The inaugural season of MotoAmerica will kick off on April 10, 2015 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas with a special tribute to rider Dane Westby, who was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident last week. Tryg Westby, the team principal of Yamalube/Westby Racing and Dane’s father, will have the spotlight pointed at him when he rides a lap of honor around the COTA circuit to honor his fallen son. Westby will be riding aboard his son’s #00 Yamaha YZF-R1 Superstock 1000 bike in the parade lap where he will also be joined by 1993 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Kevin Schwartz.

It’s a nice and fitting tribute to the younger Westby, who was scheduled to compete in the series under his own racing team. But the accident that took his life has cost us a chance to see the Wolverine compete to become the first MotoAmerica champion in the Superstock 1000 class. With him gone, his father has admirably decided to have his team compete in the season-opening race, knowing full well that it’s what his son would want him to do.

The lap of honor for Dane is another fitting tribute to a man whose life was unceremoniously cut short and I, for one, am excited to see his father ride his bike for that one lap. It’s not going to bring his son back, but that one lap could bring about a measure of comfort for the elder Westby, knowing that his son would’ve appreciated the kind gesture.

In addition to the lap of honor, the third annual Bikers & Beauties Austin MotoGP Party on April 11, 2015 will have its own tribute for Westby. A silent auction will be part of the event with proceeds from the auction, which includes signed memorabilia donated by MotoGP, WSBK, and other professional riders, going to the National Down Syndrome Society, an organization personally chosen by the family of Dane Westby as the beneficiary of the auction.

Continue reading to read more about the planned tributes for Dane Westby this weekend.

Why it matters

I can only imagine how high the emotions will run this weekend when the reality sets in that Dane Westby won’t be competing in the race because he’s no longer with us. There’s a world of difference between missing a race because of your injuries and missing it because you’ve already gone to a better place.

I’m already having a difficult time trying to comprehend the events of the past few weeks that has led to this point, but I can only imagine the range of emotions running through Tryg Westby’s head right now. On the one hand, I think he’ll be amped up to do that lap of honor for his son and help his team compete in the race. But once the weekend’s finished, that’s probably when all those pent up emotions will spill over.

It’s pretty clear that a lot of people are going to great lengths to pay their final respects to Dane Westby. It’s a tremendous gesture that makes you appreciate the close-knit ties of the motorcycle racing industry. While none of these tributes will come close to filling the enormous void left by Westby’s death, these events will serve as a lasting reminder that even with the Wolverine gone, those who knew and loved him are doing their parts in honouring his memory.

Make no mistake, the planned lap of honor and silent auction are great hat tips to Dane Westby. But I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that we’d much rather see Westby competing in the race instead of being the subject of all these tributes.

What do you think?
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