SALT LAKE CITY (July 29) – To prepare for the high altitude he’ll encounter at this weekend’s GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series stop at Miller Motorsports Park, rider Dane Westby decided to take his time and enjoy the surroundings.
Since the last GoPro Daytona SportBike race at Laguna Seca, Westby stayed in Northern California to train in the mountains and adapt to the thin atmosphere he’ll encounter this weekend aboard the GEICO Motorcycle Honda.
“We’ve been in Truckee, Calif., about 5,800 feet up on a mountain,” Westby said. “I’ve been riding my bicycle here trying to get used to the altitude. I’ll probably ride some when I get to Salt Lake as well. The air up there will probably impact the bikes more than me.”
For Westby, driving to races rather than flying has become an almost indispensable part of his prerace routine.
“At lot of these guys fly and I don’t see how they do it,” Westby said. “I hate airports; they are always messing something up. I much prefer to drive so I don’t have to deal with the stress of flying. You get to show up a few days early and get with the team as they are setting up. Driving might take longer, but it takes all the stress out of travel.”
Westby, who sits seventh in the SportBike points, likes the way the Miller track suits his riding style.
“Miller really plays to my strengths,” Westby said. “I’ve got a good-handling machine that likes big sweeping turns, and Miller has a lot of that. It’s a fast track, but unlike some of our other fast courses, it doesn’t have as many stop-and-go corners. I really like the place.”
This doubleheader weekend is an important chance for Westby to gain some ground in the standings. He is currently six points behind Jake Lewis for sixth and 11 behind James Rispoli for fifth with five races left in the season. While gaining points is important, getting the bike better at every race is at the top of Westby’s list.
“I’m just looking forward to riding the bike,” Westby said. “I’ve been able to have a lot of fun this season. We’ve been developing this new Honda and I’ve been having as much fun as I can.
“We find a little more power every race weekend. We’ve been putting our heads together to figure out what we can do within the rules to make sure our bike is delivering competitive power. We’ve also been zeroing in on getting the bike to handle the way we want, and we’ve got a good handle on all of it.”
Practice for the GoPro Daytona SportBikes gets under way at 11 a.m. MDT Friday from Miller Motorsports Park. The first qualifier will roll off at 2 p.m. on Friday. The field will be set following the final qualifying session, which starts at 8:50 a.m. on Saturday. Race 1 gets started at 1 p.m. Saturday with Race 2 contested at 1 p.m. on Sunday. CBS Sports Network will air Saturday’s racing starting at 3 p.m. EDT and Sunday’s racing at 1 p.m.