A professional motorcycle rider from Tulsa was racing to the top of the sport when he died in a midtown crash.
But Dane Westby's legacy is still very much alive, and the Westby Racing team is taking care of Dane’s unfinished business.
Racing motorcycles is what Dane Westby lived for - the thrill of the speed, the curves, the competition, the wins. He was born to ride, sometimes saying he was “best friends with my bike.”
“He always loved wheels of any type, since he was a little baby,” said Dane’s father, Tryg Westby.
Tryg rode in the 80s so the sport came naturally for Dane.
“I was out riding with him one day and he showed me some stuff that I was like, couldn't believe he was doing. I thought, 'We need to try you out at the race track,' and that's how it got started,” Tryg said.
Dane turned out to be a world-class road racer.
He landed big sponsorships and won countless races for his dad's team, Westby Racing.
"I get to stand up on the podium and everybody's looking at me and I'm holding the champagne and the trophy. It's something I'll never forget," Dane told his sponsor, Yamalube.
He was the fastest Superstock rider in 2014 - at the top of his game, so fierce, most knew him as “The Wolverine.”
"For him to be that quick, that fast, yeah, he was gonna go places, for sure,” Tryg said.
Dane’s year to take the team to the top was 2015, but that all changed in the early evening of March 23rd when he died in a motorcycle crash on Peoria, after just leaving his parents’ house.
“I miss that,” Tryg said. "I do miss him.”
Dane’s family and friends think he crashed trying to miss something in the road, but they don't know for sure, and they probably never will.
They've hung a cross, ribbon and Dane's racing number to mark the spot, and they've come to the racetrack to help heal their broken hearts.
"Continuing on his legacy is how I did it. I didn't know what else to do,” Tryg said.
Dane left the world with unfinished business - to win the National Superstock 1000 championship title. So, Westby Racing pushed on, even though, for Tryg, watching other riders was tough in the beginning.
“It was [hard] at first because no one rode like him,” he said.
Then, Tryg said Mathew Scholtz came along out of nowhere.
“He can ride the rain like Dane did. He's got no ego, like Dane. There's a lot about him that's like Dane,” he said.
Scholtz, a young rider from South Africa, picked up where Dane left off.
“I do that proudly,” he said. “I know the past that the team have had and the difficulties and the struggle and stuff. It just really makes me happy that I can help the team carry on the legacy Dane left behind.”
With Scholtz on the bike and a great crew in the pit, Tulsa's Westby Racing placed in 19 of its 20 races last year. The team also finally won the national championship.
And everyone is certain Dane had a hand in the season.
“I definitely feel him there,” Scholtz said.
“Yeah, there's a lot to it. There's a lot to it. He's there. I feel him,” said Tryg.
They said he'll always be there as long as the Westby name is on the racetracks.
“Everybody loved him so much…His legacy carries on,” Tryg said. “Here we are. Champions.”