Brent Plummer sits under a canopy waiting to take to the track during a WERA Pro Series race at Road Atlanta in May of 1993. By this time Plummer, who was splitting time between racing and moto-journalism, was probably already in the planning stages of launching Motorcycle Online, generally recognized as the first major motorcycling website.
I’ll never forget in 1994 when Brent called me and told me he had just launched a site on the World Wide Web. I’d been online (with CompuServe) since the mid-1980s and was fairly well versed in online computing – even having heard inklings of hypertext – but I had no clue what the Web was at this point. Very few did since it had just been initiated. I had to go to my local college to find a computer with a browser (Mosaic) to view the site. Plummer instinctively knew the Web was going to be a big step in the world of communications and he staked his claim early with www.motorcycle.com. He also wisely bought dozens of other domain names before anyone knew their value. I’m guessing owning those domains probably later made him wealthy.
He not only had the foresight to be on the web first, but he also designed and built a sophisticated website all on his own. I once stayed at his house and he had a bookshelf that covered an entire wall with nothing but technical books on computer coding.
There may have been others, but Motorcycle Online was the first big motorcycle website that I recall and being first meant the site got huge numbers. It had tremendous content. Well written bike reviews, race reports, lifestyle, digital photos, videos, etc. All of this even before most people had enough bandwidth to truly enjoy all the content.
Brent gave me a job for a short time with MO, as we affectionately called the website. I had just quit my job as communications manager for AMA Pro Racing and Brent was there to keep me in the game at a critical time when I was considering other avenues. I’ll always be grateful to him for that.
Brent’s personal life took unique turns later and we lost touch. To this day I consider him certainly one of the smartest individuals in the motorcycling industry I ever had the privilege of meeting. He may have in fact, been more than just a visionary, but quite possibly a genius. – Larry Lawrence