Thursday, October 22, 2009

We Continue Our Salute to Mike Kidd and Gene Romero as Pomona is Almost Here....

As the season ending race at Pomona for the AMA Flat Track series is less then
44 hours away, we wanted to take the time to salute the other head of racing tonight.
The other night, we saluted Gene Romero, former GNC and now head of the West
Coast Flat Track Series ( and some of his past accomplishments over
the years.
Tonight, we tip the proverbial helmet to Mike Kidd, '81 AMA Grand National Champion,
former National #7--and 72 before he won the championship--and the man who is currently
heading up the AMA/DMG run Flat Track Series. Having been around the racing and
promoting scenes for over 4 decades now, Mike has some great insight as to how to run
a professional race series, how to promote it, keep the fans AND racers happy, and
how to be able to do so and make money at the same time. Thankfully the folks at
DMG decided to give the helm to Mike in running things in this series, as he has more then
proved he can run and promote a series with the utmost of success and respect. We're only
one full season in on this deal and so far Mike is hanging in there. I think that is a good sign
in that they are letting him do what needs to be done to get things organized and lined
out to be able to build the product of flat track racing. And to hopefully bring some new blood
in and try to get more fans back at the races in the process. And of course as we all know with
the current state of the economy, people have a lot fewer dollars around for racing or
entertainment in general so it IS a monumental task. But enough of that.
When I first started getting into this flat track thing in early '74, Mike had already ridden
for the Triumph Factory team, and was out injured the mid part of the year. It was in
the summer of '75 when I started noticing he was 'back' and was obviously healthy and
winning races again. Some of the shots above are of one of his race wins at Terre Haute
in August '75. He got hurt there in '77 and broke his wrist if I remember right, and 6 days
later we ran into him at an old Linder's Ice Cream store on the west side of Indy and he was
on his way to the mile about 8 miles down the road--ready to race. Oh, and he won....the night
race and if I remember correctly, that was the 2nd year of the Indy Mile Doubleheader
Nationals, and he came in close to the top on Sunday afternoon as well. Several years
later while running his own team with Army sponsorship, which at the time was a major
godsend in having a sponsor like that in flat track in itself, he won the '81 Championship.
Going on to ride for Team Honda when they came out with the original twin, CX500-based
NS750, he was one of the original riders that helped to develop Team Honda into a non-stop
powerhouse that re-wrote the books on kickin' a.. and taking names in dirt track racing through
the '80s and really ending several years after with Ricky Graham's last championship in '93 on
a Johnny Goad-prepped privateer RS750.
After retiring from riding, Mike got involved big time with the ArenaCross program, built it,
sold it, promoted it, and turned it into one of the best run AND attended motorsports racing
of ANY kind. Then he sold it off to Clear Channel, and went to work for them as a consultant
and promoted them further. The man KNOWS the game! And if he can help to do SOME of
the same for our beloved sport of flat track, we all have a chance. This will be a pivotal w/e
at Pomona with Mike overseeing the AMA-side of things and Gene Romero overseeing the
WCFTS-side of things. These two guys individually exude class, respect, and the ability to
know how to have a good time and put on a great show. It should be fun!
Here is the link to my previous post earlier in the week with my salute to Gene, where I
posted all the links you should need to be able to keep up with the races at Pomona on
Saturday afternoon and evening:
Here are a few links of some info about Mike Kidd, as well, including his
AMA Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame page, as well as his bio and basic background from
the AMA as well:
And this is the official link from the California Bike Week folks on all of the festivities:
The shots above I threw in tonight to celebrate Mike's great racing past are mostly from
the Terre Haute August '75 race he won.
First off is a shot of Mike in action between 1-2, taking the checkered flag for the National
win, one of him 'throwing it down' on the cases going into 1, and a shot of him leading the late,
great Rex Beauchamp #31 as they come into 1 during the National.
The last shot is from the Louisville early summer race in '76. Mike's running it up the inside
of Gary Scott on the #1 K & K-sponsored bike and bringing up the rear is rookie of the year
and future '79 Grand National Champion Steve Eklund on the #74z bike. I'm pretty sure this
was a heat race shot.
Enjoy the shots, enjoy the read, and if you get a chance to follow the races from here this w/e,
enjoy! And if you make the trip and want to fill us in, we're all ears! Take care.

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