Tuesday, September 4, 2012

AMA Road Racing: Cycle News & Larry Lawrence Talk About Former Racer Larry Schwarzbach's Rise to Fame & Tragic Loss of Life

Former racer and Vance & Hines teamster Larry Schwarzbach is shown on the #7 Vance & Hines/Dunlop/Ohlins/Bell-sponsored FZR600 Yamaha on the starting grid for the AMA 600 SuperSport Series race at the Camel Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 2, 1992, accompanied by crew chief Steve Johnson and another member of the V&H squad.

Schwarzbach would go on to win what would be his first-ever race in the support series event at the Lexington, OH. track, to the delight of the fans and even competitors including the late Randy Renfrow (2nd-place finish) and Tom Kipp (3rd-place finish and eventual '92 600SS Champion.)  He was signed as a team mate to Louisiana's own and '89 AMA Superbike Champion Jamie James, who was in his second year with the Yamaha factory-supported team, to contest the 600SS series as a signee to the team for the '91 season and in '92 also started competing alongside James in the AMA Superbike class.  After former team mate and '91 AMA Superbike Champion Thomas Stevens moved to the Muzzy Kawasaki team at the end of the '91 season, Schwarzbach was moved up to the #2 seat of the #64 Vance & Hines superbike rocket as a full time competitor in the premier class early in the '92 season.

Unfortunately, just a few short hours after this shot was taken, the Texas resident and likeable rider was involved in a crash during the running of the AMA Superbike Championship final in which he was tragically injured when he was hit from behind after trying to regain control of the bike coming out of Mid-Ohio's last corner onto the front straightaway while battling just out of the top-5.  He succumbed to his injuries just shy of two days later after being taken off of life support and never regaining consciousness.

The up-and-coming rider, who had worked his way out of the WERA ranks and into the bigs of AMA Pro Road Racing, was without a doubt one of the future stars of the series who will be remembered for his ability to adapt and his likeable nature, and the tragic loss of life taken by what he loved doing at too young of an age.  And I for one will remember him for his celebratory lap and smile on the podium after having taken that first and only win at Mid-Ohio in what surely could have been the first of many to come.

Check out the full story below, thanks to my good friend Larry Lawrence, for this in depth article about the life and times of former racer Larry Schwarzbach, the former Vance & Hines teamster who several hours after taking his breakout win in the AMA 600 SuperSport Series race at Mid-Ohio in August '92 was tragically injured and resultingly died as a result of his injuries just two days later after competing in the AMA Superbike Championship Series race alongside team mate Jamie James:


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