Famous Baja Racer Gene Dempsey Passes Away

By Jim O'Neal

Famous Baja Motorcycle racer, Gene Dempsey passed away on Thursday, September 17th.  Gene had suffered a tough long battle with liver cancer.  In true racers form, Gene never gave up on beating the cancer that struck him. Unfortunately, even the strongest of men can seldom beat such disease and it eventually took Genes life.

Gene competed in over 40 Baja 1000 race events.  His grit, determination and strength was in deed a symbol of Baja racing itself.  Gene was a constant competitor that simply couldn't be stopped.  No matter how rough the terrain, how bad the conditions and or how fast the compassion, Gene would forge ahead in every event focused on the finish line.

Gene was more than just a racing buddy, Gene was my best friend.  I had the privilege of 30 years of traveling and racing with Gene and his brother Sam.  my family and I spent Holidays, Christmases and vacations with Gene and his family.  It is seldom that you meet a true friend you can count on at all times.  A friend who will do anything for you.  Gene was all that and more to me.  He was always there, always helping and always looking out for me no matter what. 

For those who never met Gene, his sheer presence was bigger than life.  Gene was built like a thick wall.  His grip was strong like a vice.  His hands felt tough like a pair of old leather motocross gloves and his strength was far beyond that of anyone I knew.  Under all that exterior was the sweetest man on the planet.  Gene never had ill will towards anyone.  Gene often treated my friends like his friends and never asked for anything in return.   

Over 120 races, we had so many close calls and had knocked on deaths door so many times that I always thought one of us would be taken by the grueling baja course.  At the end, it was the silent killer of Cancer that took Gene away.

Everyone who came in contact with Gene enjoyed him tremendously The motorcycle community has lost one of the greatest men to ever race on two wheels.  Family man, Business man and racer Gene will be missed and shall not be forgotten. 

Gene is survived by his lovely wife Bonnie, children Chuck, Jason, Kelly, Genie and April, his brothers Tom, Sam and Wally,  as well as 6 grandchildren. 

Bonnie, I thank you for letting Gene spend so many years with the boys racing in Mexico.  I know wherever Gene is, he is holding it wide open with a smile.