The motorcycle racing community suffered a tremendous loss this week, as motocross icon Marty Smith and his wife Nancy were killed in a freak dune buggy accident at the Imperial Sand Dunes in California on Monday, April 27.
Smith, a 3-time AMA Pro Motocross champion, was 63.
Marty and Nancy Smith Dune Buggy Accident
According to TMZ Sports, the buggy that Marty and Nancy Smith were riding in flipped and rolled down a hill. Marty Smith was not wearing a safety harness, while Nancy was wearing only a lap belt.
Emergency responders pronounced Marty dead at the scene. After being airlifted to a nearby hospital, Nancy later died from her injuries.
Lee Ramage, who was Marty Smith’s best friend, was at the scene of the crash and posted the following heartbreaking statement to social media.
“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,” Rampage wrote. “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 everything in me to save him while Tammi tried to save Nancy.”
According to Ramage, Marty and Nancy are survived by their three children — Jillyin, Brooke, and Tyler, as well as several grandchildren.
Just five weeks prior to his death, Marty Smith posted an inspiring message to Instagram, urging his followers to “stay positive” during the coronavirus pandemic.
While the motocross world is no doubt deeply affected by the tragic death of Marty and Nancy Smith, we can’t even imagine the heartache that their loved ones are experiencing right now. Thoughts and prayers to the entire Smith family during this time.
Marty Smith Motocross Career
Marty Smith started his professional motocross career in 1974, when he was only 17 years old. The San Diego native, who became popular for his California surfer looks, would go on to win back-to-back AMA 125cc National Motocross Championships.
In 1977, Smith won the 500cc championship, which would mark the racer’s final AMA title. Several years later, in 1981, Smith officially retired from professional competition, though the motocross legend still remained active in the sport as a coach and occasional competitor.
Dubbed by Racer X Online as the “original superstar of American motocross,” Smith was later inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame in 2000.