Jeff James (5) and a group of other riders stage in the pits for a practice session during a WERA race weekend at Road Atlanta in May of 1986. James was one of the top B Production racers in WERA during the mid-1980s and he served as a rider’s school instructor as well. Later that summer James established a motorcycle track record at Watkins Glen which probably still stands since motorcycles haven’t raced there since. Also visible in the photo are Neil Barker (35), Buck Clemson (behind James) and Bob Englert (on the Pennzoil sponsored Yamaha).
The Houston TT and Short Track Nationals were the AMA Grand National season openers from 1968 through 1986. In its heyday Houston would pack in close to 60,000 fans inside the Astrodome to make it the best attended AMA Grand National event in the history of the series.
Surprisingly only one rider was able to sweep both nights of Houston in the rich history of the event. It was Steve Eklund in 1978, who won the TT and came back to take victory in the short track the next night. This is Eklund riding to victory in the Houston TT on his Yamaha.
Photo enthusiasts will be interested to know that Kodak Ektachrome 400 was introduced in 1977 allowing photographers to shoot color indoors without flash by pushing the Ektachrome to 1600 ASA and having it specially processed. That’s how this color photo of Eklund was captured.
Eklund was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998. Here is his bio.