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74th Annual Trailblazers Banquet - Saturday, Apr 28 2018

Where: Carson Center, Carson, CA. Off I-405 at Carson Street Exit, go west (under the freeway). The Carson Center shares the same parking lot with the Doubletree Hotel (which is visible from the freeway). Online:

When: Saturday. April 7, 2018 – Bike Show opens at 3:00 p.m. / Banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. Contact info. Email: CLICK TO EMAIL. Phone (day of event): 909-226- 6038. Internet: Facebook (Trailblazers Motorcycle Club) and website:

Bike Show
Bike Show Move-in: Banquet attendees with motorcycles to display should be there from Noon to 2:00. No pre-registration. First come, first served until the area is full. You must have a ticket for the banquet to display or view the bike show. We do have limited security on-site, but everyone is encouraged to bring your own locks and display info, also drip pans required. The Tom Cates Memorial Bike Show presented by Hagerty opens at 3:00 and runs until 6:00. There will be judging and three winning machines will be brought into the hall for the trophy presentation during the banquet program.

Check-in / Ticket Will Call
Your banquet tickets will be available in your name at Will Call. If you had an un-named person on your table list, those will be given GUEST passes and will be in your envelope. You are probably familiar with our Pit Passes that everyone needs to wear.

Since we will have a record crowd of 800 this year, we are going to open the banquet hall doors at 5:00 p.m., with the program still beginning at 6:30. For your friends and family who are not attending, the banquet will again be on Facebook Live on the Trailblazers Motorcycle Club page beginning at 6:30. Look for link to Live Video. It will cut off at 7:00 and resume at 8:00.

Program schedule / details (subject to change)
6:25 - Welcome by emcee Larry Huffman
6:30 - National Anthem sung by Sandi Weidler / Welcome from Trailblazers President Don Emde, Bike Show awards, Toast to Skip Van Leeuwen & invocation by Craig Vetter
7:00 - Dinner Break
8:00 – In-Memoriam video / Awards Program begins
9:00 - Dick Hammer Award presentation
9:30 - Group photo / Banquet concludes

- Thursday, Dec 14 2017

Let the countdown begin! Tickets will go on sale here on Tuesday, January 2nd for the 74th annual Trailblazers banquet, to be held on Saturday, April 7th, 2018 at the Carson Center in Carson, California.

As always, we will be inducting some of our legendary members into the Trailblazers Hall of Fame, as well as remembering friends we lost this past year. And of course it all starts mid-afternoon that day with the Tom Cates Memorial Bike Show presented by Hagerty Insurance.

The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees are Scott Autrey, Kel Carruthers, Debbie Evans-Leavitt, Bruce Flanders, Dennis Kanagae and Chuck Miller. Additionally, the family of the late-Tom White will be in attendance to receive his 2018 Dick Hammer Award, the Trailblazers highest honor.

In the coming weeks, we will be featuring a profile of our 2018 honorees, starting with Kel Carruthers. Be sure to check here often for a look at all seven honorees. And don’t forget: Tickets go on sale on Tuesday, January 2nd. The last two years we have sold out the first week. Don’t miss out.

Kel Carruthers – 2018 Trailblazers Hall of Fame Inductee

     For many years Kel Carruthers was one of the top riders and team managers in the world of roadracing. He was the 1969 250cc World Roadracing Champion, as well as a 2-time winner of the 250cc class at the Isle of Man in 1969 and 1970. In 1971, Kel achieved a milestone in America, giving Yamaha its first AMA National roadracing victory when he took the checkered flag at Atlanta.

     When he retired from racing, Kel went on to become one of the most successful team managers in the history of the sport, heading both national and world championship teams during the 1970s and 1980s. Carruthers managed the teams on which Kenny Roberts won his three consecutive 500cc World Championships.

     Kel was born in Sydney, Australia in 1938. His father owned a motorcycle shop and had been an Australian sidecar racing champion. The young Carruthers started riding at age 10 and entered his first race at 12. He turned pro when he was 15 and started clubman road racing a year later. By the early 1960s, he was the top racer in Australia. From 1962 to 1965, he won 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc Australian national championships.

     Kel went to Europe in 1966, and began to compete on the international Grand Prix racing circuit as a privateer. He progressed rapidly and by 1968 finished third in the 350cc World Championships riding Aermacchis. In 1969, Kel became an Aermacchi factory rider in the 125cc, 350cc and 500cc classes. At the Isle of Man, Benelli asked Carruthers to ride the company’s 250cc machine. Carruthers got permission from Aermacchi and won the 250cc class at the TT that year on the Benelli.

     Benelli was thrilled, and in an almost unheard of arrangement, Aermacchi allowed Carruthers to sign to race the Benelli 250cc the rest of the season. So Carruthers found himself a factory rider for two different companies at the same time. Riding the Benelli, Kel went on to win the 250cc Grands Prix in Ireland and Yugoslavia and clinch the 250cc World Championship in 1969.

     Kel was at the top of the sport in 1970 as he won the AMA 250cc Lightweight race at Daytona and went on that year to finish runner-up in the 250cc and 350cc World Championships riding Yamahas. Then, in 1971, he and his family moved to the United States and he raced that season out of Don Vesco’s shop in the San Diego area. Doing roadraces exclusively, Carruthers still managed to finish eighth in the AMA Grand National Championships, including his (and Yamaha’s) first AMA National victory at Road Atlanta riding a 350cc Yamaha.

     In 1972, Carruthers continued to race, but his emphasis was beginning to shift. That season he began working with rookie expert Kenny Roberts, taking care of his motorcycles and helping him learn the ropes at the roadraces. In 1973, Yamaha contracted Carruthers to run its U.S. roadracing team. And while Kel actually had a very good season on the track (runner-up at Daytona and Road Atlanta and winner at Talladega), but he becoming was more interested in running the team. Under the direction of Carruthers, Yamaha’s racing team was the most successful in the United States during the mid-1970s. Roberts won the AMA Grand National championship in 1973 and ’74 and the AMA Formula 750 (Formula One) roadracing title in 1977.

     In 1978, Carruthers and Roberts left for Europe to contest the 500cc Grand Prix Series for Yamaha America. Roberts won the world championship in his first full year giving Carruthers much of the credit for his success. Kel continued working as team manager and engineer for various teams on the Grand Prix circuit through 1995 when he retired from GP racing management. In 1998, Carruthers returned to motorcycling to run the Chaparral Yamaha National Supercross and motocross team and later the Southern California company’s AMA SuperSport road racing team.

     With a career that includes multiple National and World Championships as a rider and team manager, Kel Carruthers is more than a great motorcyclist, he is a living legend. The Trailblazers proudly welcome Kel Carruthers to the Hall of Fame.

2016 Trailblazers Banquet - Monday, May 02 2016


SEATS AVAILABLE !!! (as of April 13, 2016)
As always, we have had a few cancellations, changes, etc., so if you know of anyone who was hoping to attend the banquet this year, and were unable to purchase a ticket, have them contact Judy at:

The banquet will be held at the Carson Civic Center, 3 Civic Plaza Dr., Carson, CA. 90745. The Carson Center is off the I 405 freeway at the Carson exit. You can see the tall Doubletree Hotel from the freeway and it shares a parking lot with the Carson Center.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. SETUP FOR BIKE SHOW. If you are bringing motorcycles to display, check in before you start pushing your bike in. No one gets in without a ticket so get there early enough to get your ticket and park your bike before 3:00 pm. There will be security, but be safe and bring a lock, chain, drip pan (if needed) and some information on the bike. Each bike show entrant will receive a 70th Anniversary mug and pin. No need to call in advance. Bring your pristine treasure or relic that still has mud from the last race.

3:00 - 6:00 p.m. RECEPTION AND THE TOM CATES MEMORIAL BIKE SHOW PRESENTED BY HAGERTY INSURANCE. Pick up your tickets at WILL CALL. This is your opportunity to meet, greet, swap lies and kick tires. Once we go into the banquet hall it is difficult to do much visiting. No one gets in without at ticket.

6:00 p.m. BANQUET DOORS OPEN. Tables 1-37 enter through the left door. Tables 38 -75 on your right.

7:00 p.m. BUFFET begins

7:45 p.m. 72nd ANNUAL TRAILBLAZERS Program starts.

This year at the conclusion of the awards ceremonies we will be taking a group photo on stage of all Hall of Fame Inductees, past and present who attend this year. We would like all the Hall of Famers to be in the picture, so please be ready to join us on the main stage.


Tom Heininger

Mike Bast
Dan Haaby
Wayne Rainey
Steve Storz

Bruce Ogilvie
Gilles Vaillancourt

Susie Ellsworth

Keith Mashburn


Our year runs from banquet to banquet. If you attend the banquet you are automatically a member. If you don't attend the banquet, dues are $10.00.  You can pay online at or mail to:

Trailblazers c/o MIC Inc.
2 Jenner, Ste 150
Irvine, CA  92618

We hate to mention rain, but it is a possibility. The event is rain or shine. There isn't a lot of covered space in the reception and bike show area, but we are working on it. We want everyone to be dry and cozy. Wear comfortable shoes, bring an umbrella, or rain coat. Sometimes it gets chilly. Sorry, we are unable to open the banquet room early because of set up.

If your guests would like to receive the newsletter, please ask them to send their email address to: 2016 members that were also 2015 members will be receiving two newsletters until the 2016 is set up. Probably late in May.

Next years Trailblazers Banquet will be on Saturday, April 22, 2017.


The 2016 Dick Hammer Award goes annually to the Trailblazers member who best exemplifies the attributes of “Drive, Determination and Desire” that made Dick Hammer famous. Keith Mashburn has all these qualities both as a racer and a human being. He had a successful career first as a racer, then as a fire fighter and presently as a City Councilman in Simi Valley.

In 1964 Keith’s father bought him a 50cc Honda C110 and the youngster learned to ride in the orchards near their home. Eventually, he said he’d like to try racing, and Mashburn Sr. supported his son’s efforts. He rode District 37 scrambles as well as short tracks at El Toro and South Gate on a regular basis. He moved up quickly, and in 1965 began riding a Greeves for Nick Nicholson. In 1966, with coaching from Dave Ekins, Keith rode the Greeves in the Jackass Enduro and won his class.

Keith liked all forms of racing. He even entered into a then, new sport to America called motocross. In 1967, he raced a Bultaco Lobito at a motocross event in Castaic against the likes of Roger DeCoster, Dave Bickers, and Joel Robert. Keith won the event, unofficially becoming the first American to beat the Europeans at motocross in the US. Next, he entered the Hopetown race and won the 100cc and 250cc expert class.

Keith also kept busy in the sportsman class in District 37. Then Yamaha asked Keith to ride a new model, the 250 cc DT-1. In 1968 he would turn 18 and be allowed to get his Pro Novice license. He would race the new DT-1 at Ascot and other AMA Pro Novice events with Dennis Mahan building and tuning the bikes.

Keith, Dennis Mahan and the DT-1 would make history that year. In 1968, Keith won more Novice main events in a single season than had ever been done before. When he moved up to the Amateur class in 1969, Yamaha hadn’t developed the 650cc four-stroke XS-1 yet, so he had to race a 350cc two-stroke twin in Flat Track against the 750cc machines. Still Keith was competitive on the 350 and won a few events on it.

Yamaha soon hired Keith as a regular employee as well as a contracted rider. The successful development of the DT-1 program helped make Yamaha a major player in motorcycling in the US. Keith became a test rider at Yamaha and rode many prototype bikes and prepared detailed reports on them. As the lead test rider, Keith is particularly proud of his work on the XS-1, Yamaha’s first four-stroke bike that he also raced starting in 1970. He won the Yamaha Gold Cup at Ascot in 1971 riding the XS-1.

After he hung up his steel shoe, Keith put all his attention into his next career, as a fire fighter. In 1975 he became a Ventura County Fireman where he worked until his retirement in 2005 after 30 years of service -- rising to the rank of Battalion Chief. He continued to do related work after that in the field of arson investigation.

Racer, hero, fire fighter, public servant, and cameo movie star, Keith has done it all and continues to be an inspiration. The Trailblazers congratulate Keith Mashburn, the 2016 Dick Hammer Award Recipient.

GIL VAILLANCOURT: 2016 HOF INDUCTEE - Monday, Apr 04 2016

The late-Gilles Vaillancourt, founder of Works Performance, will be one of two posthumous Trailblazers Hall of Fame inductees to be honored at the sold out 72nd annual banquet on April 23rd.

Vaillancourt was born in 1940 in Montreal, Canada. Always interested in machines, Gil got hooked on motorcycling as a teen and started working in a local shop. When he was 20 years old his family moved to Santa Monica, California, and he chose to ride his Royal Enfield twin the entire way from Canada. He worked for Triangle Motorcycles while studying welding, tool and die, and pattern making at Santa Monica City College. Among his other skills, he was a concert violinist and played in the Santa Monica City College Orchestra.

Gil loved off-road and motocross riding in the 1960’s, but was disappointed with the performance of stock suspension systems. His welding, tool and die background combined with motorcycle mechanics skills came together as he began experimenting with his own shock pistons and relief valves. He soon incorporated multi-stage damping on his suspension, a big improvement over the single-stage dampers of the time. Vaillancourt soon had one of the best-suspended motorcycles in California and often allowed friends to ride the bikes outfitted with his modified shocks. It wasn’t long before those friends asked him to modify the shocks on their bikes. This was the beginning of Works Performance.

Gil opened Works Performance Products in Chatsworth, California in 1973 and the company quickly became the go-to place for superior suspension systems for racers all over the world. Champions across almost all race disciplines soon became his customers: Kenny Roberts, Bubba Shobert, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Chris Carr, Scott Parker, Dick Mann, Brad Lackey, Jim Pomeroy, Eddie Mulder and Gary Nixon all used Works Performance suspension components during their careers.

Works Performance became a success thanks to Gil’s personal genius with suspension, quality materials, workmanship and innovation. And as the industry progressed, so did his designs. The latter half of the 1970’s brought the advent of long-travel, lay-down shocks. Works Performance shocks debuted bolt-on, piggyback, bladder-style gas shocks in 1976, which used an innovative check ball and orifice valve systems that provided superior control. Works Performance shocks also featured sand-cast fins, which provided better cooling in high-leverage applications. These shocks evolved into the Magna Crosser off-road and Racer road-race models, which remained as standards of form and function for the next two decades.

Always a genius with suspension Vaillancourt was also a sought-after as a consultant for the design of dampers, shocks and suspension systems for amusement park rides, military and commercial aircraft landing gear, mobile camera platforms, bicycles and race cars. But his first love remained motorcycles and he was happy to be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2009.

Vaillancourt left us on June 2nd, 2015. He was a genuine pioneer in the development of modern-day motorcycle suspension systems, his revolutionary work led to leaps in performance, quality, customization and style. His company, Works Performance Products, continues to serve motorcycle riders around the world and Gil will be remembered for his many contributions to the sport. The Trailblazers proudly welcome Gilles Vaillancourt to the 2016 Hall of Fame.

More info about the banquet can be found at: or email:


Steve Storz was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1950. As a youngster, he was always interested in high performance machines, particularly hot rods. Then his best friend in High School bought a Triumph 650 and let Steve ride it. That's all it took to get Steve hooked! He immediately purchased his own motorcycle. As much as he loved riding his Triumph, Steve enjoyed tinkering with it even more. Soon he was working on his friend’s bikes and he got the idea that being a mechanic could lead to a career in motorcycling.

In 1970 Steve moved to southern California, to attend Dale Martin’s Motorcycle Mechanic’s School. He then got a part time job at Triumph of Burbank working as an apprentice mechanic for Jack Hateley.

After seeing his first dirt track race at Ascot Steve knew he wanted to be involved in the sport. He volunteered to help Al Baker and Lloyd Houchins Friday nights at Ascot to begin learning the job of a race bike mechanic. Steve would eventually build and tune race bikes for other great riders like Terry Dorsch, John Hateley, Ted Boody, and Steve Morehead.

After working with privateers Steve was hired in 1974 as a factory mechanic for the Norton-Triumph Dirt Track Team. Steve poured hours into trying to make the Norton’s competitive and still reliable. Just when he finally began to make some progress, Norton shut the team down for financial reasons in the middle of the 1975 season. It was a big disappointment for all of the riders and mechanics.

Next, Steve got a call from Dick O'Brien offering him a spot on the Harley-Davidson team. For a dirt track mechanic it was the top of the pyramid in the mid-1970’s. Steve said “Yes!” grabbed his tool box and moved to Milwaukee.

He’d built his career making British twins go faster.  But he soon came to love working on the Harley XR750 for its dedicated design, made for the sole purpose of dirt track racing.

1977 was his favorite season on the H-D Factory Dirt track team working with rider Ted Boody. Jay Springsteen was the dominant rider at the time, but Boody, riding the Storz XR750 was actually leading the Championship points at mid-season. Their first National win together was the Harrington Delaware Half Mile. Although they ultimately finished second to Springsteen in the Championship, it was a really something special to be in the hunt for the #1 plate week after week.

Steve’s career thrived at Harley-Davidson; they had the best riders, the best facilities, and the biggest budget. As a race mechanic he was well paid and flown to all the races. He also enjoyed working with legendary tuners like Dick O'Brien, Carrol Resweber, Babe De May, Bill Werner, Clyde Denzer, Brent Thompson, and Ronnie Alexander.

As much as he loved being a factory wrench, he had enough of the Milwaukee winters at the end of the 1979 season and returned to Southern California and started his own business. He began building XR750 race engines and doing bike preparation for privateer racers. This was the birth of Storz Performance.

Storz Performance has evolved over the decades into the place to go for performance parts and suspension. Storz Performance is also known for their Dirt Track Style Street Tracker Conversion Kits for Evo Sportsters. Steve built the company’s first show bike in 1990 and took it to the Cincinnati Trade show where it was a hit.

Steve also fostered an association with Enrico Ceriani in Italy and the wonderful forks he produced. It was a perfect partnership because Steve knew what the American racing and street markets needed and Ceriani had the technical expertise to design and produce the forks and steering dampers for Storz applications. Storz Performance continues to manufacture Storz/Ceriani Inverted forks for Harleys in the USA to this day.

Today Steve considers himself very fortunate to have worked exclusively in the motorcycle industry for the past 45 years. As the saying goes “if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.”  It has certainly been true for Steve Storz. He has a wonderful wife, Joanie, and two terrific sons, Neil and Eric. Both boys love motorcycle Trials competition and travel all over the U.S. and Europe. Eric Storz has represented the USA as three time member of the Trials Des Nations team. As for Steve, he can still be found doing what he loves, coaxing more power out of new and old motorcycles at Storz Performance in Ventura California.

The Trailblazers proudly welcome Steve Storz to the 2016 Hall of Fame!

Mike Bast: 2016 Trailblazers Hall of Fame - Saturday, Mar 05 2016

Mike Bast has been elected to the Trailblazers Hall of Fame!

Bast, along with Dan Haaby, Bruce Ogilvie, Wayne Rainey, Steve Storz and Gil Vaillancourt, will be inducted into the Trailblazers Hall of Fame at the annual banquet on Saturday, April 23nd. The banquet—which is sold out—will include special presentations to Keith Mashburn, Susie Ellsworth and Tom Heininger.

As young boys, Mike Bast and his brother Steve watched their Uncle Harlan race off-road and flat track events. Mike, who was born in Los Angeles in 1953, started riding when he was nine and racing when he was 10.

Mike’s biggest hero was Dick Mann, whose career he hoped to emulate. Inspired to become a champion, Mike raced TTs and scrambles around Southern California. By the time he was a teenager, Mike was also becoming a top short track racer. His growing skills on the short tracks would soon have a profound effect on his career.

In 1968, Mike saw a poster advertising Speedway races at Whiteman Stadium in Pacoima. Dude Criswell was promoting the races, trying to revive the sport of Speedway in America. Mike was intrigued and before long he got an old JAP Speedway bike, which he shared with his brother Steve. Mike took to Speedway right away and became one of the top riders in the budding sport in the United States.

Mike witnessed an exhibition put on by Speedway world champions Ivan Mauger and Barry Briggs. Mike and other Americans were still riding their Speedway bikes like they did their short track bikes, leaning into the turns. Mauger and Briggs showed them the proper Speedway style. They put on a school for the Americans and Mike was one of their best students.

With Speedway racing popping up all across California, Mike, still in his teens, found himself starting to earn very good money. He was earning thousands of dollars per month riding the Speedway circuit five nights a week. It became his full-time career and he was living his dream as a professional motorcycle racer.

In addition to the American Speedway circuit, during the winter months he was one of six riders on the first American Speedway test team to ride in Australia and New Zealand. The tracks there were much larger and the speeds higher and it honed Mike’s skills as a rider. A student of the sport, Mike studied great riders like Ivan Mauger when he raced. He also learned the importance of proper bike set-up during his trips down under.

In 1971, Mike won his first American Speedway Championship in a runoff against Mike Konle at Orange County. He was 18 years old and as he crossed the line the emotional teenager had tears in his eyes. It was a dream come true.

It was just the first of many championships. Mike won the title again in 1973, but lost to his brother Steve in 1974. Then Mike went on his run of five consecutive U.S. championships, making him the undisputed king of Speedway racing in America. He established a record of seven American Speedway Championships, including an incredible streak of five consecutive titles from 1975 through 1979.

In addition to racing, he also worked as a movie stunt man for about 10 years in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Mike continued to race through 1985. By then he was a family man and he retired while he was still riding at his peak at age 32.

During his 18-year career Mike Bast won over 4,000 races including heats, semis and mains. In addition to his seven American championships, Mike also won six California state titles. He was one of the key riders who played a major role in Speedway’s rebirth in America, paving the way for American riders like Bruce Penhall, Sam Ermolenko, Billy Hamill and Greg Hancock, who went on to win World Speedway titles. Mike was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 2000.

After retiring from racing, Mike co-founded a construction company and later moved to Northern California. He and his wife, Dee, had three children. He has stayed involved in Speedway by working with up-and-coming riders.

The Trailblazers proudly welcome Mike Bast into the 2016 Hall of Fame!

Dave Friedman photos / Don Emde Collection.

Bruce Ogilvie: 2016 Trailblazers HOF Inductee - Saturday, Feb 20 2016

Bruce Ogilvie was born in 1953. His father, Don, was an avid off-road rider and Bruce’s happiest memories were of riding through the desert with his dad. As Bruce grew he graduated from his first bike—a Tohatsu 50—to larger and faster motorcycles and began racing in the hotly contested District 37 Desert Series. By the time he was a teenager Bruce was one of the top riders in the series.

Ogilvie’s desert racing career soon led him to the biggest prize a dust buster could go for, the Baja peninsula. His first win came at the Baja 500 in 1975, followed that same year by a victory in the Baja 1,000. More wins would follow in Baja and around the world. In his career Bruce was a 4-time Baja 1,000 winner; Baja 500 winner; San Felipe 250 winner; ISDE Gold Medalist and much more.

Even while he was still a competitive racer Bruce was recruited by Honda to manage the company’s off-road efforts. He started working for American Honda in 1984 and became a lead developer of Honda’s CRF/CRX motorcycles, and eventually rose to be the Senior Test Evaluator for Honda’s Product Evaluation department. His greatest achievement as a manager was Honda’s unbroken string of victories in the Baja 1,000. From 1996 to 2013 a Honda stood at the top of the podium at the finish line of the Baja 1,000.
Bruce Ogilvie was the only man in history to win the Baja 1000 overall in four different decades—he posted his last overall win in 2003 at the age of 51. He died on April 13, 2009 after a two-year battle with cancer, and was inducted the following year into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

The Trailblazers are proud to remember the spirit and accomplishments of Bruce Ogilvie and induct him posthumously into our Hall of Fame.

DAN HAABY: 2016 TRAILBLAZERS H.O.F. INDUCTEE - Saturday, Jan 30 2016


The Trailblazers will induct Dan Haaby to its Hall of Fame at the 72nd annual banquet on Saturday, April 23, 2016.

     Dan Haaby was born in North Dakota in 1945, but grew up in Northern California. When he was eight his father bought him a 1948 Harley 125, then his first race bike was a 1954 Tiger Cub upon which he started scrambles racing. He turned pro in 1963 and with his 200cc Bultaco headed for the Ascot season opener and managed to win the Novice Main event. Later Dud Perkins asked Dan if he wanted to team up with a first year expert named Mert Lawwill, and ride his Harley Sprint. Dan accepted and finished the year second in points at Ascot, winning 8 out of 12 Main events including the California State Championship.

     He turned Amateur in 1964 and Perkins put him on a Harley-Davidson KR to race, upon which Dan again won the Ascot season opener. He finished the season with 62 victories (Heat races, Trophy Dashes and Main events). The next year he turned Expert and the AMA assigned him National number 22. He rode a Gary Bray-tuned BSA Gold Star and won the opening night at Ascot for the third year in a row and went on to finish the year second in points at Ascot and eighth in AMA Grand National points. He was also named AMA Rookie of the Year.

     In 1966, he was second in points at Ascot again and managed to win a couple of Ascot TT races and the 20 lap California State Championship. He finally got the high point award at Ascot in 1967 winning 10 Main events, and topping off the season by winning the Ascot 8-Mile National.

     He was contracted by Harley Davidson’s Dick O’Brien to ride for them in 1968 and finished fifth in the nation that year. Harley picked him up again for the following year in 1969, and he won the Ascot season opener again!

     Dan bounced around a bit in 1969, riding the Harley early in the season and later a BSA Trackmaster. He won a few races, mainly at Ascot, and then was contacted by Yamaha to ride and develop their new 650 twin for dirt track.

     Dan retired in 1972, and got into the automobile business. Though successful in the business world, Dan says racing motorcycles holds the greatest memories and times of his life. He presently lives in Auburn California with his wife Gail. He still rides with friends like Neil Fergus and his son Aaron, on a KTM in the dirt and a V-Strom on the street.

     The Trail Blazers proudly welcomes Dan Haaby into the 2016 Hall of Fame!


The Trailblazers will formally induct Wayne Rainey to its Hall of Fame at its 72nd annual banquet in Carson on Saturday, April 23rd. To be there to see that in person, tickets go on sale on Monday, January 4th online at

Wayne Rainey: 2016 Trailblazers Hall of Fame Inductee

One of this year’s Trailblazers Hall of Fame inductees is Southern California native Wayne Rainey. When he was about six-years-old, his dad fixed him up with his first mini-bike and it was full speed ahead from there. Rainey started in amateur racing in Southern California, then came the professional license that allowed him to further develop his skills at Ascot Park and other dirt tracks from coast to coast.

In 1983, Wayne won the AMA Superbike championship and was then hired for a Grand Prix ride in Europe racing for Kenny Roberts. His first GP deal only lasted one season, though, and Wayne returned to race in America for the next few years. In 1987 he culminated his career in America with a Daytona 200 victory, as well as his second AMA Superbike championship.

He returned to the Grand Prix series in 1988 and this time went all the way to the top. Over the next six years Wayne won 24 Grand Prix events and was crowned World Champion three times. 1993 would be his last season as a Grand Prix racer. He won four races that year before suffering career-ending injuries in a crash in Italy.

In late 2014, Rainey joined forces with three associates to create MotoAmerica, an organization that ultimately purchased the commercial rights for the AMA’s professional roadracing series. In 2015, the AMA Superbike series ran under the MotoAmerica banner for the first time and they look forward to the beginning of their second season in April.

The Trailblazers congratulate Wayne Rainey on his induction to the Trailblazers Hall of Fame. Others honors given at the banquet will be for three other new Trailblazers Hall of Fame inductees: 7-time American Speedway champion Mike Bast, Ascot 8-Mile National winner Dan Haaby, and famed Dirt Track race tuner and suspension expert Steve Storz. We will also recognize posthumously two Trailblazers who have previously passed on: Bruce Ogilvie and Gil Vaillancourt. Webco co-founder Tom Heininger will be the recipient of our annual wine toast, Susie Ellworth will receive the Lucile Flanders Award and Keith Mashburn will receive the Dick Hammer Award.

Questions? Send an email to:

- Tuesday, Dec 29 2015


The 72nd Annual Trailblazers banquet will be held on April 23, 2016 at the Carson Center in Carson, California. A registration form and information is attached.
Online registration opens on Monday, January 4th at 9am.
The attached registration is for those who wish to pay by mail.

We are working on pre-printing names on the ticket/name tag, so please use the name you wish to have on your name tag. And don't forget to do the same for your guests.

The DoubleTree shares a parking lot with the Carson Center. The regular price for a room is $199.00. They have given us a special rate of $132.00 (Standard room) plus taxes. You can register online Click on "Add special rate codes". Enter Group code: TZM
Or by phone at (800)222-8733.  Trailblazers Motorcycle Club:  Code: TZM
24 hours cancellation policy and Group rate is valid until March 23, 2016.

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY RESERVED A ROOM AT THE HIGHER PRICE and you did it through Doubletree or Hilton, call them with your confirmation number and they will give you the discount.


If you want to advertise, congratulate or just say hello, fill out the form, write a check and send it in.


Homer Knapp passed away on December 18th.
Bill Melvin wrote about the sad news. Homer was a friend and a fellow club member. He raced Harley's in the dirt in the fifties and rode the desert and Catalina GP, as well as many others. He was a special breed, who was always helping others. When we went on club rides he would always ride last and stop to help anyone who broke down. Even if it meant rebuilding their bike at the side of the road. Just a seriously nice guy who really knew bikes and how to ride.
Tim Graber, President of SoCal AMCA wrote:
Homer was a well-known motorcycle gearhead and will be missed by all in the community. He was a motocross veteran who, in 2010, raced in the Catalina Grand Prix on the same 1929 Harley JD Twin he rode at the Catalina GP half a century earlier. He founded his company, Hollywood Motorcycle Machine in 1977, and according to a Dirt Bike Magazine interview, he did so on the belief that "old motorcycles, old cars, old books and old people should be approached with respect and understanding". Homer said "Things can be learned from them all".
SoCal AMCA will do its best to gather information about a memorial service. Homer leaves his long time friend Mary Jo Darling.
Please share your stories and memories about Homer to help us compile a fuller obituary. Send them
A wonderful friend and we will all miss him.


More sad news. Dusty Coppage grew up in Simi Valley and earned his first major win in 1967 when he scored the overall victory at the Barstow to Vegas desert race, beating over 500 other entries. His specialty was TT and he excelled. Dusty was inducted into the TrailBlazers Hall of Fame in 2014. He was a well like competitor and we wish him God's speed.


If you are interested in some mighty interesting motorcycles, head for Las Vegas on January 7 -9
Triumph Classic Motorcycles will be auctioning their flagship line of motorcycles at the 2016 Mecum Motorcycle Auction. It will be held at South Point Casino and Exhibit Hall. There will be over 700 Motorcycles, Memorabilia and Vendors.
If that isn't enough, Bonhams will be holding their auction the same time at the Las Vegas Ballys Hotel and Casino. Don Emde has placed his 1977 Harley Davidson XLCR on the block.


Skip Van Leeuwen sent this one.

- Saturday, Dec 19 2015

GET READY! Tickets for the 2016 Trailblazers banquet will go on sale on the Trailblazers website Home Page that reads: Banquet Tickets. this will take you to the order form with three options:
1. Order single tickets for $75. 00 each 
2. Order a table of 10 for $750.00
3. If you cannot attend, but still want to remain a member: $10.00 per year.
Banquet tickets include membership and newsletter. We need your email address if you want to get the newsletter.
While you are waiting for January 4th, please get the names and contact information for your guests. We need it for the tickets, seating chart, roster and newsletter.
Since we have sold out all 700 seats the last two years we encourage you to not delay with your order. If you are sending a check by mail, the envelopes won't be opened until January 4th.
More information and registration forms (for those ordering by mail), will be sent out within the next week.
On Saturday, April 23rd, the 72nd Trailblazers banquet will be held at our familiar meeting place, the Carson Center in Carson, California. As always, activities will kick off that afternoon at 3:00pm when the pit gate opens for the Tom Cates Memorial Bike presented by Hagerty Insurance. The three-hour "Meet & Greet" reception and bike show is one of the highlights of our annual gathering, with the chance to reunite with many motorcycling friends. Then at 6:00 pm it is time to go inside for dinner and awards banquet.
The mission of the Trailblazers is to keep the legacy of the motorcycle sport in Southern California alive and to honor those who made their mark here in racing, industry, and other ways. This year Keith Mashburn will receive the club's top honor, the Dick Hammer Award. Keith, a past Trailblazers president and ongoing member of the Board of Directors, had a great career in racing, then moved into a life of community service in fire protection and more recently, serving on the Simi Valley City Council.
Six Trailblazers will be inducted into the Trailblazers Hall of Fame. They are seven time American Speedway champion Mike Bast, Ascot 8-Mile National winner Dan Haaby, three time world roadracing champion Wayne Rainey and famed Dirt Track race tuner and suspension expert Steve Storz. Also inducted will be two notables who have passed on: Bruce Ogilvie and Gil Vaillancourt. Webco co-founder, Tom Heininger will be the recipient of our annual wine toast and Susie Ellsworth will receive the Lucile Flanders Award.
Hope to see you there!
Don Emde, President of Trailblazers M.C.
Use the attached form to place an ad in the banquet program. Advertise your business, thank your customers or congratulate the recipients of the award. Be creative.
It was mentioned in the last newsletter that a committee was working on the website and facebook page. It will be a bit before the content of the sites get a lot of change, but they modified the Facebook "address" to list it as the Carson Center rather than the MIC office. What that does is automatically link it to a Google Map. Easy to get direction to the banquet.
On April 9th, 2016, the Circuit of America. in Austin Texas, will host a round of the AMA Flat Track series. It will be the same weekend as MotoGP, MotoAmerica, at the same venue. This is the same track that held the sport at the Summer X Games in 2015.
Pick up the November/December issue or Don's long version of w3inning the 1972 Daytona 200. They carry it at most Barnes and Noble.
Dennis had surgery today for a detached retina. We wish him a quick recovery.
No Federal funds for discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints: Rebuild a Motorcyclist Advisory Council that represents our concerns; Funding of highway safety grants; Measures that ensure technology privacy: A pilot program to put tolls on existing interstate highways to be curbed. This is a very brief description of the Bill. Support MIC Inc, the AMA, and other groups that fight for our rights.
If your kid wants to compete on a 250cc four-stroke or two-stroke, starting on January 1, 2016, the minimum age is 14 years old. The minimum age for a rider competing on a 450cc or above will be 16 years or older. The AMA has increased the age for safety reasons.
Flyer attached.
On Saturday, January 30 there will be a party and you are invited. Arrive on Friday and stay at the Embassy Suites. We will meet you in the bar. The party is from 10am to 4pm. Donelson Cycles Inc. in St. Louis is the place. Be there. Call Kim Keen with questions  (314) 427 1204  or (314) 369 8342.
During the 2016 racing season it will cover 177 events,  Those events include 48 WERA races and 41 races that make up the Championship Cup Series (CCS). MotoAmerica gets most of the money. There will also be funds for finishes in the Chuckwalla Valley Motorcycle Association and the Central Roadracing Association Championships. There are rules to be eligible so look them up at
Wow, Thanks Kawasaki
The award recognizes the person or persons who had the most profound impact within the motorcycling community in the previous 12 months. Wayne has certainly made his mark on racing.There is not a more deserving person as he continues to be a strong influence on professional racing. Congratulations Wayne.
In the December 8th issue he wrote about the last Harley 250 Sprint winner and in the December 15h issue he did a recap of the 2015 season.Excellent research and writing. Remember, you can search old issues. For the cost of a regular magazine, you can gain access to all 2000 plus issues. You can also sign up for each decade individually for $4.99. This gives you a full year of digital access.  They are all online at
Purchasing this tool pack, designed in collaboration with Kurt Casell  supports the Kurt Caselli Foundation. It was put together for the 2015 USA ISDE team. Motion Pro will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Foundation for off-road safety.  It sells for$49.00.
The Utah MotoAmerica Superbike Championship comes to the Utah Motorsports Campus on Thursday, June 23 until Saturday, June 25th.It will be round seven of the nine-round MotoAmerica series. It will feature two MotoAmerica Superbike races, two MotoAmerica Supersport, Superstock 600 and KTM RC Cup classes. Superstock 100 will race within the Superbike class.
The 7th annual Ricky Carmichael AMA sanctioned Amateur Supercross will be on Sunday, March 6th and Monday, March 7th. Amateur riders and their families are encouraged to arrive as early as March 4th to camp on the Daytona infield. Hookups are available.  (304) 284 0101 or Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For the second time, Baker was the victor. He won the January 2014 event. The score is now USA 2, EUROPE 1. Nice going Brad.
This program, courtesy of the Motorcycle Industry Council supports female powersports entrepreneurs with great ideas for new products and services. It will teach how to create successful business plans that may have an opportunity to present, in person, to influential leaders in the powersports industry. Applications available at or Cam Arnold at Application deadline is February 12, 2016.
According to a recent survey by the Motorcycle Industry Council, 14 % of the motorcycle riders in the U.S are women. The median age for women is 39 and 48 for men. 49% do their own mechanics or have assistance from a friend. 49% are married (that explains the previousus sentence). 47% have a college or post graduate degree. You can read more on or if you are  MIC member you can get the survey for free. Non members $12.00.
Saturday, January 9th is the opening race at Del Mar. There will be a memory wall and they are hoping people will contribute their photos and a brief story about the track.
The following day, January 10 is more racing. Take a look at the flyer attached to see the interesting events.
If you are looking for a last minute gift. How about a little nostalgia. And at 25% off. Take a look at what they have to offer at  Enter code  HOHOHO for your discount.
L-Capital, the private equity firm of LVMH is in negotiations for a reported $25 million. The firm is responsible for companies like Louis Vuitton and Moet. Dues has made itS mark in hipster, surf, retro and custom motorcycles and presently have locations in Los Angeles, Sydney, Bali and Milan.
Dan's burns are healing slowly and they are still trying to cope.The insurance provided them with a modular home, but it still needs to be furnished and everyday things like cookwear, bedding, towels, etc. If you wish to help out, go to
This is going to be a busy season. We have lost some tracks, but new venues are popping up. On June 18 Remington Park in Oklahoma City is hosting the OKC Mile. Tickets are already on sale at
The next week end is the Lima Half Mile, promoted by Jared and Nichole Mees. Put June 25th on you calendar.
The 5th Annual John's March Against Stomach Cancer will be at the Sonoma Raceway on Saturday, January 16th 7:30am, March starts at 9am. It is a  turn road course. 2.52 miles. Longtime spokesperson for the track John Cardinale died in 2013. Bring children, pets, whatever. 933 3918  Raise awareness & funds.
The Mid Ohio Sports Car course, in Lexington, Ohio, will again host the Vintage M/C days on June 8-10 2016.
Contact the AMA for their 2016 Hall of Fame Calendar $15.00
If you wish to nominate yourself or someone else for the AMA Hall of Fame contact them at  Deadline for nomination is December 31st so hurry.
Don't know why you would need this, but you may need non-alcohol-polluted car-gas for your fliver.
You can peruse the show in Long Beach on www.todayscyclecoverage. In fact they have lots of photos and stories of lots of events. They have results too.
HalfPro MX & Off Road Riding Vacations are a hot item. These people provide transportation, bikes, tours, etc. Clients will get a chance to ride at multiple tracks. I think that is what most of you do every weekend. Some people aren't as lucky. (951) 238 1799
If you are looking for books cars, trucks and motorcycles, check out their catalog. (612) 344 8199
They offer three calendars, World Superbike, Iron and Lace Custom Bikes @ Garage Girls. Take your pick or buy all three.
Sent by Doug Towsley
True story. Epic barn find. Last night we finalized a deal for a very very generous donation to the NW Vintage Car and Motorcycle Museum.
(Only a few more days left in the tax year so talk to your financial adviser soon. We accept all kinds of donations, from cash, or buy a paver stone, or perhaps some of your collectibles, vehicles parts, or memorabilia  See us at:
Doug has sent many interesting letters about finds and articles, but they are too long to print.
On Sunday, January 3rd at the "Steel Horse Saloon"  1768 W. Bell,  Phoenix, Arizona  10am to 2pm
Sunday, January 10th. Start and finish at 37127 Tovey Ave. Palmdale, Ca, 1 mile west of Freeway 14 on Ave. "S"  (661) 273 7005.
On Sunday, January 17th for lovers of British and vintage single cylinder motorcycles. Meet at 9am at NE corner of Griffith Park Zoo parking lot, ride at 10am. All British Bikes welcome, but short route is designed for smaller bikes. (818) 843 2892  or(951) 440 3521.
The Winter Olympique on January 16th. Earned Handicap Championship.
February 6  Team Racing  Round 2
March 19   Spring Classic- Handicap and Scratch Racing
April 2nd    Team Racing Finals
April 30   AMA National Championship Qualifying Race Off.
Saturday, January 16th will be the banquet and rewards at the Chowchilla Afterburner cushion track. Races on Sunday the 17th. 
Jan  22 & 23  Practice & Round 2
Feb 12 & 13  Practice & Round 3
March 4 & 5  Practice & round 4  or (415) 320 7889.