Thursday, January 20, 2011

RIP Rick Hocking, Former AMA Flat Track Grand National Competitor


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Rick Hocking on the #31Z Rocky Cycle-sponsored Yamaha XS650-based machine brings the checkers around in September of '74 after winning (if my memory serves me correctly) the Trophy Dash race as part of the AMA Grand National Championship Camel Pro Series event at the Terre Haute Action Track. Hocking's sponsor was at the time one of, if not THE largest motorcycle parts and accessories distributor in the U.S., and a couple of decades later became known as Tucker Rocky. As a Rookie Expert in the series, Hocking would bag his first and second Grand National Championship race wins at the Albany, CA. mile and at the infamous Ascot half mile, and finish in the 9th spot in the season-ending standings for the year.
Rick carried the #13 plate in AMA GN/Camel Pro Series competition from '75-'77, the #17 plate from '78-'81 and also wore the #48 plate from '91-'95. He was also a competitor in Gene Romero's West Coast Flat Track Series up until a couple of weeks ago, competing at the South Point Casino round in Las Vegas.
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The flat track racing community has been hit especially hard this week with the passing of some of the greats of the sport. Late yesterday we got word that Rick Hocking, a Californian who started contesting the AMA Grand National Championship/Camel Pro Series as a Rookie Expert in 1974 (also my rookie year), had passed away.

Hocking, who I first saw race in the summer of 1974 when I was just a youth in high school, was one of the guys I remember around the track that always had that 'million dollar' smile. He also had the ability to drag the cases on a Yamaha parallel twin while going into turn one at the Terre Haute half mile that simply amazed me as a then-new devotay of AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship/Camel Pro Series competition. And his equipment was always top notch and clean as a pin when it rolled out of the van for the next event.

Godspeed to Rick Hocking from Stu's Shots and thanks for the great memories from my youth!
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Larry Lawrence did a super job of putting this article together on Rick's life over at Cycle News.com. RIP Rick Hocking, and thanks for the great life story on Rick here, Larry!

http://www.cyclenews.com/articles/flat-track/2011/01/19/rick-hocking-passes
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6 comments:

  1. Rick
    growing up in fremont california we got the oppertuinty to se and hang with rick we where part of the freont motorcycle club and sponserd many races at the local track rick was always a delight to watch and be around the first time i some him ride was at a scrambles on a saturday night he was rideing a honda 350 scrambler in his usual stlye leg out and gas on he blew doors and creaeted a lasting image that i will never forget,i still have a pair of leathers that i purchasd from rick in about 1970 they are a great memorie of a great rider.

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  2. It was a great loss with Rick's passing. Thanks for coming by Manuel and sharing your memories of a great man and a great rider! Godspeed RH!

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  3. Man I remember Rick from the days of racing on the same team as my brother in law Dave Hansen national number #23. They both raced for Rocky and Champion racing frames also member's of HONDA Factory team 1974 all XL350's bulit by Champion Racing frames on supplied the motors and that's about it! As we all know Doug was the master mine behind Champion but knew a Champion when he seen one and he seen one in Rick Hocking and my Brother in law Dave Hansen. Rick raced til' the end I just watched him last season out a Lodi Cycle bowl still hauling BUT! I mean from the starting line gassing it around the out of the traffic for the whole shot at 57 years old! I can't say to much more than a great guy would talk to anyone. We will miss you RICK say hi to DOUG for us buddy.We will all see each other again riding Flat Track in heaven.

    Ed (Jody) Emery 318D & 5C

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  4. I considered myself fortunate to see Rick ride the TZ at Indy and Syracuse in '75. Hearing the stories now of how he helped develop it at Ascot make those memories even more special now. Thanks for the great story Ed and for taking the time to check us out!

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  5. Rick was a California racer who arrived and won at Orville, OH (yes Smuckers Jam) and won. Banked, slightly shorter than half mile. I wanted the novice win so bad...the bike laid down when I was way out front in my heat so I just picked it up, snapped it down 2 gears and preceeded. However, watching me instead of the track broke another's leg and pushed mine into a bare peg. BUT, back to Rick, he and Mashburn were the reason I built a Yamaha Champion framed 360. Good at indoors and half miles.
    Rick came and went with the winners purse twice at Orville if not more. Not easy. Dave-Jupiter

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    Replies
    1. Those were some great times. Thanks for adding in here Dave!

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Keep it nice, but keep them coming!

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