If you would like to know more about my racing history go to this URL and you can read about my racing beginnings back in 1948. I've been competing as a racer ever since I was 8 years old. But not just in m/c racing. I didn't start racing bikes until 1969. Before that it was boats and cars.
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I began this thread just recently, and now that Daytona is over, I'll be back adding more information from my past on a fairly regular basis.
Now that I'm finally "retired", I have more time to write musings from my early youth.
And I'm really enjoying it! I'm beginning to go through all my memorabilia from those days. And I have a lot of it.
Most of which I've not looked at in 40 years!
I think you'll find it interesting.
Now that I'm retired I plan to keep writing my history simply because its a great way to "re- capture" some of those "lost moments" that have slipped from my memory until I started going through all my memorabilia.
Here's a "teaser" for all of you. Keep track of my boat racing thread. As I work up the years, you will discover some names that I'm sure you will recognize. Like Dieter Koenig from Germany (boat engine manufacturer).
I became a factory driver for Koenig boat engines back when I was just 17 years old.
Dieter came to the US in 1957 for his honeymoon, and also to race his father's racing engines, hoping to open a market for their racing engines in the US.
I ran up against him at a boat race in Savannah, Ga. at Lake Harr. I was the current Hi-Point champion and 5 class champion in the South-Eastern Boat racing Association at the time.
But I sure met my match that day! His piston port engines just blew my modified Mercury engines into the "weeds" on that day!
We became good friends and when he left to go back to Germany, he left me his 250cc, 230cc and 500cc engines for me to race. And told me to return them to Scott Smith, their new importer, when they blew up.
To make a long story short - that's what I did!!
And it lead to factory support for me, and to setting two world records and winning two American Power Boat Championships in 1958 and 1959.
Then disaster struck -- and my life changed forever--- My dad was a boat racer too. We were a team. He started me racing boats when I was only 8 years old in 1948.
I would have remained in boat racing except for my dad's tragic accident at Daytona in 1959…………..
I was there that day and was also racing. Needless to say, his death that day altered my life forever.
I would have stayed in boat racing -- after all, I had an all expenses paid factory drive, and the prize money back then was really good...
But my mom told me that I had to make a choice. If I continued to race boats --- pack my bags. I was on my own.
I've always wondered what would have happened if I had just "checked out" at that point. But I'll never know.
I chose to honour her wishes and "forced retirement" from boat racing.
This allowed me to continue my education and get my college degree. Which was a good thing!
But there was NO WAY that my competitive urges could be just "shut off".
So I took up racing cars. And by 1969 I had switched to motorcycles and was doing motocross. Then switched to road racing in 1971.
And I actively raced bikes until last year. I did Daytona last year, and got to ride my favourite "old track" one more time, then called it quits.
My mother could never deal with, or understand, my love of the Daytona International Speedway. To her it was what killed my father back in '59.
But that is not the way I saw it. To me, every year I went to Daytona to race, it was a very special "reunion" between myself and my Dad! And it remains that way to this day --- and always will!
I feel closer to my Dad when I race at Daytona than any other time.
I have attached a copy of my "Daytona Report 2000". When you read it, you will understand why that day was so important to me. I FINALLY achieved a life long dream.
The reason that winning a motorcycle race at Daytona was so important to me is because I had won at Daytona in boat racing and car racing -- but never bikes.
Believe me when I say that even though I had been very successful in boat racing, the biggest thrill of my entire racing life was that FIRST M/C WIN AT Daytona!
I was on a "high" for over a month!!!