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In Memoriam: Gene Romero 1947-2019

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“I Dig Carnations!”

The motorcycle industry couldn’t be sadder. Another Champion is gone. Gene Romero, husband, father, best friend, legend and Champion.

Born, Gene Ronald Romero, May 22, 1947 in Martinez California, Gene called San Louis Obispo home. He cut lawns and cleaned pools to get his first motorcycle. His father, Gene senior, was a tough and proud man who imparted the traits of hard work and honest living to Gene and his two younger brothers, Carlos and Terry. Their mother, Emma was a saint. She had the intolerable job of raising these three, rough and tumble boys, while keeping up with the demands from the patriarch of this respectable Romero family. Her German lineage added a meticulous, sensible and loving aspect to their upbringing. But just don’t get between any of the Romero brothers (or senior) because chances are you may find yourself on the loosing end of the stick.

Always the cool one, Gene had those Elvis Presley good looks. He had class, talent, determination and the best sponsors you could find. He was one of America’s greatest motorcycle racers. He changed the course of professional motorcycle racing when he brought non-motorcycle-oriented sponsors into the sport from outside the industry. When local sponsors like, Bill’s muffler shop or Joe’s Garage seemed to be the only available course, Gene pursued and landed national sponsors like Busch Beer, Ocean Pacific, Evel Knievel and factory Yamaha.

Romero honed his racing skills on dirt and scrambles tracks in the Central Valley of California. As an amateur, Romero used his scramble skills to become a top TT Steeplechase Rider. Not surprisingly Romero’s first pro finish came at the age of 19 at the Castle Rock TT in July 1966. He adopted the nickname “Burritto” with two Ts instead of the conventional spelling with one T. His first national win was two years later in Lincoln, Nebraska riding a Triumph.

Romero had won 12 AMA Nationals during his 16-year racing career and received AMA’s most popular “Racer Of The Year” Award.

His greatest moments may have come in 1970 when he became National Champion, of the AMA Grand National Championship Series and in 1975 when on a completely different style of motorcycle, he became the winner of American Road Racing’s most coveted prize, the king of them all, the Daytona 200. That would be the equivalent of winning the IndyCar Championship and the Indianapolis 500…. an analogy unintended as patronizing… in fact it is flattery. More than once you’d hear his Indy 500 racing car cronies say, “Gene, you motorcycle racers are crazy!”

Chris Agajanian recalls Gene always having a unique way of expressing himself and not soliciting sympathy from others, like when he had a six-month stint in a full body cast.

“He was a huge personality. An old school spirit and akin to his pal “The Intimidator”, the other #3. Don’t cross him or you’d wish you hadn’t. He did it his way ‘til the very end. He had those Elvis Presley good looks and some of the best witticisms around.

Lying there in a full body cast and asked how he was doing, he quipped, “It’s no problem, I’ve had worse things in my eye.”

Still, his best quote was memorialized in the greatest motorcycle movie of all time, the Academy Award nominated documentary “On Any Sunday”. At the time, Gene needed a third place or better finish at the Sacramento Mile in order to be crowned the 1970 AMA Grand National Champion. He remarked when interviewed; “I don’t want to hurt anybody – but I’ve got to get third no matter what… I’m going to get third or come see me in the hospital – I dig carnations.”

The Agajanian Family is shaken and saddened at the loss of our dear friend “Burritto”. You are forever in our hearts. Elvis has left the building and Gene has left the racetrack – with the checkered flag.…..Chris Agajanian

Just seven years after his amateur race at Ascot Park in Southern California he became the youngest AMA Grand National Championship titleholder in the sport’s history at age 22. Gene was so dominant that year that he sealed the championship by winning the Sacramento Mile with two races remaining on the schedule.

After 16 years of racing, Romero retired. Following his retirement, American Honda Motor Co decided to take on Harley Davidson at their own game. Harley had that scene pretty well sewed up with its aluminum XR-750, a bike that every year became more and more intimately adapted to dirt. Honda’s philosophy was; it takes people who understand racing, backed by R&D. For Honda, one such person was Gene Romero. He was hired to manage Honda’s dirt track program. From 1984 to 1987, Honda took home the No. 1 plate and became the series king, winning four championships in a row.

Gene raced cars briefly before becoming a promoter and creating the west coast flat track series, which over the years, has given novice and semi pro riders a place to race at more than 30 venues stretching from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest. He was inducted into the Trailblazers Hall of Fame and soon after, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998. He died just 10 days short of his 72nd birthday and leaves behind his loving wife Cheri and 23-year-old son, Geno.

The family is besieged with prayers and good wishes. Cheri and Geno would like to thank you all for your wonderful thoughts and care. Please understand the sorrow and the despondency, a loss such as theirs, can have on all of the Romero Family. He was a real champion on and off the dirt. Please respect their privacy and peace.

In lieu of a memorial service, many racetracks across the nation will be having a “Moment of Silence” in our hero’s name. There will be a celebration of life TBA. To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Gene’s Championship run, a special event is being planned for the 2020 Sacramento Mile. “The Gene Romero Memorial Sacramento Mile” will feature a limited edition T-Shirt complete with the ROMERO name on the back over his stylized number 3. Also planned will be an Inaugural “Gene Romero Vintage Motorcycle Show” featuring the industry’s finest racing bikes, an official commemorative, pictorial program containing all of the champions that raced in the 1970 Sacramento Mile, the race that was featured in the movie “On Any Sunday”, a display of Gene’s personal, race-worn leathers, helmet and his beautiful Triumph motorcycle, an electronic green-screen photo booth where you and your family can have a picture taken with “Burritto”, a commemorative VIP photo-ticket that will be sold in advance, an autograph signing session for past and present riders on hand, a discounted VIP travel package and much more. Please stay tuned for updates. Chris Agajanian has just accepted the honor as Grand Marshal for the 2020 Sacramento Mile and would love to see you all join us for the Gene Romero Classic Motorcycle Spectacular. R.I.P. Gene Romero #3 “Burritto”

AMD Affiliate Qualifier Bike Show 2019 at ROT RALLY

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FREE STYLE WINNER GOES TO GERMANY FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

AMD Free Style Class

Anything goes, 2 or 3 wheel drivetrain/chassis motorcycle configuration as defined by the DMV. The only limitation is the builder’s imagination and resources.

This class is for those who want the chance for the opportunity to compete in AMD World Championship in Cologne, Germany. It is the direct path to the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building in Cologne, Germany to Intermot to challenge the best builders in the world.

$50 registration fee includes two passes to the entire weekend’s events and concerts

Winner gets $2000 on sight plus another $8000 expense when they show at the 2020 AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building.

Trophies to 5th Place

Garage Builders Open Class

This class is for fabricators that wish to show to promote their business rather compete. Registration fee includes a 10×10 outdoor booth for Builder’s businesses. This class is also ideal for any garage builder wanting to show off their talents and maybe prepare for more serious competitions in future.

$25 registration fee includes two passes to the entire weekend’s

Trophies for Call Outs in each division

Custom Street Division l

Must start with 1985 (1984 EVO’s will be included in this class) later major OEM engine and frame as base. Must maintain original engine cradle configuration. Neck may be cut to rake or stretch frame. Hard tail sections and wide tire alterations are acceptable. Must be a 2 or 3 wheel motorcycle configuration as defined by DMV.

  • Best Harley
  • Best Indian
  • Best in Division Winner
  • Best Euro/Metric

Custom Classic Division ll

Must have a 1984 or earlier OEM engine, replica engines are not allowed. Custom or stock modified frames are acceptable. Must be a 2 or 3 wheel motorcycle configuration as defined by DMV.

  • Best Chopper
  • Best Cafe/Trakker
  • Best Bobber
  • Best in Division Winner

To Full Face Helmet or not to Full Face Helmet

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A long standing proponent of freedom of choice, this year for the ride to Daytona Beach for the annual Bike Week pilgrimage – I decided to do something I’ve never, EVER done before in 37+ years of riding– sport a full face helmet. The helmet of choice for the trial was the Harley Davidson FXRG Sun Shield H29 Modular Helmet – Part Number 98359-19VX.

READ THE RIDER REVIEW AND EXPERIENCE AT THE CANTINA – Click Here

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Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient – Gloria Struck

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The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame is featuring Hall of Fame Highlights of this year’s outstanding new group of inductees. Here is a glimpse at what they had to say. For the full story join us at the 2019 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (tickets available below).  Congratulations to this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient – Gloria Struck.

While Gloria Tramontin Struck came from a motorcycling family, she didn’t originally have any burning desire to ride. Gloria was born in 1925 behind her family’s business, Lexington Cycle Shop, in Clifton, New Jersey. The business had been selling bicycles and Excelsior-Henderson motorcycles since 1915.

In 1946, at age 21, Gloria joined the Motor Maids that had just started in 1941. She and the founder’s daughter, Betty Fauls, are the longest standing members still riding.

Gloria has logged over 500 thousand miles, riding all 48 continental states many times over. Gloria’s family shares her love of riding. Her daughter Lori is also a Motor Maid and can always be seen riding with Gloria.

Learn more about Gloria Struck and all of the 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees on August 7, 2019 at the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

 

New Motorcycle Rights Organization

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Biker Lives Matter Florida USA
Great News…. John Rogue has once again stepped up and will be leading the upcoming Board of Directors for Biker Lives Matter – Florida USA… as “President”

for those that don’t know Rogue ” I am a well known Photo-Journalist in the Motorcycle Field and have had my work continually published in national magazines since the late 60s. I also do work for select individuals.” *source bikerrogue.com

He has been involved in Biker Rights almost as long as I have been alive (a long dang time)… was one of the founders of the “original” A.B.A.T.E. ….

We couldn’t ask for a better or more experienced person to take the controls… Thank You Rogue….

Rogue is the Senior Editor at Bikernet.com

ROGUE SAYS: To many brothers and sisters are being killed by stupid drivers ( I almost had a lady hit me today by coming into my lane)

I believe we can put together a new organization to get legislation passed that will seriously penalize any one that hits and injures or kills a motorcyclist.

I do not think it is going to be easy or quick But like other Motorcycle Rights we have fought for in the past and won I think we can with this one as well.

There is NO FEE TO JOIN THIS ORGANIZATION

GET INVOLVED NOW!

Vince Consiglio to join other Freedom Fighters in the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame

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The Motorcycle Riders Foundation would like to Congratulate Vince Consiglio of Michigan on his nomination and soon to be induction into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame. Each year, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame recognizes individuals or groups who have made a long-term, positive impact on the motorcycling community.

Vince joined ABATE of Michigan in 1975, and almost immediately was elected to the Board of Directors. He had spent almost four decades fighting against the mandatory helmet law in his home state before the victory finally became a reality in 2012. Vince has been a Chief Instructor since 1980 and has managed rider training ever since. He is also the current President of ABATE of Michigan and has held that position for over two decades.

There is no one in the motorcyclists rights movement that has held the title of State President for 25 years, managed rider education for nearly 40 years all while battling a mandatory helmet law for nearly 40 years.

Vince is also a constant presence representing the motorcyclists of Michigan in our Nations’ Capitol working closely with the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. ABATE of Michigan under Vince’s leadership has fostered effective working relationships with numerous members of Congress. Many of the federal bills brought forth on behalf of the motorcyclists of this nation were sponsored and co-sponsored by members of Congress from Michigan who were designated as Legislative Champions by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation.

Vince has been recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation as well as having been inducted into the Motorcycle Riders Foundation Hall of Fame in 2018.

Other Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame 2019 Inductees are: Frank Fritz, Jill Parham, Ron Paugh, Danny Fitzmaurice, Ron Finch, Terry Rymer, Gloria Struck and Lonnie Isam Jr ‘in memoriam’.

If you are planning on traveling to Sturgis for the 2019 Rally, consider joining the strong contingent of Motorcycle Rider Foundation members that will be in attendance at the Induction breakfast and ceremony on Wednesday August 7th at The Lodge at Deadwood.

Tickets are available here: https://www.sturgismuseum.com/hof

Vegas BikeFest Partners with Freeze Management

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Las Vegas, NV: Vegas BikeFest and Freeze Management announced today a strategic partnership to co-produce the 2019 Vegas BikeFest. Freeze Management will assist in all areas of the rally with emphasis on marketing and entertainment.

“Our vendors and attendees are what make Vegas BikeFest what it is and we believe the team at Freeze Management aligns with the culture of the rally. After seeing the recent success Freeze Management was able to bring to the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally, we are eager to partner with them to bring more excitement to Vegas BikeFest,” states Mindi Cherry, Vice President and Show Manager of Vegas BikeFest. The first order of business was adding hooligan flat track motorcycle racing to Vegas BikeFest with the Hooligan Dirt Dash series hosting a double header of racing Thursday, October 3 and Friday, October 4.

“Freeze Management specializes in understanding the enthusiasts within the motorcycle industry to create the best possible experience for attendees. For 19 years Vegas BikeFest has built a reputation as the premier west coast motorcycle rally and we look forward to working with the team to build upon that reputation through our abilities and experience,” added John Oakes, CEO and Founder of Freeze Management.

“We are truly excited for the future of Vegas BikeFest. The resources and experience of Freeze Management help deliver more value and opportunity for Vegas BikeFest than ever before,” stated Chuck Schwartz, Chairman of Vegas BikeFest.

The 19th annual Vegas BikeFest will be held October 3-6, 2019 in downtown Las Vegas with Rally Central at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center with events, rides, and activities happening throughout Las Vegas. Golden Nugget Hotel on the world-famous and wildly popular Fremont Street Experience will once again serve as headquarter hotel. To get information regarding vendor space, event registration, hotel packages and more visit www.LasVegasBikeFest.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lasvegasbikefest

Instagram: @LasVegasBikeFest

For more information, please contact Rachel Nepomuceno at Rachel@convexx.com or call 702-216-5855.

About Vegas BikeFest

Vegas BikeFest is owned and produced by ConvExx, a full service event management company based in Las Vegas, NV. The ConvExx team has over 40 years of experience producing events and trade shows worldwide. ConvExx has in place a dynamic management team, with skilled professionals in each phase of production and management, from operations to sales to on-site management. For more information about ConvExx visit www.ConvExx.com.

About Freeze Management and John Oakes:

John Oakes is an entertainment entrepreneur, executive, and marketer based in Southern California. Oakes founded his music, entertainment, event, and marketing consulting company, Freeze Management, in 2002, while managing rock band Story of the Year. Oakes and Freeze Management specialize in producing music festivals, concerts, car shows, motorcycle shows and events, and developing marketing programs benefiting live events, brands, artists, partners, and fans. Oakes has spent 20 years as an entrepreneur in the entertainment industry, representing a diverse group of musicians selling millions of records and tickets worldwide. Oakes, with his company Freeze Management, have developed effective strategies and implemented successful marketing programs for an assorted group of well-known companies, including Rockstar Energy Drink, Ram Trucks, AT&T Wireless, Samsung Mobile, Ford, Jagermeister, Lucas Oil, Coors Light, Harley-Davidson and many more.