One of the top riders in the off-road racing world died from injuries suffered in a practice crash at Honolulu Hills Raceway Friday afternoon.

One of the top riders in the off-road racing world died from injuries suffered in a practice crash at Honolulu Hills Raceway Friday afternoon.

Nathan Woods, 33,  was in full cardiac arrest when he was flown from the raceway just minutes after crashing while practicing for  the weekend's WORCS motorcycle races.

Sources at the track said Woods crashed going over the step-up jump in the middle of the course.

It is the first fatality in the history of Honolulu Hills.

The coroner said  Woods crashed upon landing and went end-over-end.

The crash occurred shortly after 2 p.m.

A paramedic and WORCS safety workers treated Woods after the accident.

He was taken from the accident scene in the middle of the course to the pit area to be loaded onto the helicopter that flew him to a hospital.
He was pronounced dead at 3:08 p.m. at Kern Medical Center.

Word of the crash spread rapidly over the Internet and through the off-road racing community.

WORCS announced Woods death on its website and in a press release just after 7 p.m.

“Today off-road racing lost one of the greatest off-road champions ever to throw a leg over a dirtbike.

Nathan Woods, while practicing for the tomorrows WORCS race, passed. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs Woods his two sons little Nate and Braxton and the entire Woods Family. God Speed #54.”

WORCS announced on its Facebook page that Woods' number will be retired.

Woods death cast a pall over  the first round of the 2011 WORCS Series.

Saturday opened with a prayer for Woods and his family.

Saturday's pro race was turned into a memorial ride for Woods. His wife, Amanda, two sons and father all took part in the ride.

One vendor started selling T-shirt with Woods WORCS number with all the proceeds going to his children. She ran out of ink on Saturday.

 Darrell Melton, one of the owners of the track, knew Woods.

Melton said Woods thought of Honolulu Hills as his  home track since he lived just two hours away.

“He was definitely one of the standouts,” Melton said Sunday afternoon. “He was a genuinely nice person. He loved the sport.”
At 33, Woods was one of the oldest of the top pros.

“He was a veteran of the sport, but he was still fast enough to ride with the fastest guys,” Melton said.“He was a very solid rider.”

Woods was the winningest rider in the history of WORCS, and  had won two championships. He rode for the  some of the top teams in racing, including Zip-Ty Racing, Team Yamaha and Team Green (Kawasaki).

He was also a four-time winner of the Glen Helen 24-hour race.

Woods, from Templeton, had raced several times at Honolulu Hills, most recently at the 2010 Taft Grand Prix.

On his own personal website, Woods talked about how anxious he was to start the racing season at Honolulu Hills.