Saturday, February 4, 2012
The Daytona '97 crash photo sequence I posted recently isn't the only Daytona crash photo sequence I have. There is this one from 1975:
In 1974, I made points in the Novice class to advance to Junior, but I elected to remain a novice one more year. Perhaps because of these points, I was assigned a front row start for my heat race. In those days, one actually had to qualify to make the novice grid with maybe 140 riders vying for 80 spots on the final grid. I guess we didn't do a warm-up lap then, because I remember sitting on the heat race grid as the countdown started for the start when my motor died. I looked down and saw my fuel tap was off. I had to push the bike off the grid and wait until the whole grid left before I could push off. Now I was all amped up and trying to pass most of the field on the first lap to get back up with the front runners. As I entered the west horseshoe on the first lap, #141 (with the backward 4) fell right in front of me. I tried to stand it up and get around him, but no chance, and I hit his bike. My bike (#138), however, sort of surfed along on top of his bike and eventually gently flopped over on it's left side on the grass on the outside of the corner. I quickly checked that the brake levers and footrest were still there as I picked it up and pushed it off. I sort of remember a shove, but it wasn't until I got these photos by Mary Grothe years later, that I realized that the guy who caused the crash, helped me get going. I rode my ass off for the next four laps and just barely make the cut, qualifying 20th. I started the final on the back row and don't remember where I finished, but at least I got to run the race.