BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (June 18) – GEICO Motorcycle Honda rider Dane Westby has left nothing in reserve while preparing for this weekend’s Triumph SuperBike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park.
In his last time out at Road America, Westby was coming off a spleen injury that put him on the shelf for several weeks, and even though he was cleared to train and ride to get ready for the second GoPro Daytona SportBike race of the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series season, the possibility of reinjury weighed heavy in the back of his mind.
“I was worried about falling when I was riding my mountain bike and dirt bike,” Westby said. “I can tell now that I was holding back. Since Wisconsin, I’ve been riding mountain bikes every day and doing some flat tracking.
“Now I’m confident that if I fall off my mountain bike or a mini-bike, it’s not going to be a life-threatening situation.”
With a full session of training and a test last month at Barber, Westby and his team are eager to show their true colors this weekend.
“It’s really going to suit our bike’s strengths,” Westby said. “We know we can go fast there and already have the setting worked out. We’re going to be ahead of the game much more than we were in Wisconsin. I think this time out is going to be tenfold better.”
Barber’s 2.38-mile, 14-turn course is more of a rhythm track and doesn’t require the hard braking that the long straightaways of Daytona and Road America bring to the table. At tracks like Barber, passing comes a little bit easier for Westby.
“There’s not the stop-and-go, 90-degree turns. There’s a lot more flow at Barber,” Westby said. “There’s going to be a lot closer racing this weekend because the riders just feel safer riding close together at Barber. You aren’t trying to anticipate where the guy in front of you is going to brake, so you don’t run into the back of him.”
To get a feel for Barber, Westby has been doing some GT-style flat-track riding.
“It’s the same course every lap,” Westby said. “There were three or four of us riding at a good rate, and keeping the flow was important to set somebody up to make the pass. Riding this way has really helped me.”
Practice for the GoPro Daytona SportBikes will get under way at 11 a.m. CDT Friday from Barber Motorsports Park with the first qualifier at 2 p.m. The field will be set on Saturday morning at the conclusion of the second qualifier, which starts at 8:50 a.m. The first race of the weekend will roll off at 1 p.m. on Saturday and the second race at 1 p.m. on Sunday. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the racing starting at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.