Legendary pro racer Marty Smith and his wife, Nancy, were both killed in a freak dune buggy accident on Monday, according to reports.
Smith, a three-time AMA National Motocross champion, was 63.
Officials told TMZ Sports that Smith and his wife were in a buggy that flipped and rolled down a hill at the Imperial Sand Dunes in California. Smith was reportedly not wearing a safety harness and Nancy was wearing only a lap belt.
Emergency responders pronounced Smith dead at the scene while Nancy was airlifted to a nearby hospital where she later was pronounced dead. Smith’s best friend, Lee Ramage, was said she was at the scene of the crash and posted a 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,” he 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.”
Smith turned pro in 1974 at the age of 17 and went on to win back-to-back AMA 125cc National Motocross Championships. He won the 500cc championship in 1977 before retiring from professional racing in 1981. However, Smith remained active in the motocross community as a coach.
He was later inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame in 2000.