On the last day of every year we take time to remember the friends and fellow motorcycling enthusiasts we’ve lost. With a nod to the New York Times’ annual requiem about the lives others lived, we offer our thoughts and condolences to all of those who lost someone special in 2015.
On March 10, 1974, the first official AMA Supercross was held at Daytona International Speedway. This was the start of a very small championship—two weeks and two venues—called the AMA Yamaha Super Series of Motocross. To no one’s surprise, the winner of the premier 250cc Class was Yamaha factory rider Pierre Karsmakers, a hired gun from Holland. The runner-up was a privateer Penton rider out of the Northwest named Buck Murphy.
Murphy was an all-around talent, good at dirt track, off-road and scrambles (the precursor to what we now know as motocross). As the sport grew, Buck started finding himself at big races all over the country, and by ’74 he was racing his Penton motorcycle (as KTMs were known in America at the time) against the state-of-the-art works bikes of the Japanese manufacturers. His mode of transportation was a green Dodge van and his pit support came in the form of whatever parts and tools he could fit in it.
One week later Murphy would actually win one of the main event motos (though not the overall) at the Houston Astrodome, something no other KTM rider would do in premier-class in AMA Supercross until Ryan Dungey in 2012. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until Dungey’s win at Phoenix three years ago that Murphy’s runner-up finish was bettered, his standard lasting nearly forty years.
Throughout his short career on the AMA circuit, Murphy rode a variety of bikes, including a factory gig with Can-Am, a Rokon, a CZ, and even a four-stroke C&J Honda XL350. It was on that last heavy bike that Murphy qualified for the 1980 Washougal National, his last professional race.
Murphy was inducted into the Washington State Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2013 and was interviewed about his time as a professional.
“It was more fun because we weren’t cluttered up with big contracts and big money,” Murphy told Sean McDonald for this piece. “We did it because we loved to race and not because there was a lot of money involved. We did it because it was cool and it was fun.”
"Buck was one of the toughest, but nicest guys I have ever known," wrote his friend and fellow racer Tony McFarland. "I had the pleasure of being a co-worker of Buck's for many years. Buck was still racing vintage motocross and going just as fast as hell, right up until the time he passed away."
On August 30, 2015, Ben LaMay (#52) lost his father, Gene, to a stroke. Ben posted this photo as well as a remembrance of the man who took him racing:
“To my dad who dedicated his life to me when I was a child for me to reach my dreams, who taught me everything about racing, about working on dirt bikes and cars, about living for Christ and treating people with respect, you were an amazing dad to me and I thank you for everything you have done. You were the best fabricator there was, building the worlds best top fuel dragsters to the coolest old school cars there was on the streets. I was there next to you as you took your last breath, and I know God has his ways for things to happen and I know you’re in his arms now in heaven. I promise I will make you proud as your son and will never ever forget the amazing times we had together, one day it will be my time to go, and we will be together once again in a much better peaceful place. Thank you, Dad. I will never forget you. Love, your son.”
The LaMays’ longtime friend and Northwest neighbor Ryan Villopoto posted this: “Me and my dad spent a lot of time with Ben and his dad growing up practicing and racing around the U.S. To hear he is gone is very sad news. R.I.P. Gene LaMay you will be missed.”
Larry Naston loved racing, and he had the big, booming voice to tell you so. Following in the footsteps of announcing greats like Larry “Supermouth” Huffman, Larry Maiers, and Dave Despain, Naston had a voice made for big public speakers. For a time in the nineties and early this millennium, he was the narrator to the soundtrack of supercross, from West Coast motocross—both pro and local, like LACR—off-road truck races, radio, and every office he was in, because in between races Larry was working in the industry: Ringers, AXO, Sinisalo, Mechanix Wear, Gaerne, Matrix. Whenever you visited Larry’s workplace, his was the voice you remembered on the way out—whether you were there to see him or not!
His signature voice even carried over to the movie Motocrossed, the Disney made-for-TV movie (the good one, not Supercrossed, the practically straight-to-DVD one). Naston was also active in his community, working with the Palmdale Sheriff Station Volunteers as well as the Lancaster Sheriff's Station Search & Rescue.
Upon Larry’s passing, a thread started on the Vital MX forum, with friends and fans posting their memories and condolences. When his son Brian responded, none other than Mike Kiedrowski, four-time AMA Motocross Champion and AMA Hall of Famer, posted this message:
“Your dad was a huge influence in my career. His announcing at LACR, Mickey Thompson races, supercross and the radio show was one of the reasons I became popular. I would ride my bicycle down to AXO once or twice a week to talk to Larry and the guys about the last weekend’s race and he would always give his opinion of how I did. He was not shy about that! I am not on social media at all, but when I heard the news I had to write something about Larry. He was a great mentor to me and a lot of other people to. Sorry for your family's loss. M.K.”
Larry Naston was 53 years old.
Few people in the motocross industry would know the name Charles Raese, but early readers of Racer X’s newspaper days would. He was the Hunter S. Thompson of our younger days, writing I-don’t-give-a-damn record and movie reviews and what he liked to call “Poetry for the Sophisticated Cyclist.” A childhood friend of mine and an all-around funny man, Charles fronted a Led Zeppelin cover band called Kashmir and did the perfect Robert Plant voice, with Mick Jagger moves as a bonus. It was Charles who wanted to do an interview with “the world’s most famous motocross racer.” I thought he meant Roger DeCoster. “Who? Who’s that?” Charles said. “I’m talking Evel Knievel.”
And so the Search for Evel began, and it became a regular newspaper feature for several years. I would dial up an industry friend like Suzuki’s Pat Alexander or The Icon himself, David Bailey, or even real journalists like Chris Hultner and Fran Kuhn, but then Charles would take the phone and grill them as to whether or not they knew where Evel was hanging out. That always led to the person on the other line offering their favorite funny childhood memories of the man Charles referred to as “our tender daredevil.”
(Believe it or not, we finally find Evel in Clearwater, Florida, hustling golfers on a public course behind a feed store that doubled as his de facto office. He was waiting on a new liver at the time, drinking O’Douls, though also mixed shots of Wild Turkey, while we did likewise, only with our Miller Lites and PBRs.)
One year, much to my later chagrin, Charles talked me into letting him cover the Las Vegas SX. He showed up at the Hard Rock on Thursday night and never actually made it out of the hotel. Instead, he covered the race later by watching it on TV, though he was honest with his headline: “The Desperate Hours: This Town Kicked My Ass.”
Last spring, Charles reached out to me with another story idea: “The coolest motocrosser of all time.” I again said “Roger DeCoster?” He said, “Who? Who is that? I’m talking about Steve McQueen.” Charles was 51 years old.
Mike Owens was one of the motocross world’s quiet benefactors, an ambassador for the sport writ large: its friendships, its history, and its ultimate legacy. Owens worked with Alex Moroz on his Legends & Heroes Traveling Motocross Museum, a rolling exhibition of the glory years of American motocross, which attends all of the big races around the country. Owens himself was a vintage racing enthusiast, and he enjoyed spreading the gospel of old-school moto whenever and wherever he could. He passed unexpectedly this past summer.
There are many names associated with the foundations of stadium racing as we know it today, beginning with the infamous Michael Goodwin, who held the first “downtown stadium motocross” at the Los Angeles Coliseum in July 1972. If Goodwin is the founder of supercross, then Armin Hostetter should go down in history as the father of arenacross. A lifetime motorcycle racing enthusiast from central Pennsylvania, he built Trail-Way Speedway out of an old sulky horse racing circuit in 1971. Located in Hanover, Trail-Way started as flat-track-only, but motocross soon became a part of the schedule.
In the winter of 1978, Hostetter went to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Arena, a dirt-covered indoor arena in Harrisburg that is part of the Pennsylvania Farm Show, and asked if he could host an indoor motorcycle race that would include flat track and motocross racing. They approved, and Hostetter filled the barnyards and halls around the arena with motorcycle racers and their families waiting for a chance to get inside and race in the middle of winter. The event was called Motorama and has run annually ever since. Just before the 2015 event in February, Armin Hostetter passed away. He was 87 years old.
In 1978, back before there was a permanent home for the AMA Amateur Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s, the big race was held at Atlanta International Raceway. The winner of the 250cc class was none other than future superstar David Bailey. He raced a Bultaco to 1-2 moto finishes. Finishing second was a Maico rider from Michigan named Shane Hruska, who finished right behind Bailey in both motos.
Hruska was a frontrunner in the most competitive days of the Michigan Mafia, battling with the likes of the Bigelow boys, the Hinkle brothers, Denny Bentley, Alan King, Rusty Hibbs, Jeff Spreeman, Frankie Lamp, and many more.
“Shane was one of the really great riders of that era,” wrote Barry Mayo on Facebook. “That was a great time to race Motocross.”
“His name always comes up when we talk about ‘whatever happened to this rider or that rider,’” posted Kreg Bigelow. “Sorry to hear another great one gone.”
“Sorry to hear about the passing of Shane Hruska,” wrote Keith Bowen, another fast Michigander. “I remember when I was a little kid at Baja watching him ride and dream about going that fast.”
Hruska passed in April after a long illness. In May, his ashes were scattered at the USF Botanical Gardens near Tampa, Florida.
Scot Breithaupt was not a motocross racer, but he was nevertheless an incredibly influential man in motocross circles. That’s because Breithaupt was “The Godfather of BMX,” according to the National BMX Hall of Fame. Growing up riding bikes in vacant lots in Long Beach, he was a pioneer as a racer, a track builder, team owner, event promoter, and even the manufacturer of his own line of bicycles. Scot was the force behind the 1974 Yamaha Bicycle Gold Cup Series, he founded SE (Scot Enterprises) Bikes, and he was even a television broadcaster for a time. He was as responsible as anyone for getting BMX—the sport that riders from Jeff Ward to Jeremy McGrath to Cole Seely grew up doing—to the point where it became an Olympic event.
That was the first part of his life.
The second part of Scot Breithaupt’s life was dark and sad. His drug addiction led him to a string of mistakes, arrests, and burned bridges. He went to jail for a couple of years after leading police on a two-hour chase in 2003. He was broke and, at times, homeless.
In July, Breithaupt was found dead in an area of Indio, California, in a makeshift tent constructed of bed framing draped with dirty sheets. Wrote the Desert Sun newspaper: “For Scot Breithaupt, it all came to an end in the same place where it all began—a vacant lot.”
To read a much more detailed account of Breithaupt’s tragic life, here is the full Desert Sun story. And here’s an excerpt from the 2005 documentary Joe Kid on a Stingray, about his first ill-fated tours.
Motocross is a sport full of passion, not only for the riders but their parents and families that support them. Sometimes that passion can lead to embarrassing “mini dad” moments—parents yelling at their kids, or at each other. Sometimes those moments turn hostile and even tragic, everything spinning out of control quickly.
There are obviously two sides to what happened on a Thursday night in July at Portland International Raceway, though both versions end with the same outcome: Tony Mancuso, a former racer and the 61-year-old father of aspiring racer Nick Mancuso, was abruptly punched by Michael Taylor, the father of a young racer named Talyn Taylor. The boys were rivals in their intermediate class and had battled before, but on this night things got out of hand in a hurry—especially in the second moto. It was enough for Mancuso to pull aside and just let Taylor go by.
Afterward, the Taylors approached the Mancusos’ pit area. With several witnesses gathered, some trying to defuse the situation, Michael Taylor, who would later argue that Nick Mancuso was “bullying” his son Talyn on the track, suddenly punched Mancuso, knocking him to the ground. Mancuso landed on the back of his head, cracking his skull. He suffered subdural hematoma.
Taylor was arrested later that night on charges of fourth-degree assault. Those charges were dropped when Tony Mancuso died in the hospital. He was 61 years old.
Taylor was referred instead to a grand jury for a possible homicide case. He was eventually charged him with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault.
In August, Taylor turned himself in and bail was set at $500,000. The bail was lowered to $20,000 when a judge determined that the original amount was out of reach of Taylor, who was an unemployed machinist at the time of the altercation. Taylor’s lawyer had asked for the bail to be just $1. Taylor made bail and was released.
“He never saw it coming,” says Wendy Torrey, the sister-in-law of Tony Mancuso, in a message in late December. “Being with his boys in the hospital as he passed was beyond the most devastating thing I've ever been involved in. Even when he was gone, they wouldn't let go of him. I hope people learn from this. Riding a bike and being competitive should never come to this. Two families are without fathers now. It's terrible.”
The story did not end with Taylor’s release, nor will it end with a trial. In another cruel turn of events in this tragic case, Michael Taylor suffered a massive heart attack last week at his home in Washington and died. He was 50 years old.
On July 9, the same Thursday that tragedy was unfolding at Portland International Speedway, a former motocross racer named Daniel Wilson was killed in a head-on collision while riding his bicycle in Pennsylvania. Wilson was from AMA District 6. He raced with #120 on his motorcycle from the mid-eighties through late nineties, before heading to Penn State and ultimately working at Daniels BMW. Like most motocrossers, Wilson loved bicycles too, not to mention jet-skis, camping, and all things outdoors. Wilson was riding his road bike just five miles from his home, heading north on Ervin Road, when the driver of a car heading south crossed to his side of the road and hit him.
Eight days later, Wendy Hawkes, 33, was charged with vehicular homicide and drunken driving. District Judge Gary Gambardella sent her to Bucks County Prison under $3 million bail for killing Daniel Wilson. A GoFundMe page was set up to help his wife, Jill, and his young sons Damon and Devon.
Moto-journalist and photographer Steve Cox wrote about his departed friend Tracy Monterone on Facebook, and we asked Steve to share it here:
“I, along with many in my circle, lost an old friend a few days ago. To the moto public, Tracy Monterone was known for the ‘train jump’ in the LBZ VHS entitled Rechromed. And it's true that, like you see (below) in a jump only he did at Sunrise in Adelanto, he could jump stuff most people wouldn't even think of. He was a very fast, very capable rider who just always seemed to come apart in big races for whatever reason.
“But I will always remember Tracy Monterone for being one of very few pro racers in my early years who didn't treat me like I was lesser than him. He treated me like an equal even when I was 11 years old and could barely get around some tracks. He helped me just because he wanted to. Tracy fought some demons over the years, but he was always a good man at his core. And although I hadn't seen him face to face in years, I feel like the world is worse off since I know he's no longer here. Best wishes to his wonderful dad, Lou, and his mom and the rest of his family and friends right now. Thanks for all you did, Tracy. You were a good and sensitive man. It was a pleasure knowing you.”
Tracy Monterone’s jump across the train in Rechromed:
Tyler Hoeft was on his way to the front. A promising 14-year-old from a motocross-loving family, Hoeft was already showing up in the magazines and videos.
“We grew up riding actually around the house since we were 4 years old,” older brother Justin Hoeft said. “That’s all we did after school, we’d come home and ride until dark.”
Hoeft and his family were racing at the JS7 Spring Classic in Freestone, Texas, when he crashed over the finish-line jump. He landed hard on his head. Three days later, he passed. Tyler Hoeft was 14 years old.
Two weeks later, a memorial ride day was held at Glen Helen Raceway. Hundreds of friends and fellow riders came out to celebrate Tyler’s life, many donning #27 jerseys in his honor.
“It’s often difficult to understand why tragedies like this happen,” wrote Brendan Lutes on the Fasthouse.com website. “However, in his short time with us, Tyler touched a lot of lives, and lived more in 14 years than most do in a lifetime. It was a day filled with sadness, but it was also a day filled with laughter, memories, and good times—exactly how Tyler would have wanted it to be. It was truly a celebration of Tyler’s life. He will never be forgotten.”
One week later, older brother Justin went out and won the California Classic’s 250 Pro Sport Championship at Glen Helen. He is in his senior year of public high school and will likely turn professional soon.
The tragedy in Texas inspired Kevin Windham to speak out about the need to make some changes in the sport, specifically regarding the size and capabilities of modern motorcycles. “The bikes are so strong that it takes so much to stay on them that when they don’t go for whatever reason, the rider is over the bars and yard darts him/herself to the ground,” wrote Windham.
This past fall, the AMA announced changes in its amateur motocross rules: Beginning in 2017, riders must be 14 years old to compete aboard a 250cc motorcycle, and 16 years old to compete aboard a 450cc motorcycle.
Laurie Olcott was the VP of Stimilon International, a unique motocross event company she ran with her husband, David, out of their Connecticut home. They had been married for nearly twenty years, with two daughters, Annalyse and Kailina. David was the racer in the family; Laurie was the artist, having graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology as a graphic designer. Stimilon started as a snowboard event, but then it became the Stimilon Motocross Challenge: half race, half party, all fun New England happening.
“Laurie had been involved with all Stimilon events since we met in 1994,” David Olcott said. “She was the VP of operations and the brains behind a smoother registration process, more efficient scoring, and a fair and balanced awards and raffle presentation. She loved the riders and worked tirelessly to ensure they got more value out of the Stimilon Experience than they paid for.
“But she was also the shining light of the company—the smiling face that greeted the riders at the registration lines as well as the friendly hello after the race handing out awards. Her smile could just light up any room she entered.”
In February, Laurie Olcott’s five-year bout with breast cancer ended. She was 46 years old. A fund has been established to help the Olcott daughters.
Les Washbon was a flat-tracker on motorcycles and a runner on the road. He spent fifteen years working at Dunlop as a race technician, and because Dunlop races in so many disciplines, he became a familiar face at every series from AMA Supercross and Motocross to AMA Pro Racing, Flat Track, and even Supermoto, for which he was Dunlop’s racing product manager. In other words, he knew tires, he knew surfaces, and he knew racing. We lost him this year on October 30.
“Les was a racer through and through,” said Mike Buckley, Dunlop’s vice president of sales, marketing, research and development, in a statement. “He was a dedicated colleague and an integral part of Dunlop’s racing success for many years. He will be missed by the racing community, and the entire Dunlop family.”
Z&M Cycles has long supported motorcycling activity in western Pennsylvania, including sponsoring various riders and events. The shop grew into a successful Harley-Davidson dealership with nearly fifty employees. They were led by Jim McMahan, the patriarch of the family.
Seventy-six years old, McMahan was still an active rider, and he was riding a 2015 model in Florida on Highway A1A with his wife, Linda, 75, on the back when a car ahead of them tried to make a left-hand turn. The McMahans ran into the left-hand side of the 2009 Corolla and were thrown from the motorcycle. Linda was not badly injured, but Jim McMahan died at the scene, five miles from their winter home in Florida.
The McMahan family posted their appreciation of the outpouring of sympathy on Facebook: “He died doing what he loved in a place he loved with people he loved! He loved life and lived it to the fullest and was so proud of his family, employees, H.O.G. Chapter & customers that became lifelong friends! The stories being told are so comforting it makes us realize the impact he has made throughout his life. Life is a blessing and even more so with people like him in it.”
In 2005, Travis Pastrana and the Nitro Circus crew came up with yet another crazy idea: they were going to BASE jump motorcycles into the Grand Canyon. They reached out to highly accomplished ski BASE jumping pioneer Erik Roner for help. Erik guided Travis and friends safely through the stunt, then ended up joining the Nitro Circus crew. He was also a professional skier and had made countless jumps out of airplanes and off cliffs. He was featured in numerous major ski films and also appeared in magazines like Powder, Skiing, Outside, Rolling Stone, and more. He skied and jumped down mountains all over the world and jumped out of airplanes, parachuting himself down to earth. During a four-man jump as part of the opening ceremonies of a Squaw Valley Celebrity Golf Tournament, Roner accidentally hit a tree and was killed at age 37. He is survived by his wife, Annika, and their two young children.
Kyle Yarnell literally grew up at Glen Helen Raceway. His mother, Lori, is the longtime manager of the popular San Bernardino, California, racetrack that has hosted a seemingly endless schedule of events ranging from the Glen Helen AMA Pro Motocross National to Lucas Oil Off-Road Truck Racing, from the Dubya Vet World Championships to the California Motocross Classic, from mud runs to ATV races. Kyle was there often, either riding or working alongside his brother Andrew, driving tractors, working on fences, caution-flagging—whatever needed to be done. The boys were there so often their bikes were often kept in a shed right on the property.
“He would always come up and say hello,” Mark Moore, a family friend and longtime motocross enthusiast, told The Press Enterprise. “If it wasn’t a handshake, it was a hug. The people he cared about, he’d let them know.”
On the evening of May 1 a fight broke out at the Yarnells’ home in nearby Yucaipa involving Kyle and his stepfather, David Terry Bryant. At some point Bryant brandished a knife and fatally stabbed Yarnell, who was 23 years old. Bryant was arrested and charged with murder.
“It’s probably the most hard-to-understand thing we can ever imagine,” said Tom White, himself a staple at Glen Helen Raceway. “The tragedy of it is beyond comprehension.”
Two weeks later, the entire Glen Helen motocross family turned out to honor Kyle at the track’s on-site museum. Hundreds turned out to share stories about Kyle, comfort his mother and brother, and ride their motorcycles in his honor.
“That’s really the best way,” White said before the gathering. “We’ll share stories about Kyle’s life and reflect on how important our relationships are to each other, and go out and ride our dirt bikes.”
Tom Pattison was raising a young family while still racing motocross. Twenty-three years old, Pattison hailed from Beccles, Suffolk, in England, and was married last June. He and his wife, Rachael, then welcomed a child.
In September at a race at Blaxhall, the Eastern Centre Championship, Pattison crashed. His injuries were fatal. A memorial ride was quickly organized by his friend Shaun Southgate and others at his favorite track, Blythburgh. Hundreds turned up, raising money in order to help Pattison’s young family.
Since his passing, Tom’s wife, siblings, family, and friends have turned his Facebook page into an ongoing tribute, with posts filled with thoughts, prayers, toasts, memories, and photos—often of the placement of his #183 memorial stickers—from their ongoing lives. In looking through the posts and photos, it’s easy to not only see how much Tom Pattison is missed, but how much he meant to so many people he met along the way.
Gil Vaillancourt was born in Canada but immigrated to Southern California when he was in his twenties. A motorcycle lover and a concert violinist, he had a gift for understanding and dialing in suspension. He went to work at a motorcycle dealership while studying general machinery skills like welding, tool and die, and pattern making. In 1973 he opened Works Performance, building suspension components for riders in pretty much every discipline of motorcycle racing. He worked with a Hall of Fame lineup of racers, including “King” Kenny Roberts, “Bad” Brad Lackey, Jim Pomeroy, Dick Mann, Gary Nixon, and more. In fact, Vaillancourt himself was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2009 for his vast contributions to motorcycling performance.
In June, Gil Vaillancourt passed away due to natural causes. He was 75 years old.
Perry Gunter was known as Mr. Perry around Georgia motocross circles. He was the owner of Aonia Pass, a good track near Washington, Georgia, that hosted local MX and off-road races, as well as GNCC events and Loretta Lynn’s Area and Regional Qualifiers—it was here that Ricky Carmichael began his Loretta’s comeback in 2012, showing up for the Area qualifier and getting beaten by a kid named Jeremy Martin. The track hosted ARHMA races, SETRA events, and even Tough Mudder survival runs. He also donated the facility for Ride for Kids events and other charitable purposes. He was a gracious host every time. Perry suffered a fatal heart attack in August, just before an RPM event. His family asked that the event go on—Mr. Perry would have enjoyed the company.
Do you remember that group of Jeff Emig fans who used to show up at the races in the nineties with “JEFFRO” painted on their chests and backs? Sharon Orschell was the woman who did the body painting for those guys. Her son was in the motocross business (Motoxtremes in West Harrison, Indiana) and she was a regular at all the races around the area.
“She was a wonderful woman who was like a second mom to all the local riders,” wrote Mark Esterkamp, a longtime family friend.
“She went to bunch of nationals with us—RedBud, Steel City, Mt. Morris—she was just always around,” said he son Kevin Orschell. “She was a lot of things to a lot of people.
“It’s unreal what motorcycles do for you, to you, and all of the people around you,” added Sharon Orschell’s son. “It’s the best thing in the world.”
Sharon was 63 years old when she her battle with cancer ended.
Justin Hill was an avid racer from Ohio, as well as a boater. He was a graduate of Eastern High School (2012) and spent three years in college at the University of Rio Grande. He was planning to attend Ohio University in the fall. Throughout those years he also raced, traveling around the area participating in as many races as he could fit into his schedule. Said one friend, "He loved to ride, no matter where he was at, if there was a race, he was there." Hill was at the Meigs County Fairgrounds when he crashed by himself, landing on his head. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
“Justin has been a resident of Meigs County all his life and was well-loved by his friends and family,” Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood said in a newspaper report in the Pomeroy Daily Sentinel. The paper added these statistics: “According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, as of 2012, the most commonly sustained type of injury involving Motocross riders 18 and under are fractures, which make up 70 percent of all sustained injuries. Fracture types included femoral shaft, humerus, forearm, clavicle and tibial shaft injuries. The next most common type of injury involving Motocross is a head injury, which can also include concussions.”
Justin Hill was 21 years old.
Delaware’s Chuck Kobosco was a regular around the AMA District 7 motocross circuit in the seventies and eighties, back when tracks like Antietam and Aquasco were up and running and the Cycling East newspaper was thriving. Kobosco then took a break from motocross.
“Everybody here took a break," Kobosco told a reporter for a feature on the vet-racing scene. "But you can't get rid of the itch."
Kobosco returned to motocross and joined the Southern Chester County Motocross Club. When he wasn’t at the track, he worked as a production supervisor for Johnson Controls in Middletown, Delaware. He enjoyed tailgating at University of Delaware football games and liked to spend summers in Dewey Beach with family and friends. He was engaged to Lynn Robinson.
Kobosco passed away following a traffic accident in which he collided with a dump truck near his home in Smyrna, Delaware. He was 58 years old.
It’s hard to make sense with the cruel way in which Kuraudo “Cloud” Toda died. By all accounts he was a vibrant young rider with a never-surrender attitude. The Japanese rider had been paralyzed from the waist down following a crash while testing Suzuki factory bikes in 2008. Before that he had raced both the All-Japan Nationals, as well as some AMA Supercross and Motocross. After his accident, which resembled those suffered by Doug Henry and Ricky James, Toda got back on a motorcycle equipped with a protective cage so he could continue doing what he loved. Transworld MX editor Donn Maeda met Cloud on a trip to Japan and helped spread his inspiring story with this article.
Having mastered whips in ways most of us only wish we could, Toda wanted to participate in the X Games Best Whip. He was practicing his whips at the 774 Compound just a few days ago when he landed in the foam pit he and his friends had built. The heat of the engine and the fuel apparently ignited the foam. Toda was strapped to the bike, and the flames were so intense that his friends could not rescue him, and he himself could not climb out.
Cloud Toda was 34 years old.
You can also read "The Lives They Lived" 2014.