Photo by Tom Corley
THE ART OF TOM CORLEY
Tom Corley was one of the unsung heroes of the Southern California motocross scene in the 1970s and ’80s and beyond. He was a race photographer who made countless images of racers young and old, at timeless tracks like Carlsbad, Saddleback, Indian Dunes, Glen Helen, and more. His artful images documented the early generations of West Coast motocross.
When Brett Smith of We West Fast asked Corley if he had a favorite photo, he sent this one and explained: “The scene was in the early seventies, CMC Motocross at Carlsbad Raceway, and my first time there shooting with a Ricoh 35mm camera. It was an era when the Honda Elsinores came in big time. Look here as you can see the Mettco-tuned Penton machines of Mike Paulsell (8K) and Bruce McDougal (2A) still have the power to pull away right off the gate.” (Bob Seki is #12, Wes Sutton is #94, and Warren Reid is #F49 off to the left.) Sadly, Tom Corley passed away in early January, at the age of 65, due to complications from COVID-19. Godspeed, Tom, and thank you.