said. “We knew there would be a bit of a mountain to climb this year switching to the Honda, but the mountain might be a little steeper than we anticipated.
“After finishing runner-up to the championship last year and regularly getting up on the podium, I know we have the ability to be there again. We all want it and the work is definitely being put in; we’re just frustrated the top results aren’t happening just yet.”
The team knows the entire 2013 campaign could have been different if Westby hadn’t injured his spleen during practice for the season-opening Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway. Doctors forbid him from riding in the race, so he earned zero points.
“On that superspeedway our performance would have been different,” Westby said. “We would have been on the podium for sure and maybe even won the race. That would have started everything off so well for us, but it just wasn’t something we were able to experience.
“Ever since then we seem to be seventh or so every race. We’re not even getting a whiff of a podium finish. It’s been tough but we’re not giving up at all. In fact, we’re going to work even harder. As a rider, I know I need to be perfect. I probably need to lose another pound or two; maybe that would help.
“I know all the guys on this team are the best in the business. That’s why they’ve won so many championships over the years. We’ll just keep our heads down until things turn for us. We are so close to being there, but you don’t have to be off by much to look out of sync in this class because the competition is so good at the top.”
The series now shifts to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, for the next race, which will take place Aug. 2-4 and feature two main events on the 15-turn, three-mile race course on the outskirts of Salt Lake City.