Fred Merkel and his former mechanic Mike Velasco were reunited at the 1991 Transatlantic Match Races, where Merkel was on a break from World Superbike and spectating at the event. Velasco was turning wrenches for Freddie Spencer and Two Brothers Honda. Velasco had been Merkel’s mechanic during the time Fred was winning his AMA Superbike titles in the mid-1980s. I don’t know who the young woman is in the photo.
Ladies & Gents,
In 2000, I had the good fortune to read Ed Youngblood’s “John Penton & the Off-Road Motorcycle Revolution” during the spring, at a time when Austin was alive with the SXSW Music & Film Festival. I have been a lifelong dirt bike enthusiast, having raced motocross around Houston as a teenager and avidly followed the sport ever since. Given my love of dirt bikes, I expected to enjoy the story of Penton’s development of his own highly successful line of off-road motorcycles. What I didn’t expect was to be enthralled by his life story; his vision, his tenacity, his leadership and his love for his family. During SXSW, I saw the inspirational power of a well-made documentary. There I realized that Mr. Penton’s story had all the makings for a wonderful film. I have dreamed of that for over 12 years.
Now, with the help of Todd Huffman, we have a wonderful opportunity to bring this shared dream to reality. Please see: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/toddhuffman/the-john-penton-story-narrated-by-lyle-lovett
If you are inspired to help financially, that would be greatly appreciated. Every little bit will help! In any case, if you know of a friend or colleague that has a love for dirt bikes or might otherwise have an interest in a project of this kind, please forward this email on to them. That would be greatly appreciated, too.
Time is short. The Kickstarter process only allows a limited time for fundraising and it is almost over. More importantly, Mr. Penton is 86 years old. While his health is good, the reality is that he won’t be with us a whole lot longer. I would love to see this film completed to honor John Penton while he is still with us.
Thanks for sharing your time and attention. I know it is precious.
M. Jack Martin, III | Jack Martin & Associates
3345 Bee Cave Road, Ste. 105, Austin, TX 78746
Direct 512.614.2020 | Firm 512.473.0300
Fax 903.386.2714 | www.jmartinlaw.com
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Motorcycles have always pushed the boundaries of fuel economy, but American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Famer Craig Vetter knows they can do better. On July 20, at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, Vetter is issuing a challenge to help test the energy-conserving limits of motorcycles.
The Craig Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge is a 100-mile ride through the countryside surrounding the Mid-Ohio grounds. Competitors will ride their motorcycles under real-world conditions while attempting to consume the least fuel.
“Motorcycles can help us live better with less energy, and that is what we demonstrate with the Craig Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge,” Vetter said. “We want to discover the least amount of energy — in dollars and cents — it takes to travel the way we really ride. That’s why the conditions of these events happen on real roads and not under controlled track conditions.”
Vetter added that motorcycles not only have to produce excellent mileage, but they must be comfortable, attractive and be able to carry a reasonable load — such as four bags of groceries.
“We want to advance motorcycle technology,” Vetter said. “The best way to do that is to have a competition. Regardless of what type of motorcycle you ride, modified or not, we welcome your participation in this process. Plus, for casual competitors and friends, this is a great way to discover, under safe conditions, just whose bike does perform better on less fuel.”
The winning challenger at 2011 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days was Max Perethian, son of famous fuel economy pioneer Charly Perethian. Max consumed $4.53 worth of pump gas on his NX250, averaging 156 mpg. His fuel cost was 2.37 cents per mile.
Awards will be available for the overall winner, the best electric bike, the best alternative fuel challenger and the best traditional fuel challenger. Details, including further descriptions of each category and how costs per mile are measured, are available at www.craigvetter.com.
As the country’s grandest celebration of the people and machines that define motorcycling’s history, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days provides a unique backdrop for an event focused on the future of motorcycle design. The annual gathering features vintage and post-vintage competition in motocross, trials, hare scrambles, roadracing and dirt track. In addition to demo rides of current production bikes, it includes North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet, educational seminars, bike shows, motorcycling seminars, the new product Manufacturers’ Midway, and club corrals featuring marque and regional clubs.
Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. The goal of the Hall of Fame, located on the campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio, is to honor the distinguished men and women whose competitive spirit, passion, vision and entrepreneurship have played a vital role in shaping the sport, lifestyle and business of motorcycling. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame’s website at www.motorcyclemuseum.org.
For tickets to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, see www.midohio.com. For more information about the event, visit www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com.
About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle 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 motorcycling rights organization, 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 and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA honors the heroes and the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.
This is the start of what I would guess to be a qualifying heat race for the Loudon (N.H.) 250 Grand Prix in June of 1986. In pole position on the inside of the front row is Randy Renfrow (No. 96). Starting alongside Renfrow on the front row is Ed Key (No. 83), David Curtis (No. 47) and Gary Gibson (No. 86). Also visible in the start photo are Garry Griffith (No. 15), Thomas Runkle (No. 103), unknown rider (No. 184) and Lawrence Hanlon (No. 461). I’d be interested in knowing who the other riders picture in this shot are if anyone knows. Donny Greene won the main over local Jeff Heino and a young Rich Oliver.