Things we think of while riding down the road

Actors or racers?

Last weekend while at The AMA Superbike Finale, word came that Paul Newman had passed away. A sad day indeed. A moment of silence was observed and it got me to thinking of another great racer actor, Steve McQueen.

As far as I know, Paul Newman was never a motorcyclist, just into sports car racing. At age 78 he was racing his Corvette in the Trans Am series..and check this out, at 78 years old he finished 5th in a field of 17!!! Back in the 70’s he did a car racing movie ‘Winning’ that was just so-so, but it was what he loved. There are lot’s of wonderful things to say about Paul Newman in all the fields he was involved in… acting, philanthropy and racing. Newman Racing has been supporting racers for many years. Paul Newman was a very classy guy. He will be missed by the racing world for years to come.

Back to Steve McQueen, another great actor racer. I was lucky enough to race in the Elsinore Grand Prix with Steve, I got to talk with him for a minute or two and he was a really nice man. I almost wanted to say a ‘cool guy’ but that is a way overused term in his case. True, but over used. Everybody has seen Steve in the greatest motorcycle movie of all time, ‘On Any Sunday’
But to see and ride with him..actually he was quite a bit faster than me so I can’t really say I rode with him…just on the same track and out in the desert once or twice.

Later in years, Steve was living not too far from I do now. He was spending a lot of time out at The Santa Paula airport, hanging with Von Dutch and some other unique characters. I still have a gas tank from my 1967 Triumph Bonneville pinstriped by Von Dutch.
As Steve’s cancer progressed, he went to Mexico for some experimental treatments and eventually came back to Santa Paula.

Sadly, both Steve McQueen and Paul Newman passed away due to cancer. Both really classy men in all ways. So, did we lose two great racers that acted or two great actors that raced? Either way you look at it they are both missed.

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