SALT LAKE CITY (Aug. 3) – It wasn’t the finish that GEICO Motorcycle Honda rider Dane Westby was looking for, but he was able to move up two spots from qualifying and finish seventh in the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series’ GoPro Daytona SportBike race on Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park.
Westby started ninth and wasted little time in moving up the field. After getting a really good start, “the Wolverine” settled in and went after his competition.
“We had the launch-control thing that we tried last night. Unfortunately there was some malfunction with it and couldn’t use it today,” Westby said. “I was distracted but somehow got a great start.
“We got pulled on the straightaway after the initial start and were pretty far back going into the first corner, but there was some mayhem there and I was able to make that all back up.”
Westby got that fast start but was quickly stuck behind Triumph riders Jason DiSalvo and Bobby Fong as the field went into the first corner.
“I got stuck behind the two Triumphs and then kind of battled it out and was able to get by,” Westby said. “That was pretty much my race. I was in front of them and behind the next guy all by myself for the rest of the race. Fong was going back and forth, and then we almost had a little battle there on the last lap but he couldn’t quite stick a wheel in there.”
Westby quickly got past DiSalvo and Fong on the second lap and kept both riders in check over the final 14 laps of the 16-lap event on the 3.048-mile course.
“I was really trying to make a gap there,” Westby said of his battle with Fong. “We have a history of battling and letting those guys go. We have come to an understanding that one of us has to get out front and go, so I was trying to make that happen.”
Westby was consistent lap after lap, posting his best circuit of 1:55.553 late in the race, but by that time the top six, including race winner Cameron Beaubier, had pulled away from the rest of the 21-bike field.
Westby was the top-finishing Honda rider aboard his No. 20 CBR600RR. He will have a chance to improve on his race finish when the GoPro Daytona SportBikes race for the second time this weekend, at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
“We are going to make sure the launch control is going and hope for that start,” Westby said about Sunday’s race. “I got caught behind those two Triumphs. Maybe if I had been a little farther up I could have taken advantage of it. I’m just going to try to stick it in there and be safe.”