I traveled to Dayton Ohio in October 1967 to compete in an AMA professional motorcycle TT dirt track race. Former National Number one rider Bart Markel was the fastest qualifier in the expert class and I was the fastest in the Amateur (later named Junior) class. We both were awarded a watch. I donít recall who else was there but the memory of winning a watch with Bart has always been special. This was 6 months after I had broken my leg in April 1967. I was just regaining my old confidence and skills.
Bart had torn up his license at Sedalia after racer Chris Drayer lost his arm from crashing under the Armco rail fence. Bartís engine failed and Chris had to go wide around him and crashed. Bart blamed himself for the accident. Ever since then they have been putting hay bales around the outside of the corners on racetracks to prevent riders from sliding under the steel fence rail for increased rider safety.
Bill Boyce was the Referee at Dayton, and at the riders meeting said Bart couldn't ride in the TT without his license unless the other riders agreed to it. Bill asked the riders and we all said let Bart ride. Bart won the Expert class and I won the Amateur class race main. It was a great fun memorable day.
St Paul Armory races
One of the highlights of my racing career has to be the winter indoor motorcycle races I competed in at the St. Paul Minnesota Armory every Saturday night in January through March 1970. I rode my 250cc Bultaco short tracker that I had used the previous summer racing at Santa Fe Speedway. I figured out just the right setup combination of soft tire pressure and gearing. I learned that bleach carefully applied to my tires made them grip better.
Instead of the normal steel shoe for cornering I duct taped shop rags onto the bottom of my left boot so I could slide it on the slippery concrete surface. It worked great. I won every heat race and every main event all season long. I was the only rider all season able to pass on the shiny smooth polished concrete floor.
This was the only racing series that I ever completely dominated. Nobody else could come up with a setup to equal mine. It was so much fun knowing I could pass almost at will. Usually whoever won the start won the race unless they screwed up badly. It was boring.
I excited the crowd with my passing antics. I know it made the races more exciting. It certainly did for me.
I usually won the starts but if I didn't I knew I could win by running further into the corners on the outside of whoever had the lead until they got nervous and messed up and went wide and would pass on the inside. If that wasn't working I would just get on the gas sooner exiting the turns to keep my speed up and pass on the outside. I really never had any serious competition there. It was a great feeling I almost never had at any other track.
I recall having to open all the doors and windows at the Armory to let the two cycle smoke and exhaust fumes out so we could all breath. It got cold in there.. 30's & 40's and it was often way below zero out side. The organizers had to do their best to keep all the racers from running their engines unless absolutely necessary like in a race.
I always made money in Saint Paul. Typically $350 to $500 and back then that was real money as most workers earned less than two dollars an hour.
We always partied in my school bus/motorhome on the 6 hour ride home. Sometimes it was getting daylight when we finally got back to Milwaukee. It was a great time in my life.
This site was last updated 09/04/15