One of the first superstars of American motocross, Marty Smith, and his wife Nancy have been killed in a dune buggy accident in the USA.
The news was broken by Marty’s friend and former pro motocrosser Lee Ramage who was with him and posted: “It’s with the heaviest, grieving heart that I have to tell you Marty and Nancy Smith were killed yesterday in a rollover accident in his dune buggy at the imperial sand dunes. My wife, Tammi and I were in the buggy and were unhurt. We spent at least an hour trying to save their lives before first responders arrived.
“Marty took his last breath while I was holding his head, keeping his airway clear. Marty was my best friend and I tried with everything in me to save him while Tammi tried to save Nancy.
“There is so much to know about this man and how he wanted to leave this earth when God called him him. Please keep his children, Jillyin, Brooke and Tyler and all his grandkids in your prayers.”
Californian Marty was 63 years old and had been with his wife since school as they were childhood sweethearts. He won three AMA tiles on factory Hondas then switched to a factory Suzuki ride for his final two years. He then had a six month stint on a Cagiva 190 against 250s in 1982. He also contested several European and USGPs, of which he won two 125 GPs, and raced in Britain several times. He avoided injury for most of his career then broke his pelvis, and retired from pro racing aged just 25 in 1982, five years after winning his last US National. The couple have two daughters and a son, who are all grown up.
Some tributes have been paid by people who knew Marty. “Marty is such a fine person, never raised his voice in anger with a student and having taken 70+ lessons I saw him always as a positive person and a GREAT Christian by actions and words. I owe my life to Marty literally thousands of times over on every obstacle I have taken riding and racing,” said Bruce Forinash.
Greg Wilson said: “Every single motocross rider on this earth will be grieving in this pain. To family and friends, deepest sympathy.”
Steven Cram said: “He is an amazing person there’s not a kinder one out there. He will be missed immensely. Sending prayers for strength end guidance.”
Our thoughts are with his family and all the friends he made around the world as this terribly sad time.