Scott Turner was good enough to send us a batch of classic racing photos taken by his dad Bud Turner. We’ll feature Bud’s photos in the coming weeks. Scott sent me a short bio about his dad. It was so good I thought I’d share it with you.
Bud Turner’s interest in photography began in 1953 when, at the age of 15, he and a friend hitchhiked from Tennessee to Florida to attend a World Championship sports car race at Sebring International Raceway. Of the $9 he left home with, he spent $6 on film for his camera! The two were able to sneak past the gates at the race and otherwise survive the weekend. It was this experience and the chance to photograph his heroes and racing legends that convinced him to pursue a career in photography.
Shortly after getting married, he was hired as a photographer for Combustion Engineering to work in the Metallurgical Laboratory. He had a 22 year career at C-E, in which time he became head of the photography department. When corporate downsizing led to a forced-layoff, he jumped at the opportunity to open a Commercial Photography studio. This career shift forced him to grow as a person and as a photographer. It would be accurate to say that he enjoyed being his own boss.
“Speed” was in his blood from an early age. Driving his father’s ’53 Studebaker, he gained a reputation as a KFG (known fast guy) and as a result, got into a few street races. He learned to deal with limitations, such as brake fade, of cars that were designed primarily for cruising. A few years later, he began autocrossing a Fiat 850 (a car known for excellent handling), winning many events and a regional championship.
He was always a fan of motorcycles and bought his first one shortly after moving out of his parents home, graduating from the Cushman scooter of his childhood to a Indian Woodsman 500. He owned many motorcycles throughout his life, including a Honda 305 Superhawk, Yamaha RD 350, and ’95 Ducati 900 Sport. In 1980, he bought his first Ducati, a 1975 750 Sport, which he began club racing three years later at the age of forty-five. At the time, track-days weren’t available, so his first track experience was during a race. He, along with his son, entered a WERA National Endurance event at Road Atlanta. It was truly a dream come true for him to race his Ducati on such a wonderful race track. With more experience, he became a competitive sprint racer.
In the fall 2006, he hopped on his Ducati and headed out for a Sunday morning motorcycle ride with a few friends. He was involved in a single-bike accident and died shortly after, surrounded by family and friends. It has become a cliché, but it’s safe to say that he died doing what he loved. He was 68 years old.