Rider: Jim Doyle
Then: AMA Roadracer and Pan-Am Pilot
Now: President, Suomy Helmets America
“In late 1969, my mechanic and I took my Suzuki TR250 roadracer to the old Vaca Valley Raceway in Vacaville, California, in preparation for the 1970 Daytona 100. Toward the end of our testing, I crashed at the end of the straightaway and broke my right knee and left ankle.
“At the time, I wasn’t just piloting racebikes; I was also piloting Boeing 707 airliners for Pan-American World Airways. After the crash, Pan-Am told me to choose between racing and flying. I chose to continue flying and decided that I’d find someone else to race my bike.
“Enter a young teenage acquaintance and soon-to-be three-time world champion, Kenny Roberts. I took the young man under my wing and traveled with him to Ascot Park and many of the other California tracks as an AMA Novice. Kenny’s racing career soared higher than the planes I flew, and I was there through all of it.
“Breaking those bones back in 1969 was awful, but I wouldn’t change things even if I could. I don’t have the TR250 anymore, but I keep a picture of it on my office wall to remind me how all this started.”