Friday, July 16, 2010

The WPFTA is now on Facebook

This is a great way to stay in touch and up to date on flat track news and happenings.
Click this "link" and join in by adding your comments or the latest news in the world of flat track motorcycle racing.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

WPFTA Breakfast 2010

The White Plate Breakfast will be on Thursday Aug 12th, 2010 @ 8:00am at the Boulder Canyon Convention Center (Exit 30) right next to the Holiday Express in Sturgis.
There will be an all you can eat buffet......scrambled eggs, sausage,,biscuits, gravy,,cinnamon rolls, cold cereal, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, variety of breads, juice, milk, coffee. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Photos from Life Magazine @ Daytona 1948


Need for Speed
For years, from its inception in 1937 until the early '60s, the celebrated Daytona 200 motorcycle race wasn't merely run at Daytona Beach in Florida -- along with other high-speed, high-risk clashes, the 200 was run on the beach in Florida. In 1948, LIFE covered the 12th annual races at Daytona, and reported, in its April 19 issue, that "for four days last month the resort city of Daytona Beach could hardly have been noisier -- or in more danger -- if it had been under bombardment." Now, with unpublished and rarely seen photos from the meet, opens a window on a long, loud weekend 60 years ago -- a weekend that thrilled thousands of racing fans; scandalized one very popular weekly magazine's editors; and, as if proof was needed that the young sport was still in the hands of daredevils, rebels, and scofflaws, saw two people killed and 30 more injured.
Photo: Joseph Scherschel/TIME & LIFE Pictures

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Complete Grand National Championship Volume I: 1954-1969

Greg Pearson's book titled; "The Complete Grand National Championship Volume I: 1954-1969" covers 237 Grand National Championship events run from 1954 through 1969. Eleven short tracks, forty-four TTs, seventy-six half miles, forty-five miles, and sixty-one road races and plenty of pictures.

More info:

Anyone who has an interest in the formative years of the Grand National Championship would be well-served by purchasing this book from Greg Pearson. All 237 Grand National Championship events run from 1954 through 1969 - eleven short tracks, forty-four TTs, seventy-six half miles, forty-five miles, and sixty-one road races - are reviewed in rich detail throughout this 637-page masterpiece. Greg provides intimate details from pre-event behind-the-scenes plot twists all the way through to post-race "extras". Each main event is covered in sufficient detail to keep race fans on the edge of their seats, yet are brief enough to permit skimming by those less inclined.

As a self-proclaimed historian of the sport, I personally enjoyed the thorough main event finish order, down to rider numbers, hometowns, and motorcycles ridden, not to mention the names of such long-lost facilities as Laconia, Windber, and Lincoln.

I personally find the book a treasure trove of details and information. Greg writes the book in a "coffee table" format - each event serves as its own self-contained storyline, with sufficient pre- and post-event information to fill in the gaps without boring the casual reader. He delves into some of the technical evolution of equipment over the years, but not so much as to become tedious. To read about how several riders lost the Grand National Championship through so many differnet ways is heartbreaking, but much more fulfilling to read than merely glancing at the final point standings. To wit: all junior historians know that George Roeder lost the 1963 Grand National Championship to Dick Mann by a single, gut-wrenching point, 114-113. Records also show that Roeder won the final event of the year, the mile event at Sacramento, which would lead some to conclude - as I have for 30 years - that Roeder did everything he could but came up one point short. Not quite. Mann and Roeder traded wins & DNFs over the last 3 events of that season, and Mann actually clinched the championship at the penultimate round by winning the Ascot TT. As such, Roeder knew going into Sacramento that the title was decided. Virtually each and every season is filled with similar "if only" situations that ruined some men but elevated others to champions.

Seventy-three pages of photographs, from the Mahony Archives as well as many racers/tuners' personal collections, round out this fabulous book. Rest assured that this is not an amateur effort - Greg Pearson is a lifelong motorcycle racing enthusiast who holds a BA degree in History from Marshall University and has written several articles that have appeared in Vintage News and Flat Track Illustrated. Not only that, but his acknowledgments section of the book tips his cap to some of most reknowned historians of the sport as well as many of the men (or their wives) who actually made that history happen on the racetrack.

But don't just take my word for it:

•Dick Mann, 1963 & 1971 AMA Grand National Champion: "The very best I have ever seen on the subject."
•Gary Nixon, 1967 & 1968 AMA Grand National Champion: "All racers and fans from that era should have the book."
•Ronnie Rall, winner of five Grand National events from 1963-1969: "Boy, what a great book!"
•Wayne Hosaka, former AMA Pro Racer and CEO of Fantastic book! I have hours of reading enjoyment in store!"
•Digger Phelps, former Pro Racer and dirt track enthusiast: OMG! This book is the size of my local phone book! Tons of history here...a ton of information, and a ton of work."
•Darrell Bauer: "Greg, TWO THUMBS UP. I read it cover to cover last is hard to put down! You did an excellent job and the photographs put it over the top. I encourage everyone who is interested in the history of our sport to get a copy. I thought your choices of pictures covered a terrific spectrum of riders at that time - not just the many-time National winners."
•Charley Garret: "One hell of a great book!"
•B. Goode: "This book is a must-have for dirt track fans, trivia fans, people interested in the history of the sport. If you have a good friend who digs dirt track, buy this for Christmas."
•Charlie West, Jr.: "An awesome read! Thanks for keeping that history alive! I am sure my dad, Charlie West, would have enjoyed reading it!"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Indian Wrecking Crew documentary

Heard an update recently about when this documentary that we all have been waiting on will be released.

Below is a link and the posted comments.


Posted on Nov. 12, 2009 by John Holman
It has been quite a while since I wrote a post about the documentary. I had a shake up with my "old" partner and have since taken the ball and run with a new partner who is working through the edit. I just returned from Illinois visiting Bill Tuman and Smitty of Rock Island.

Guys, Smitty is why I started this project. I grew up around him in Rock Island and bought my first motorcycle from Bill Tuman in 69. I raced flat track in the 70's, Smitty helped me with parts but I truely had no idea how much of a legend he and Bill were until I wanted to get Smitty on tape for an oral history. The saying, " this is when Men were Men" does sum it up.

Look for a intial DVD by December. I will be reworking the website and marketing items from there. I have made replica sewn jerseys from the 40's and also have replica signed helmets if anyone is interested in something like that. You can see them on the website on the reenactment footage. If you are interested in more info or replica items contact me at: john@design2,com

Sorry we have taken so long on this project but when you do something like this out of your own pocket and the economy turns bad you just have to make concessions.

I thank all of you for your continuing interest. Look for something in the coming months.

Talk soon,

John Holman

Folks if you have any comments to add -- then please do.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Florence Emde; matriarch of motorcycle-enthusiast family


By Jeff Ristine
Union-Tribune Staff Writer
2:00 a.m. August 13, 2009

Florence Emde, matriarch of a prize-winning motorcycle-racing family and former co-owner of one of the top motorcycle retail businesses in San Diego County, has died. She was 90.

Mrs. Emde, of Escondido, died July 30 at a nursing facility.

Mrs. Emde, a Brooklyn native who moved with her family to San Diego as a child, was introduced to motorcycling as a teenager by an older brother. It was through this hobby that she met her future husband, Floyd Emde, in the 1930s, making her even more of an enthusiast.

By the 1950s, Mrs. Emde was riding mainly as a passenger behind her husband, and sometime in the '60s she got off bikes for good, said one of her sons, Don Emde.

But everything still revolved around the vehicles. “That was her life,” said her daughter Nancy Emde-Steward.

Mrs. Emde is thought to have been the only woman with a husband and son who both have won the Daytona 200, an annual race in Daytona Beach that began in 1937. Floyd Emde won in 1948; their son Don did so in 1972.

Once Floyd Emde's professional racing career was over, the couple went into the retail trade. They owned three motorcycle dealerships in the county under the name Floyd Emde Co., operating in National City, downtown San Diego and the College Area; the National City shop became a meeting place for some motorcycle clubs.

Despite her knowledge of the subject, Mrs. Emde worked primarily in an office behind the scenes and not on the sales floor. But with her husband and sons frequently out of town for competitions, “the thing that made it all work was the fact that she stepped up and pretty much ran the dealerships” in their absences, Don Emde said.

If she felt any kind of apprehension about racing, she kept it inside, her children said. At competitions, she became the family's No. 1 fan, and when her son duplicated her husband's win in Daytona, Mrs. Emde was overjoyed, Emde-Steward said.

The couple retired from the motorcycle business in 1980, Don Emde said. But Mrs. Emde maintained an interest even after her husband died in 1994, and went to the Daytona 200 in 1995 to renew acquaintances, her daughter said.

Survivors include her sons Bob Emde of Chula Vista and Don of Laguna Niguel; daughters, JoAnne Emde of Escondido and Nancy Emde-Steward of Vista; 13 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren. A third son, David, died in 2003.

Services were held Aug. 6 at Glen Abbey Memorial Park.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

King Kenny and Yamaha to make historic return to Indy Mile


Posted July 21, 2009 Email Print

From a press release issued by Yamaha Motor Corp....

Cypress California, July 20, 2009 -- Yamaha Motor Corporation takes great pride in announcing that the legendary “King” Kenny Roberts will make an historic return to the world famous “Indy Mile” on Saturday evening, August 29th during this year’s event held in association with the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 2-time AMA Grand National Champion, and 3-time World 500cc Champion, plans to take several hot laps on the infamous Yamaha TZ-750 powered dirt tracker, as built and tuned by former 250 World Champion Kel Carruthers. The TZ-750 powered dirt tracker, thought to be unrideable by many, took a historic last lap win at the 1975 Indy mile that ultimately proved to be one of the most famous wins in American Dirt Track history.

“After the race in 1975 I said they didn’t pay me enough to ride that thing,” said Kenny Roberts, “and this year will be no different! But it should be fun for the fans to hear that Yamaha TZ once again up against the bales.”

“This will truly be a memorable event for motorcycle fans the world over.” said Bob Starr, General Manager of Communications for Yamaha Motor Corporation, “Kenny’s accomplishments years ago formed the basis of what Yamaha’s performance image is today and we are all excited to have him and this extraordinary motorcycle on the track once again.”

Amongst the enthusiastic spectators planning to attend this historic event will be none other than 8-time World Champion Valentino Rossi. “For sure Kenny’s win at this event on the Yamaha 34 years ago was monumental” said Valentino Rossi, “and the fact that I was not born yet makes it even more exciting for me to be there this time!”

Ticket information for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix and Indy Mile is available at:

Here's a brief video clip of the 1975 race:

U.S. House congratulates American Motorcyclist Association on its 85th anniversary

U.S. Representative Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas) introduced House Resolution 676 on the House floor today congratulating the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) on its 85th anniversary, and commending the Association for promoting and protecting the interests of motorcyclists since 1924.

The resolution notes that AMA members make up "the world's largest and most dedicated group of motorcycle enthusiasts," and that riders are "one of the nation's most passionate subcultures." It goes on to state that "the House of Representatives congratulates the American Motorcyclist Association on its 85th Anniversary and commends it for having promoted and protected the rights and interests of motorcyclists and motorcycle enthusiasts since 1924."

In acknowledging the honor, AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman credited the AMA's membership of motorcycling enthusiasts.

"We are honored by the resolution that Rep. Burgess introduced today, and we humbly accept these accolades on behalf of our members who are the motivating force behind the Association," said Dingman. "The AMA's mission is to be this country's leading advocate of the motorcycling lifestyle, and we're proud to have served in that capacity for 85 years. We would like to thank our dedicated members who, through their unwavering support, provide the AMA with the human, financial and operational resources we need to meet our goals."

The resolution highlights the AMA's dedication to motorcycling's heritage through its Pickerington, Ohio-based AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which "honors those who have contributed to the history of motorcycling through political activism, culture and sport, and which preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations."

The resolution also notes how the AMA collaborates with member clubs, promoters and partners to sanction thousand of motorsports events each year.

The AMA is commemorating its anniversary this weekend, July 24-26, at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days celebrates the history of all of motorcycling with vintage motorcycle racing, classic bike shows, seminars and speeches, and North America's largest motorcycle swap meet. A special feature at this year's event will be the AMA 85th Anniversary Parade, which will be led by AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer and Grand Marshal Don Emde, and includes a 1924 Harley-Davidson as well as other motorcycles representing each of the nine decades in which the Association has protected and promoted the motorcycling lifestyle


Saturday, July 4, 2009

A letter to Norton, Kansas

Hello George,
Maybe this time I got it figured out how to do this. Bob James.

P. S. I never received a reply from this Funeral Home at Norton, Kansas.

Robert James
1917 Ridgewood Lane
Pueblo, CO 81005-2520

Enfield Funeral Home
215 W. Main Street
Norton, KS 676554
Monday, October 6, 2003
Dear Sir:

I am an old motorcycle racer that raced at Norton in 1947, 1948 & 1949.
During one of the races on Thursday, August 14, 1947 one of the riders spilled in the west curve. Unfortunately for him, he got hit by several other riders and machines and died. The next day, one of the riders that knew who he was took the checker flag around the track in his honor. My pit men & I went to the Somers Funeral Home and signed the memorial book for his family.
At this point in time, I have been contacted by a man by the name of Richard Lee Lyons that has been putting together a DATABASE BOOK about as many of the racers of that era, right after World War ll and to or through 1950.
Hopefully, we feel that somewhere in Norton there would be a record of whom this rider was along with possibly his race number, what kind of motor he was riding and most important, if there was an address available of where he originated from.
I know that there has been a change of ownership of the funeral home, but records of this nature are kept in Archives. At what cost to me would it be for you to look this DATA up and make copies and mail to me?


Robert James, 80N, Indian, AMA, Class “C” Competition of 1945-50.

Richard Lee Lyons
Ted Walker

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A long story with many tangents....

I have one here that I wrote some years ago. It has many tangents to get you off center.

Bob James.

I started writing some more last night about Kenny Howe and wouldn’t you know it! I lost it! So, wish me luck!
Kenny Howe came from Rocky Ford, CO as a very young immature married man of the age of 18-19. His dad, Frank Howe was one of the Operators at the New Southern Colorado power plant at Rocky Ford, which came on the line in 1952.
Kenny was hired in as a Second Engineer Helper at the Pueblo Power Plant in the spring of 1955. I took a liking to him right from the start because in some ways he reminded me of myself, just a few years back.
When the unit was built in Rocky Ford, I could have transferred as an Assistant Operator or move up to a Boiler Operator for No 6 Unit. I chose to stay here.
Then in May of 1957, we finally were granted shift rotations. That’s when Kenny & I started to make plans of having some riding time on our motorcycles during our long weekends that came up once a month.
I need to back up in time or I’ll miss lead you.
Some of the men at the plant would slip out the back door of the plant and take a spin on my 1951 Triumph Thunderbird without my knowledge. But after one of them floated an exhaust valve, I got mad. The second helper that was to blame told me he was sorry and that he was showing off in front of some Junior College girls out by City Park and missed second gear. I had put a set of wide gears in the transmission and it wouldn’t speed-shift very readily. He later on in life became a Commercial Pilot. His dad also worked for SO.CO.PO.CO., in a very high class job down at the main building.
So, when Kenny asked me to help him get a motor, I finally did. After all, I had co-signed for another young co-worker for a motor after his brother that worked at the same job as me had refused to do so. He joined the Marines and left me with a 45 H.D. to find someone to take over the payments. My grade school and high school buddy, Gorden Sewell took over the payments. I had helped Gorden get hired here in the plant just a few years back. We rode our Army 45 H.D. to Centennial High School and he wanted something like a motor to save on gasoline. He lived up past Wetmore on the 160 acres of the Sewell’s. Gorden and his wife, Shirley had twin girls at about the same time as my wife, Wanda & I.
On January 1, 1956, I entered in the Pikes Peak Motorcycle Race along with some of the other local riders from the Pueblo motorcycle Club. I think Kenny went up to the starting gate with Kurt Atkinson, who worked as a motorcycle mechanic for Timme Motors. I’m not real sure who all went that year. This was my first time to try racing up Pikes Peak on New Year’s Day. I got to the top alright in the coldest ride that I had ever raced in. I think, I signed in about tenth out of about twenty that made it.
Shortly after this is when Kenny purchased his first motorcycle from Walt Timme. It was a Triumph Cub and he rode the guts out of it. One thing nice about the cub, you could manhandle it like I did my little 1949 Vertical Twin Indian. But Kenny wasn’t satisfied with the top end speed of the cub, so he traded Walt for a 650 triumph. This time, I didn’t even have to co-sign for him. Kenny broke his shoulder right away out in the prairie. He was probably chasing a jack rabbit and hit a small size gully that tossed him in the air like it did me one time. Fortune for me it just sprung the forks. Walt had a hydraulic press that worked real well for getting the bends out of forks.
Kenny was working with me most of the time, so some of jobs that he couldn’t do with a cast on his shoulder was done by us other fellows. He could clean out the refused trap on the two pulverizers when we were burning coal, but he couldn’t pull the chains for blowing the sootblowers.
**The story of climbing the frozen coal pile would fit better here and the dike riding. **
The next thing that Kenny did was trade this 650 triumph to Walt for a 1955 Woodsman Indian. See page 129 of Jerry Hatfield book on INDIAN motorcycle, second Edition of what a Woodsman looks like. Kenny had found his dream machine this time. He would clean and polish this baby and not abuse it.
So, when we got rotation of shifts, we made plans to get in a reliability run up at the Gremlin Park located one mile East of 9500 North Washington, which is North of Denver, CO. The Gravel Gremlins Motorcycle Club had a nice club house and a Tourist Trophy or T.T. Track on their grounds.
Just so you will know, here is the description of a T. T. Track: “A Tourist Trophy or T. T. Race is run on a safe course not less than 5 ft. wide and preferably 10 ft. wide at any point. The course should be very irregular so that both right and left hand turns have to be negotiated and should include a hill that will necessitate gear changing. There shall be no water splash or mud bog.”
Copied from the May 18, 1952 souvenir program for the motorcycle races at the Gremlin Park.
Kenny for some reason took his headlight off and left it in my garage, even though I had told him that he should leave it on. “It’s not that kind of a race, Kenny! Beside, a policeman or state patrol might stop you if you aren’t legal.” I told him. But he wanted to be “SPORTY,” he said.
Kurt Atkinson and Kenny borrowed a rental two wheel trailer from Danny’s Trailer rental for their two road machines and I borrowed “Flying Eddie” Grasmick’s three rail trailer for my “Blue-Tiger”. Bob James Special, all terrain motorcycle.
Wanda had purchase us two-tone blue sweaters with a picture of a tiger on the front and a tiger on the back. Wanda line-up her sisters to take care of our twin girls, L. Kay & L. Karen and the four boys, Robert C. “Bobby,” Kenneth W., Marvin L. and Vernon R..
We hadn’t had too many week ends passes from being parents for a long time. We pulled off of old US 85- 87 and slept in our 1952 Plymouth station wagon on the just being built section of the Interstate 25 before dropping down to Denver, CO.
The next morning, we found the Gremlin Park and there was Kurt & Kenny already racing around the track. Now I realized why Kenny had taken off his headlight! The four of us went somewhere for breakfast and rode around some in Kenny’s Ford. Leaving the trailers and our car there at the club ground. Did you know that the width of a FORD wheels is the same width of the railroad tracks? Kenny had already demonstrated this to me by the power plant. So he had to show Wanda. He went all over looking for some railroad tracks and it was getting closer to the time to check in at the club house. Soon, it was time to sign up and ride on this Reliability Run.
Kurt & Kenny let Wanda & I do all the figuring and they just rode. I can’t tell you just where we went, but we saw lots of beautiful mountains that we had never seen before. One place we pulled over to pass some time, a lady was painting a landscape scene. We visited and then continue on the run. Soon it was time to check in at the finish, which brought us full circle back to the Gremlin Park.
You won’t believe this, but Kenny won and got a nice trophy. His first trophy. Kurt was second, but no trophy. I believe they gave Kurt a plaque for second place. Wanda & I were fourth. But we had an enjoyable ride that nobody could ever take away from us!
All winter, I had made different time sheets and wrestled with numbers to make an Elapse time/mileage sheets placed on a revolving drum made from a liquid soap can, a two figure time/ distance dial, two stop-watches, one rubber-mounted in an old bronze gauge housing on the handlebars near the drum and a clipboard mounted on the gas tank carrying rack.
It was a real thrill to see how happy Kenny & Kurt were from winning the GOLD.
They played around some more on the track until time to head back to Pueblo and our responsibilities. Kenny had to show-off just one more time. He rode the plank up into the trailer, but nearly lost his balance.
I can hear him now laughing and carrying on through-out that day.
Little did we know that before another month would roll around that Kenny would be killed by a car, pulling a left hand turn in front of him. Dam it, why didn’t he come over and put the headlight back on?
It was dusk and Kurt & Kenny were working on one or two of Walt’s motors in Kenny & Edna’s yard. Kenny’s wife & Kurt’s wife had asked them to go with them to the Drive-in Theater just within an hour before. No, they wanted to make some extra credits with Walt. Soon, it was time to have a beer and cool off. Kenny jumped on his headless Woodsman and went for a six pack. On the way back, a man in a car made a left hand turn off of Fourth Street onto 20th Street in front of a headless woodsman and rider.
Kurt heard the whaling sound of the Fire department first-aid truck heading east and just had that gut feeling that Kenny was in trouble. He stopped what he was doing and rode to the scene hoping for the best.
Kenny was rushed to the Emergency room of Parkview Hospital. There was no way to save Kenny. He died before very much could be done to stop the bleeding from his head and other parts of his body.
Walt, Kurt and I were pallbearers along with Bob Sturtevant and I think “Flying Eddie” Grasmick and another plant man.
Bob Sturtevant lived next door to Kenny & Edna on East 5th Street in the 16th or 17th hundredth block. Bob was working that night at the Drive-in Theater and was the one that told Edna & Kurt’s wife what had happen to Kenny.
Bob and I had known each other somewhat back in high school and around town. He was a truck delivery man for Nabisco at this time. He asks me if there was a chance that he could get a job at the plant. I told him that when we get back to Pueblo, we could go and ask Supt. Fred Morgan. Bob was hired and started to work the very next week. I had bob as my first Helper for many of years. But, “That’s another Story!”
Many times when Kenny wanted to talk, he would come up from the pump room and shoot the breeze with me at the No 6 Boiler Control Desks. Sooner or later the subject of death comes up when men are just shooting the breeze and you have a chance to witness for Jesus.
Kenny believed some of the bible, but like so many of us, we don’t get down deep enough to really get a good hold of what Jesus did for us here on earth.
Kenny, believed that when your number is up, there is no way you can prevent death. My answer to him was always the same. “If you flirt with death, you can speed it up!”
I learned on my Harleys, Indians and Triumph and Yamaha, that it pays to ride with your headlight on all the time. Always drive defensive. Jim Sasso told me this the first time that he gave me a ride home on my first Harley to show it to my folks.
That just about covers my thoughts and stories on Kenny Howe.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Something that I had sent to Carl Edeburn

Hello everybody,
Back when Carl Edeburn was getting material for his book :"Sturgis The Story of the Rally", he ask me to write some of my motorcycle history down and send it to him. Of which I did.
Carl in turn used a small part of it in his book.
Carl did send me by e-mail his rewrote version: SO, here it is:


Carl, Ken & Kay, I can’t remember if I ever sent this to you.

Robert (Bobby) James an early racing participant from Pueblo, Colorado spent the week with Clarence & Pearl Hoel enjoying the 1985 rally. James, who bought his first motorcycle in 1944; a 1931 Harley-Davidson 30.50 CI single. He began competing in 1946 on an Army surplus 1942 Harley-Davidson 45 CI that he bought at the F.O. B. price of $415 from the GENUINE Harley-Davidson Dealer; The SASSO BRO’S., of Pueblo, Colorado.
James said his first trophy was won at the Colorado Gypsy Tour of 1946 and his first money was won at Rocky Ford, Colorado of that same year. He was competing with the Harley-Davidson Dealers, Gif Henderson from Denver and Vern McMullen from Colorado Springs along with Malcolm Sims from Pueblo and Pete Wood from Colorado Springs. All of them were older and experience in Dirt Track, Hill Climbs and Tourist Trophy Racing from the Pre-World War ll era. Bobby said he ate dirt in the two races from Gif & Vern but the other two contestants didn’t give him any problems.
Shortly after this, James teamed up with Indian Dealer, Walt Timme from Pueblo. Walt & Bobby started winning races and hill climbs in Colorado. In 1947, it was time to go to Sturgis to spin wheels with some of the best Dirt Trackers of America.
As a Novice at Sturgis in 1947, he did good enough to move on to Norton, Kansas where he had his hands in the money bag both days of racing on this half-mile horse track
By 1948, Bobby James, 80N, Indian Racer was making a name for himself along with his Sponsor and Wrench, Walt Timme. He was even getting pointers from Jim Tagaris, of Harry Motors of Denver during these two years of racing. It was at Sturgis when Bobby won an Amateur Heat Race that his picture was taken holding the Checker Flag while setting on ‘The Chrome Job” and shaking hands with Mrs. Harriett Anderson. This is the same young lady that is featured in my first book on page 69 with Chuck Basney and Pappy Hoel. Before the two days of racing was over, Bobby had picked up some more points towards becoming an Expert for 1949 as well as enough prize money to race at Norton, Kansas once more and build-up his much needed expense account for the Springfield Mile. His pitman was his brother, Raleigh and Ray Magan.
Bobby told me, “It was a great feeling when Pappy Hoel greased my palm with a twenty dollar bill.”
Bobby told me that he felt that he was on his way to race Springfield for sure in 1948.
Carl, I even had a girlfriend by the name of Wanda E. Dibler. I sent her telegrams both nights from Deadwood, South Dakota, telling her how I had placed in the money.
By the time that Sturgis of 1949 was approaching, Bobby & Wanda were married and expecting a baby sometime in February of 1950. The baby turned out to be TWINS.
Teaming up with Jim Tagaris for all the racing and Colorado Hillclimb along with a shift job at Pueblo Power Plant didn’t fit in very well with his racing career. But Bobby had made an agreement with Jim to race for him and just maybe Springfield would be his apex in racing. His job at the Power Plant was placed on the back burner with reluctance from everyone.
Carl, my racing at Sturgis as an Expert for the two days of racing was fair. My racing at Norton, Kansas was just as fair. I felt that it was best not to spend anymore money chasing a dream of ever racing at Springfield, Illinois. So, I told Jim, let us go back to Denver and race the T. T. at Pueblo.
My next time at Sturgis was not to take place until Bob Larratt told me about the White Plate Trackers Monument that was going to be built.
I’ll work on that next and how I became one of the Executive Directors of the WPFTA. Bob.

ENJOY, By Bob James, 80N.

Friday, June 26, 2009

An old letter of mine

Hello everybody,
I am still not sure how to do this. That is why I have not posted. Bob James.

OK! I wanted to say something about Ed McComish, but I will first see how this old letter goes to press.

The first word that I received about the White Plate Flat Trackers Association came from my friend, Bob Larratt on September 10, 1980. He gave me the letter that he had received. I wrote a letter on September 12, 1980 to the WPFTA in care of J. C. Hoel. Telling him that I was glad that this organization had been formed and I sent a $25.00 check. On October 5, 1980, I wrote back to “Pappy” after receiving the acknowledgement that he had received my $25 check. From that time until Pappy took sick and couldn’t write to me, we exchanged many letters with each other. I finished paying my donation and then some. Received my uniform and some extra t-shirts before the next meeting.
At the meeting of the White Plate Flat Trackers Association of August 13, 1988, I was nominated & voted to be the Executive Director. My term was over on August 9, 1991.
I wrote lots of letters before, during and after being in this position. I’m not sure of which number I happen to be.
Bob Moore was given the title of President when it was first formed in 1980. Neil Hultman was Vice-President; Richard Creed was Secretary and Jerry Malcolm was Treasurer. On the Advisory Board there were J. C. Hoel, Don Rice and Bill Gikling; for the first Board of Directors there were Al Burke, Chairman, Neil Keen, Al Nelson, Dan Duebler, Bill Tuman and Joe Doyle.
In the letter from Al Burke of December 1981, he told us that Jim Sprik of Denver, Colorado is our new Executive Director. So maybe Jim became the Executive Director the same day when we dedicated the Monument on August 6, 1981.
In the letter from Al Burke of January 1984, he told us that Jim Sprik stepped down as Executive Director and Norm Tietz was elected for the coming year to replace Jim.
I have a letter dated March 25, 1984 from Norm Tietz , Ex. Dir. So, I assume that Mr. Tietz served until August of 1984.
In a letter from Pappy dated as received on March 20, 1985, I am informed that Norm Tietz is no longer in his former official capacity, in place is Don Vodden of Harker, Texas.
In this same letter, J. C. Pappy Hoel informs us that due to health reasons, he is resigning as of June 1, 1985 as Financial Secretary.
In this same letter he suggested that I write to our President, Bob Moore about how to get more names on the memoriam panel.
In all of the letters that I received from Pappy from 1980 until I became the Executive Director it showed that Pappy is the Executive Director or the Financial Secretary.
After me came our youngest Executive Director, Jeff Dietz.
The present Executive Director is Denny Kannenberg.

Carl, maybe this will help you some about the White Plate Flat Trackers Association.
If you need what I have about Jim Spirk, I could fill you in on him since he died on Nov. 5, 1999.
Time to retire, Bob.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bikers run Roeder Memorial, possibly for last time! Sports Article
BY DON HOHLER - Reflector Sportswriter
Saturday, June 13, 2009 1:27 AM EDT

JEFF VAN NATTA/REFLECTOR Aaron Sheid from Willard competes in the open amateur class at the George Roeder I & Don Martin Memorial 1/2 mile flat track motorcycle racing show Friday at the Huron County Fairgrounds in Norwalk.

It very possibly was the end of an era at the Huron County Fairgrounds Friday afternoon. The 20th running of the Don Martin-George Roeder Memorial Race may well have been the last.

Although two of the sons of George Roeder, Geo and Jess, were present, neither rode. Both are now business partners at what was the original Harley-Davidson dealership in Monroeville.

A fine crowd witnessed a regional event that had 79 entries.

Article source:


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ed McComish Jr. -- Rest in Peace

Edward McComish Jr., Phoenix
Edward F. McComish Jr., 82, Phoenix, died Friday, June 5, 2009, in Phoenix. Memorial services will be held in Phoenix. Burial will be in Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, in the fall.
Arrangements are under the direction of Hansen Mortuaries, Phoenix.
Edward F. McComish Jr., 82, Phoenix, died Friday, June 5, 2009, in Phoenix.

Memorial services will be held in Phoenix. Burial will be in Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, in the fall.

Arrangements are under the direction of Hansen Mortuaries, Phoenix.

He was born in 1927 in Mitchell to Edward Sr. and Amanda (Moorman) McComish.

He served as a Seabee in World War II.

He worked at several newspapers in this area before he moved to Brookings where he and his wife built and operated the A&W Drive-In.

In 1972, they returned to Mitchell and developed and operated the KOA Kampground.

He retired to Phoenix.

He was a lifetime member of Lions Club.

He is survived by his wife, Ramona; three children: Linda Nilsson and Jean Doering, both of Phoenix; and Bruce, Mitchell; six grandchildren and a sister, Mary Lou Andrews, Mitchell.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Lions Club or a service organization of your choice.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rapid City 1/2 Mile & Sturgis Races 2009

Anyone headed to the Black Hills for the Rally and need information on the races, here is a couple links for information.

Click For Jackpine Gypsies Schedule

Click For Rapid City 1/2 Mile

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

WPFTA June 2009 Newsletter

The June 2009 WPFTA Newsletter is now available with a big thanks to Kari Kannenberg for all her hard work and dedication.

The newsletter is (Click_Here) to download a copy to read on your computer or to print a copy to save.

Ride Safe

Friday, May 22, 2009

1957 Triumph Factory tour

Now this is really great find. Hope you all enjoy the film.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Digital back issues of American Motorcyclist now online

Google Books partnership provides searchable 50-year archive

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce that it has made much of its back catalog of American Motorcyclist magazine available online, for free, through a partnership with Google.

The move -- the first of its scope in the motorcycle industry -- puts a searchable online database of American Motorcyclist issues between 1955 and 2007 within reach of motorcycle enthusiasts everywhere. The collection of more than 630 issues is viewable by visiting and searching "American Motorcyclist."

"American Motorcyclist has long served as the publication of record for motorcycling rights, riding and racing in the United States, and much of what you'll now find online at Google Book Search is information you'll find nowhere else in the motorcycling world," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman.

"For 85 years the AMA has been the steward of motorcycling heritage," Dingman continued. "We're proud to announce that with our partnership with Google, we're now able to more widely and easily share a large part of that heritage with the world."

Said Google's Punit Soni: "For years, we've worked to make as much information as possible accessible online, whether that information comes from books, newspapers, or images. We think that bringing more magazines online is one more important step toward our long-standing goal of providing access to all the world's information."

Google Book Search showcases every single page of the magazine, including ads, columns and front and back covers. Set up for leisurely browsing by enthusiasts or dedicated searching by keyword for historians, the American Motorcyclist collection is now available to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection.

About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has promoted and protected the motorcycling lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world's largest motorcycle organization with nearly 300,000 members, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists' interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition events than any other organization in the world. Through its Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, visit

<-Here is a shortcut that you can copy and paste into your address bar that will take you directly to the January 1950 issue->,M1

There is an image of a magnifiying glass located at the upper center of page that you can click on to make the page large enough to easily read.

Hope you all enjoy this as much as I do.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

John “Jack” Armstrong 1928 - 2009

On Saturday April 25th, 2009 the last member of the Armstrong racing family quietly left us. In Wilbraham Massachusetts, John “Jack” Armstrong passed away during the morning hours. His 20 plus year race against cancer finally coming to an end. Jack was predeceased by his father Erle “Red” “Pop” Armstrong (Racer, Chief Engineer Indian Motorcycle, Vaudevillian, and Hall of Fame member) and his brothers Bobby (Hill climber and Hall of Fame member) and Bill (Racer, and race mechanic for his brothers) – all Indian Motorcycle factory racers and employees at one time or another.

As with all his family, Jack lived and breathed “Indian” all his life – recanting memories of his growing up in the motorcycle and racing world of a time long past. Though not an “expert” in the Indian world, Jack was often called upon to assist and share his remembrances for stories, books, TV specials, and biographies relating to the Indian Motorcycle world.

Jack never lost his passion for racing – even after leaving competition (flat track) in the early 50’s to support a family (truth be told, it was a promise he made to his wife Nancy). An accomplished dirt tracker in the amateur and then profession ranks, Jack never lost his passion to compete. In the early 70’s, he re-entered the active world of racing as a hill climber on the AMA New England Hill Climb “circuit”. He set a hill record or two and gathered a few trophies along the way – not too bad for a man is his late 40 and well into his 50’s. He also served as an active member of the New England Hillclimber’s Association – serving on the board and as president.

Personally, and yes I am a bit biased, his greatest contribution to the racing world was not his own accomplishments, but rather the passion he showed for motorcycle racing, and his desire to share his stories and mentor the “new comers”. He was always willing to help any serious racer, often offering riding suggestions, engine “tuning” tips, porting secrets, and anything else that could help them gain an edge. Jack also contributed to the restoration of several Indian motorcycles, his memory of some of the finer details priceless.

In the mid 80’s, he was first diagnosed with cancer and finally gave up his second racing career. Never wanting to be a “show”, he felt his competitive abilities were not at the level they needed to be. Thus, he sold his racers and engines and said goodbye to the hills, dirt and mud. He never said goodbye to his colleagues though and continued to help anyone who asked and/or came by. Several of his engines showed up (and placed) in the ensuing nationals and pro events – in the hands of some of the new breed of riders moving from the amateur to the pro races.

Besides his wife Nancy of 59 years and children Charles and Christine, Jack leaves a world of friends and former colleagues who shared a two wheel passion and a desire to be out of the dust and first across the line.

Rest assured, he is back under the tutelage and wrenches of his father and brothers – and ready to race all that have gone before him.

Chuck Armstrong

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Billings Grand National Canceled -- Lowest number of races in 48 years

April 16, 2009 - 02:43 PM

The AMA Grand National Championship event scheduled for the MetraPark Raceway Half-Mile, in Billings, Montana, on August 1 has been canceled, this according to Michael Marsh of Recreational Action Sports Entertainment, the company promoting the event.

In an email sent to Cycle News today (Thursday, April 16), Marsh said:

“I'm disappointed to report that we have had to pull the AMA flat track motorcycle race event in Billings for 2009. In large part the downturn in the economy was primarily responsible for our inability to raise sufficient capital / sponsorship to meet the pre-event cash needs… I just can't put my name on something unless I am sure we can pay the bills at the end of the day. I was left significantly short of the up front costs necessary to sign the AMA contract, so Monday notice was given to pull us from the schedule. Without the primary event (the AMA flat track race), the difficult decision was made to cancel The Warm Up in its entirety for 2009.”

Marsh sounded hopeful that the event may return in the future.

“I'm very sorry for the riders, the dedicated flat track fans and the city of Billings that we can't pull 2009 together,” he said. “but I’m looking forward to working with you again next year (2010).”

Calls and emails to Mike Kidd, AMA Pro Racing Director of Flat Track, have not been returned.

With the Billings cancellation the AMA Grand National Championship is now down to 10 race weekends and 13 rounds total. That marks the fewest number of races in the championship in 48 years.

The Billings race debuted last year and was unique in that it featured the Grand National Singles on a Half-Mile track. The venue and organization of last year’s race received high marks, although the race suffered poor attendance, generously estimated at the time to around 2500 spectators. Kenny Coolbeth won the event.

In a February interview with Cycle News, Kidd said AMA Pro Racing was working to add a race at Rapid City, South Dakota, the Tuesday after Billings in order to give riders more of an incentive to make the trip out West. With Billings off the schedule the Rapid City event now seems unlikely to materialize.

The next round of the AMA Grand National Championship is slated for Springfield, Illinois, May 23-24.

What a great disappointment! Last year was the first time that a race was held at the Metra Park in Billings and we were really looking forward to this summer not only for Billings but also for the Sturgis / Rapid City races.

The sport of flat track motorcycle racing is in serious need of support. Whether it is sponsorship support of scheduled events or simply participating in forums such as this.

Who will keep the sport alive for future generations if it is allowed to wither away from neglect and apathy?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Need help identifying a flat Tracker frame

Received an email from Kyle Taylor who needs some help identifying a flat tracker frame. Maybe someone here can help him so I am posting his request below.

To the WPFTA:
A friend of mine recently acquired a flat tracker with what appears to be a Stalcup frame or a Stalcup was the owner. The name "Stalcup" appears on the frame at the rear by the tire. It looks like "welding writing". It has a Yamaha two stroke engine. No brakes but the rear disk is present. The tank(small capacity) and seat pan/fender are black fiberglass and look like after-market dirt tracker stuff.

I can send pics if anyone can help me with the id of this bike.

Kyle Taylor

Thursday, March 12, 2009


In 1954 SPEED THOMAS the Harley-Davidson Dealer KC.MO mention to me that he was going to Trailer Ray Hendershot's Triumph to Daytona Beach for the races, and ask If I would like to come along. Having never been to Daytona . SPEED did not have to ask me twice. The plan was that Ray was going to ride his new BSA SUPER FLASH down to Daytona and we would hook up with him when we got there. Ray was a BSA DEALER IN KC. KS

Making this trip would mean several FIRST so I was really looking forward to the trip. One of the BIGGIES was to see the OCEAN for the first time. Oh, I know you people that live on the COASTLINE and seeing BIG BLUE is no big deal. However for us here in the HEART OF THE HOMELAND it was a BIG DEAL for me. Later in life I had a chance to SAIL across the BIG BLUE, Thanks to the US. ARMY , while on my way to KOREA, but that is a whole other story.

Speed, had ask two other fellows to come along , so the non -stop trip with limited driving was to be a easy one.
My Twin Brother ( Fred) and I had been reading & saving Motorcycle Magazines for several years. and had read all about the 200 MILE BEACH RACE AT DAYTONA BEACH . We arrived at DAYTONA early in the week and the Main Street and South Atlantic Ave. was already full of People and Motorcycles, just like we had read in the Motorcycle Magazines over the years.

We went to our Motel that was right on the BEACH SIDE, and my First view of the OCEAN was AWESOME ! I could also view Bikers riding on the beach enjoying the SUN & SAND'S OF DAYTONA BEACH.

They say that you never forget " THE FIRST OF ANYTHING " and that SEA BREEZE is in my Lungs still today !

Ray, comes by the Motel and looks his Race Bike over and picks up his stuff that we brought down with us. He is stayed in Motel next to ours. That evening we all go out to dinner. When the waiter was taking my order he ask " Would you like some Hush Puppies " with your order. Well another FIRST FOR ME.. Ray and Speed could tell that I had no idea, what the waiter was talking about....They both started laughing out loud. OK ,the joke is on me.

The next morning Ray comes over on the BSA and said " GEORGE LETS TAKE A RIDE TO SEE THE BSA RACE BIKES."

This was great news as the local newspaper had write-ups about the National Riders and Motorcycles ( BSA'S ) that were here from the BSA FACTORY IN ENGLAND. Ray and I rode for about 15 Miles and then we came to a OLD AIRPLANE HANGER WWII STYLE. I guess because Ray was a NEW BSA DEALER he had the info. that the BRITISH RACE BIKES were there. We went inside and looked the BSA RACING MODELS OVER. Little did we know at that time these BSA RACE BIKES would set a record at DAYTONA 200 MILE RACE , that will last forever.

Results later in this story. Now we get a little closer to the ENGLISHMAN WRENCHING , on a BSA.

I don't know how many of you knew AL GUNTER, but they say he was not a easy guy to get to know, if you were around him better, just look at what is going on don't speak . Well here comes AL GUNTER , where we are looking this BSA TWIN . AL notices that the Primary Cover, was off the BSA. AL ask the Englishman working on the Bike "WHY DON'T YOU HAVE A SINGLE ROLLER PRIMARY CHAIN ON IT ? " The Englishman gave the WRONG ANSWER " BECAUSE IT CAN NOT BE DONE?" AL GUNTER Blows -up " You Dumb LIMEY , I PUT ONE ON MY BSA TWIN LAST YR. AND WON A NATIONAL ". What AL was referring to was his First National WIN in 1953 at SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA. AL'S AMA RACE Number was 53Z back then.

Race Day is HERE ! I along with the other two guys that came with us were to be PIT MEN for Ray. I was to be the GAS CAN MAN . Ray only made 4 Laps as his motor blew a piston. THE FIRST RIDERS IN THE 1954 200 MILE RACE WERE :
1st place BOBBY HILL ............. BSA

2nd place DICK KLAMFOTH ... BSA


4th place AL GUNTER..................BSA

5th place KENNY EGGERS..........BSA

Remember early on that I mention SPEED THOMAS was a KC HARLEY -DAVIDSON DEALER ?
He and Ray were long time friends, and he knew that I had a BSA, and that RAYwas my BSA Dealer and friend too.

Speed, would be driving and he would turn the rear view mirror at me , setting in the back seat and say " THE BEST MOTORCYCLE DID NOT WIN THE RACE". My reply was that " Don Hutchinson from KC. MO brought in the 1ST HARLEY - DAVIDSON in 10th Place, so that should make you HAPPY. Well that would SPEED quiet for about 75 miles and then back to " The Best Motorcycle did not WIN the Race"
Arriving back Home , I had much to tell my brother Fred and others about Daytona Beach Races 1954.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More about my Daytona Days of 1948

Hello To Many:
I am trying my hand at coping & pasting: Bob James.

Hello Ken,
I know it was Bill Armstrong that I helped work some on his Indian Sport Scout Racer. Erle "POP" Armstrong was my Instructor at the Indian Factory School. Jackie Armstrong was about my age and Bill was like 30 some years of age or more in 1948 and was married and had at least two children. Bill was working on the Indian Factory assembly line putting the flywheels in the cases when the class was being showed how it works to put an Indian Chief together.
Bill and his family lived in the duplex house with Pop & his wife in the other duplex. One weekend when I was helping Bill and it was getting late and colder outside, Pop came down to the basement and later Jackie & one of his buddies had also showed up. Jackie & his buddy past their bottle of booze around and I refused to drink with them. He ask me if I was some kind of Jesus Frick and I told him; "No, I just don't drink." I just kept working on Bill's Racer. Pop even had his drink with him. So, soon Jackie & his buddy left and Pop went back upstairs. Along about midnight,, Pop came back down to the basement and told Bill & me that I just as well sleep in Jackie's bed instead of getting out in the cold and walking the distance to Fritize Baer house where I was staying.
I should had called Mrs. Baer because the next day when I findly showed up she was worried about me. They hadn't seen me since Friday when I & another young man had rode to the Indian Factory that morning with her husband, Fritize Baer and his son Bobby. Fritize was some kind of BIGSHOT for the Indian's.
Well, Anyway I slept in Jackie's bed like Pop has suggested. Jackie had won a 50 mile race on his Indian Race up at Laconia last year and BOY did I feel special of getting to sleep in his bed! But I took a dislike to Jackie for calling me a Jesus Frick.
Even down at Daytona I didn't like being around Jackie Armstrong. I can't remember the names of the two pit-man for Bill Armstrong. They didn't seem to care much for me being part of the pit crew, so I kind of went my own way the day of the Saturday race for Jackie and Sunday race for Bill. I did let Bill borrow my stop-watch however.
I met Dayton Cooper & his girlfriend from Denver and spent some time watching the races with them. I made a trade with Dayton & his girlfriend at his request. I let her have enough of my bus tickets to get het to het grandmothers place in another state and I rode back to Pueblo with Dayton on his Harley and side hack. Said my GOODBYES to Bill and his two man crew after the Sunday race was over and them Dayton saw his girlfriend off on the Bus and him & I took off on his Harley and drove all night I think and all day until we finally got a motel somewhere maybe along the Gulf of Mexico near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We stayed south until it was time to drive north to Los Alamos, New Mexico to visit with our motorcycle friend Boyd West and his wife Thelma and their small son for two nights. From there it was to Pueblo where Dayton & I pulled into my folks yard on his Harley with a side hack. We would take turns driving & sleeping. I figured out that I could sleep on the Side Hack pretty good and so Dayton gave it a try. One time we had to adjust the chains on his machine and one time we got caught in a hail storm in New Mexico and got down inside of a coveret under the highway. It turned cold then before we got in at Santa Fe and on up to the hill at Los Alamos. It was a GREAT experience for me at 20 years of age.
This is getting too long, so will stop for now. Time to go BOWLING!

Take Care, Dad.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Daytona Bike Week I believe is here.

Hello, This is March 7, 2009 and I believe that Daytona Bike Week is going on.

I was there for the races of 1948 when the races used the beach for the front straight-way.
I drew number 12 position for the Saturday Amateur 50 miles race. My wheels didn't materialize like I had hoped for.
I was there with Billie Armstrong No 55 Indian Racer from Springfield, Mass. I took pictures of him and the two pit crew members that we had for Billie and his young brother Jackie Armstrong. Other pictures that I took were Johnny Speigelhoff, Ted Edwards, Bobby Baer and Floyd Emde. Bill Tuman and his brother walking and Ed Kretz with Floyd Emde wife. Oh yes, Chuck Basney and Fred Ford. There is a few more that I can't think of their names right now.

Bob James 80N.

A new way of reaching YOU!

Hello White Plate Trackers,
Here we have an excellent way of reaching each other!

Bob James 80n


Ray Hendershot, was the BSA DEALER in KANSAS CITY, KS in 1958. Ray would help out any rider that needed help, along the way. In 1958 he met such a rider, a First Year Class " A" Rider . During my visit to Ray's shop the Topic of the STURGIS SD. RACES came up. Ray often mentioned the STURGIS RACES and the FEED HELD AT THE CITY PARK...BUFFALO BUGERS !

Being that the STURGIS RACES were a 2 day event, Ray ask me if I would like to come along to watch over things as he could only stay for one race day . Ray had a second night job at TWA, so after the 1st Day Races he would fly back to Kansas City KS. The plan was that after the STURGIS SD. RACES we would then go to thwe Kansas Fair Races and then on to SPRINGFIELD IL. for the MILE NATIONAL. Ray would meet us at SPRINGFIELD IL. that following weekend.

First Year Class " A" Rider did Ok the during the 1st day of racing. The next morning we headed out to get breakfast. We spotted some racers trailerd RACE BIKES parked at this small cafe on main street STURGIS, so we stopped and went inside. While sitting at our booth I noticed several well known CA. RACE RIDERS , sitting at a table near us.

We were about to order our Breakfast when in walks JOE LEONARD National # 1 in 1958. Joe ask the question "Does anybody have a sharp RAZOR as I want to have a clean shave when I kiss the Trophy Girl Today.

First Year Class "A" Rider sitting across from me in our booth says " Joe what makes you think , you are going to WIN the Trophy Dash Today ? " The CA. racer guys , sitting at the table near us look our way....Hell , I wanted to slid under or booths table, at that time. No comment fron JOE. I then ask First Year Class " A" Rider why he would say something like that to JOE LEONARD ? He said in his TEXAS DRAW " WELL THE RACE HAS NOT BEEN RUN YET".

Needless to say JOE LEONARD WON : The Trophy Dash ( Kissed the Trophy Girl) and WON everything else that day.

My long time friend, First Year Class "A" Rider went on to become a NATIONAL NUMBER and WON NATIONAL RACES at the MILE & 1/2 MILE RACE TRACKS ...........SAMMY TANNER # 7


Sturgis 1938

*click picture for larger view*
In Pappy Hoel's book "Life's Bits & Pieces" He has this picture that was taken at the first AMA sanctioned 1/2 mile race in Sturgis, South Dakota.

In the book he tells a great story about some of the events that led up to that day that I will post a portion of it here.

"Back in 1938 while operating an ice delivery business and also just starting my Indian motorcycle dealer agency, Sturgis held its first AMA sanctioned 1/2 mile races.

Old Uncle Mike Tagaris of Denver, Colorado, one of the leading Indian dealers of that time, gave us so much needed help and also so much needed advice to me in setting up a new Indian dealership. Bless his heart, I will never forget him.

His nephew, Jimmy Tagaris who carried on Mike's agency after Mike's death, came to Sturgis late in the night before a race and had no place to sleep. I told him I would fix him up and I took him and his group up the canyon to our ice house where natural ice was stored for delivery. I spread canvas on top of the sawdust which covered the ice and left,
thinking I had done my friend a favor.

Early the next morning here comes Jimmy, cold, shaking and miserable. He said "Holy cow, that place was cold last night. What kind of building was it?" When I told him he had been sleeping on top of over a 1,000 tons of ice he really blew up and I had some real explaining to do."

I am not sure, but I think it was Don Vodden who won the main event that day???

Friday, March 6, 2009

Riders Meeting!

It has been a long time coming but finally here is a place where members and friends of the WPFTA can share stories and do some virtual bench racing.

So with that all said -- let's get going!

*click the text below this message to leave a comment*