Way back in the day (the early 1980’s) we started road racing. Actually Ernie and I were hanging out at Pinky’s Pizza with road racers and probably thought out loud that it would be neat to road race too. Tom (the owner of Pinky’s) and Tomm (not the owner of Pinky’s) took pity on us and took us under their wing.
We started with school. While you might think you are smooth and fast and have all the right moves you have no idea how slow and clumsy you are until you get on a track. We signed up for a one day Kieth Code Course at Sears Point. All you had to do was show up with a bag lunch, they provided everything else. Here I am in Turn 11 on a Kawasaki GPz 550.
Once we completed the course we were eligible to join the local racing association – A.F.M.
Tom and Tomm were set to go racing with us. They also convinced us all to go buy this new bike that just became street legal in the US – the Yamaha RZ 350. It was a liquid cooled RD. It came in either Red and White or a Kenny Replica version of Yellow and Black. We each bought one and soon we were all on the track – living the dream!
A.F.M. assigned you a number. If you won a championship you could be one of the low numbers like 1 thru 10. We were having fun and not exactly winning. Tom had #81 from years prior and stuck with it. Tomm was something – I forget, I was #443 and Ernie was assigned #702.
It didn’t matter what class, or what bike you were on, if you were on a bike it had your race number.
Here’s a picture of Ernie in Turn 2 at Sears Point.
And this was later on. After my first crash I decided to paint my bike and created a “Honda” out of it.
That guy glaring at me on the Yellow RZ (#429) would protest me if I beat him. I had a rear seat cowl that was a Yamaha option but didn’t come stock. Technically it was against the rules even if it did nothing to add to the performance of the bike. When I painted my bike as a Honda I also faked a Freddie Spencer signature on the top of that cowl. I had also destroyed the stock seat part so I need something there. Racing was very petty sometimes.
Somewhere early on, we needed a name for our team. We were sponsored by Pinky’s Pizza and this little motocross store called Cycle Gear. There was an underground comic strip at the time called Zippy the Pinhead. I’m not sure what Zippy was but he had a catchphrase that fit us, “Are we having fun yet?“.
So we adopted Zippy as a Mascot and became Pinhead Racing. I took a picture of Zippy and cut his head out and pasted onto a line drawing of some guy riding a Honda Interceptor. When we took up dirt racing I did the same with a dirt bike and printed up some t-shirts and sweatshirts. My wife still wears one of my old ones to bed! Remember, this was the cheesy 80’s!
Fun Fact: We were the first road racers sponsored by Cycle Gear. They barely even carried road stuff but could order most anything. So we got all of our stuff through them at cost plus. That was the extent of our sponsorship.
BACK TO 702
So Ernie was #702 in the old days of AFM Road Racing. In everything else that we raced (AMA, Hare Scrambles, Barstow to Vegas) we always got a different number. It’s just one of those things that we can all remember – except for me trying to remember Tomm’s number right now.
Speaking of which, Tomm recently bought a Husky 701 and loves to point out that even though it’s nearly identical to a KTM 690 Enduro R, it’s a 701 because it’s 11 better than a 690. It’s the little things.
When Ernie passed, I did my best to recreate the original Pinhead Racing shirts we had back in the day. On the back I put Ernie’s name and number as a tribute. They are available here on the site!
It’s not an exact replica as the artwork I created back then is long gone, but it’s close.
I had planned to do this LAB2V thing and then when Ernie came down with cancer, somewhere in the back of my subconscious it was going to be my way of remember some of the good times we shared.
Once I had the bike built I realized it said KTM on the side but that was all. Officially it’s a 2014 KTM 690 Enduro R. If Husky can take the same bike and call it a 701, I think it’s only fair that I can one up them AND what better of a tribute to my friend than his old race number!
I created the graphics, popped open the wife’s Cricut machine and came up with what I needed.
I used a block Helvetica style font for the Enduro and found a nice fire engine style font for the number part.
I think that came out ok. My bike is now one better than Tomm’s and I’ll always have a little of E riding around with me. I liked it so much I made a t-shirt for just that!
UPDATE: I finished LAB2V and the wife and kids were there at the end and surprised me by all wearing the shirts! My daughter Emily is wearing one of the originals!
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