Will Davis, 1964-2001

Paul Carruthers | August 26, 2001
The motorcycle racing community lost one of its most popular riders last night with the passing of dirt tracker Will Davis, who died as a result of a multi-rider accident on the first lap of the Sedalia Half Mile in Sedalia, Missouri. Davis was 36 years old.

“Apparently Will was leading the pack on the first lap, essentially highsided the bike, the bike struck him,” AMA chief executive officer Scott Hollingsworth said moments ago in the press room at Pikes Peak International Raceway. “The rest of the injured riders have been treated and released. One of the things about Will is that he had friends in every AMA paddock and no enemies in any paddock. Will was one of the kind of people you liked to be around. He was quick to be positive, never negative. He was a person of great humanity. We’re all aware of his efforts of Racing With Kids and his time with kids in hospitals. This is one of those situations where it’s not supposed to happen to a guy like will Davis. It’s always hard when it does happen, but it’s not supposed to happen to a guy like Will Davis. I’d ask everybody to take a moment to think about Will and his family.”

Davis had won four races in this year’s AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship and was the third-ranked rider heading into last night’s race. His most recent victory came in Harrington, Delaware, on August 4 and he also scored an emotional victory in front of his home fans on July 28 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Davis and several others riders went down in turn four of the State Fair Speedway on the opening lap, according to a press release issued by the AMA. Davis was then transported by ambulance to Bothwell Regional Health Center where attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. A representative of the hospital cited multiple traumas as the cause of death.

Davis was a five-time Asphalt Motorcycle Racing Series (MARS) Champion and had won 32 AMA Grand National Championship events, a mark that ranked him seventh on the all-time win list. He was honored last year with the AMA Professional Sportsman of the Year award for his work with terminally ill children.

Davis is survived by his wife, Rhonda, and his son, Cole.

Last night’s race was won by Chris Carr over Rich King and Bryan Bigelow.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.