DENVER, Colo. – Former AMA Pro racer Bill Brown has a passion for classic racing machines.
Through his latest endeavor, Historic Moto Grand Prix, Brown has created a one-of-a-kind environment where owners of vintage/classic show and race bikes can display and ride their machines at some of America’s most iconic race courses, often alongside the heroes that rode the bikes to glory in their heyday.
Read on to find out how HMGP came to be:
In the year 1963, I was 15 years of age. My Dad changed my life forever when he took me to the Daytona 200 in Daytona Beach, Fla. I watched in awe as Ralph White took home the win. I decided then and there that I wanted nothing more than to pursue a career in racing. I knew I was “hooked.”
My first racing motorcycles were both Suzukis: a 250 X6 and an A100 two-stroke. After those, once again I was a changed man. In the mid 70’s I acquired an ex-factory Yamaha TA250 from Bobby Winters, a Yamaha factory support rider at the time. I then became “hooked” on Yamaha machines.
Later, I bought another ex-factory Yamaha TZ350 from Niguchi, a manufacturer of racing parts for Yamaha motorcycles. The next best thing that happened to me was meeting Tom Temple through a local motorcycle club. He was an outstanding technician and really knew his bikes. He did a great job assisting me with my machines and later went on to join Yamaha Motor Corporation as National Service Manager. I truly enjoyed two great years of successful racing with WERA and had Tom to thank.
Those were the greatest years, and some of my very fond memories of having Dale Singleton to share a pit with me at every Daytona event was too much fun.
I raced with AMA Pro Racing in the late 1970’s and 80’s, sold the TA250 as most racers do, to move up to another of Yamaha’s wonders, the TZ750. One of those Daytona 200 events did not turn out so well for me, as I had an unexpected extended stay at Halifax Hospital for a week following an undignified crash.
Professionally, I promoted motorcycle racing as Event Coordinator for Road Atlanta and worked with Cameron Gray on the first Big Kahuna event which took place there and has returned to Road Atlanta. In addition, I served several years as Executive Director of Jennings GP in Jennings, Fla., the “motorcycle only” racetrack in the states.
Having forty years in motorcycling, somehow along the way I failed to sell any of the motorcycles I had acquired which resulted in the collection of my unique Yamaha machines. With that in mind and considering age as a factor, I still wanted a place to ride my bikes and thought there must be other guys out there like myself.
Five years ago, Historic Moto Grand Prix was merely a concept. With a lot of effort and some special individuals assisting to make things happen, we have come a long way. HMGP is truly a collectors club rather than a “racing organization.”
Our events actually have a turn out similar to a Goodwood Festival. We have combined events with Historic Sports Car Racing coordinated with Steve Simpson, President and Cameron Gray of M1 PowerSports. These are always fun and families enjoy the events.
Championship winning riders Scott Russell, Jamie James, Tom Kipp, Thomas Stevens and Eric Bostrom have joined us at various events. These gentlemen are really fast, yet they also enjoy the thrill of the classic machines of bygone years as well as low key events. It is a great experience for our members to ride among the talent of these men.
HMGP was designed with riders similar to myself in mind, riders with a desire to go somewhere, ride, enjoy an event and without the pressure of the competition racing. It is truly a unique association.
Anyone with an antique or collector’s machine is welcome to join us. HMGP is the perfect fit for someone interested in riding and display their classic machines, while mingling among our group. We promise a great day for everyone attending.
The success of HMGP is not mine alone. I owe special thanks to a number of people that have worked many hours and put forth so much effort, simply because they were compelled with the same passion for the sport. Steve Liberatore and Kevin Reed with Yamaha Motor Corporation have been so supportive, I cannot thank them enough. I thank Casey Morris, Michelin North America for support. Steve Simpson with HSR and Cameron Gray of M1 PowerSports, thank you so much. Chris Anderson, Ron Raven and John Early have also been part of the success of HMGP. Thanks to Karen Cox for helping with Facebook. Also, thanks to Pam Vershure contributing experience with motorcycle road racing organizations administrative responsibilities.
Come join us! See you at the track.