Since we are fortunate to have have quite a few "friends and relatives" of Pat's on the forum currently ( Chip, Claudia, Stu, Mike, etc...) I thought the timing would be right to open a dedicated thread about him. Also, this will help keeping the Marlboro Series thread free from veering off topic too often .
Pat's career from 1976 onwards, when he arrived in Europe on the 500cc World Championship trail, is very well documented, therefore I would prefer to keep this thread, for the time being, to the earlier years of Pat's career , when there may be more new stories to be told and documented. Also, I would like , if feasible, to keep a certain level of chronology in the stories - although I realise this may be difficult...
Pat was born in April 1953 in Arizona. When he was very young his family moved to the San Fransisco bay area , and this is where he began racing in the early 70's , starting in dirt-track like was then common practice.
The earliest document I have found of Pat's professional career ( i.e , on the AMA field in the "national" championship ) is from the 1972 Laguna Seca National Road Race. I hope I'm not messing things up too much, but for the benefit of the non-american readers of this forum, I feel it useful to explain that when you took to racing in the US you had to start as a "novice" ( disregarding your age - only based upon experience ) and when you proved good enough you graduated as a "junior", and then again if you scored enough good results you ended up as an "expert" . A typical AMA Road Race meeting would include a race for novices, juniors and experts, all on unlimited capacity machines, plus generally a "junior-expert" combined 250cc race . In 1972, Pat was riding as a Novice .
So, from the november 1972 issue of "Cycle Guide" we have the following result :
Some intersting names in those results, in the various classes, eh ?
Pat finished 6th, aboard a Suzuki of un-named capacity, which according to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame website was "built by his brothers David and Chip" , so hopefully Chip will tell us a bit more .
Incidentally, Mike Summers , who won the race that day, is a member of this forum but is mostly seen on the cars section, and despite my efforts I haven't managed to lure him to this place yet ....someday maybe !
Pat then appears again in the season closing race at Ontario Motor Speedway.
The race was won by Pat Evans, scoring his first victory in a novice season which had so far been dominated by John Long. Pat Hennen was 9th, still on the lonely Suzuki amongst a Yamaha field.
And that's all I have for 1972 and earlier. I have my documents for the 1973 season at the ready, but for the time being I'll leave the space free for whoever has anything to add about the earlier years of Pat's career . Over to you !
Edited by philippe7, 29 December 2011 - 10:16.