CALIFORNIA:Marty Smith, a prolific motocross rider known for winning 18 career national motocross titles, has died.He was 63.Smith and his wife Nancy were killed in a dune buggy accident in the California desert on Monday
Smith’s wife Nancy also died in the accident, family friend Lee Ramage wrote on Facebook.
“My wife, Tammi and I were in the buggy and were unhurt,” Ramage wrote. “We spent at least an hour trying to save their lives before first responders arrived.
“Marty was my best friend and I tried with everything in me to save him while Tammi tried to save Nancy.”
Smith became one of the top motocross riders in the country shortly after he joined the professional circuit in the early 1970s as a teenager. He captured his first of three American Motorcyclist Association national championships in 1974 at age 18 and repeated a year later in the 125cc category. In 1977, he won the AMA 500cc motocross championships.
A serious crash during the opening lap of a race at the Astrodome in 1978 impacted his career, as he claimed his heart never returned to racing after that incident. Smith retired from competitive racing in 1981.
But prior to that, Smith became “known as one of the most stylish riders in motocross history,” often gracing the cover of magazines, and was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 2000.
Smith began mentoring young riders after his racing days.