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Sports stars - a second career in motorsport


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#1 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 09:44

The LeMond thread got me thinking...

There have some star athletes crossing over to Motorsports after their first career.

From the top of my head, I can start the list with alpine skiers, 'Kaiser' Franz Klammer who did rather well in touringcars, Werner Grissmann did some rallying and Phil Mahre did race in some IMSA category. Swedish cross-country skier Gunde Svan competed in the Euro Rally Cross Championship.

Another IMSA racer was Bruce Jenner (Olympic Decathlon winner in 1976).

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#2 Bruce Moxon

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 10:08

Hmmm

Australian Rules footballer (and all-round dickhead) Sam Newman is racing a Lamborgini in the Australian Nations Cup series (www.procar.com.au)

Jack Elsegood played representative rugby league and now races in V8 Brutes - same website as Newman. Does well, too.

Peter Brock was good enough at Australian Rules to have played professionally, deciding to go racing instead. Dick Johnson was a State Champion swimmer, holding many records that stood for years after he gave it away.

Tony Greig (captain of England's Cricket team) dabbled in racing for a while but wasn't too great. Tony Longhurst was a champion water-skier. Gelignite Jack Murray also water-skied (alleged to be the first in Australia), boxed and wrestled, all at high levels.

Probably a lot more, I would think.


Bruce Moxon

#3 Pedro 917

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 10:29

I believe Jean Claude Killy, 2-time World Cup ski champion (1967-68) and 3-time gold medalist at the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble also participated in the Le Mans 24H of 1968 in a Porsche 911. I Don't know if he did other races so wouldn't call it a "second career"

#4 provapr

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 10:38

I think Alfonso de Portago is one of the few sportsmen to have reached the top(ish) in 3 sports; motor racing, horse racing and bobsleighing. Horse racing - he competed in the Grand National, while he competed in the bobsleigh at the Winter Olympic Games.

Others;

Ian Botham had a less than succesful time in Group N in the early nineties, including if I remember rightly, parking two Saabs upside down at Silverstone. I think Daley Thompson may also have had a go in a Group N Peugeot at some point.

Peter Dunwoody, the jockey, did a few seasons of Formula First in the late nineties.

#5 Yves

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 10:48

Henri Oreiller (skier) in the sixties ...

And ... Jacky Stewart if I remember well was selected for olympics ...

Graham Hill ?

Y.

#6 petefenelon

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 11:49

Originally posted by Rainer Nyberg
The LeMond thread got me thinking...

There have some star athletes crossing over to Motorsports after their first career.

From the top of my head, I can start the list with alpine skiers, 'Kaiser' Franz Klammer who did rather well in touringcars, Werner Grissmann did some rallying and Phil Mahre did race in some IMSA category. Swedish cross-country skier Gunde Svan competed in the Euro Rally Cross Championship.

Another IMSA racer was Bruce Jenner (Olympic Decathlon winner in 1976).



ISTR a Swiss-German showjumper who also did a bit of F2 in the early Eighties- Jurg Lienhard or similar?

Irish boxer Barry McGuigan has tried racing and (I think) rallycross too...


I'm assuming we're excluding two-(powered)-wheels-to-four which rules out Jeannot, Alberto Ascari, Il Grande John, Mike the Bike, and many others.;)

#7 RacingCrusaderUK

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 12:20

An obvious one, Guy Ligier, French international Rugby Union player and very useful driver and engineer.

#8 Roger Clark

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 12:20

One of the finest all round sportsmen was Carlos Menditeguy. At 17 he was Junior Tennis champion of Argentina. At the age of 17 he took up polo and became regarded as one of the top five players in the world. He played golf (Open Southern Champion of Argentina), Table Tennis (Champion of Agentina) and Squash (ditto). In 1950 he took up motor racing and the rest, as they say, is history.

#9 David T.

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 12:21

Thomas Kemenater, well known ski champion, takes now part in the Italian Ferrari Challenge 360. Soccer star Daniele Massaro (ex Milan) has also driven in several races in Italy with Ferrari Challenge and GT cars. Orazio Pizzorni, archery champion, is know for having raced a Volkswagen Polo 16v in the CIVT, the Italian Group N Championship.

#10 Frank de Jong

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 12:39

Dutch ex-WC speed skater Rintje Ritsma does some racing (as far as GT cars, IIRC).

#11 Lipp

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 12:52

Isn't luc alphand the famous allround skier a racer these days?
I think so!

http://www.luc-alpha...html/index1.htm

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 13:05

Surprised no-one's mentioned Davina Galica yet - she was one of Britain's most successful skiers before turning to racing cars.

Pre-war: George Duller was a jockey before he raced at Brooklands.

Yves: you're close on Stewart. He was in the frame for an Olympic shooting place at Rome in 1960, but didn't quite make the team.

#13 uechtel

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 13:09

Willi Krakau:

member of the 1936 German Olympic rowing team
did also well at skiing, sailing, swimming, skin diving and athletics.


Wasn´t also one of the more recent Italian Formula 1 drivers (Patrese? de Cesaris?) selected for the national junior alpine skiing team?

#14 Frank de Jong

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 13:58

Bob Wollek was also a good skier IIRC.

#15 D-Type

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 14:05

Didn't Alain Prost break his nose playing rugby before he started racing?

#16 ensign14

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 16:55

Roy Race of Melchester Rovers fame raced a saloon car in the mid 80s in an Audi nicknamed 'The Rocket' and bedecked with the famous number 9. Guess IPC Magazines were trying to recover the Skid Solo demographic.

#17 rdrcr

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 17:17

From the American football ranks, there is the management skills of Les Richter running RIR, Walter Payton had a bit of a career in driving racing cars before becoming a team owner with Dale Coyne and Joe Gibbs added to his successful coaching career with running his own NASCAR team.

In the near 1st career category, wasn't Nelson Piquet being groomed as a professional tennis player by his dad? And they came to such a contretemps over his wanting to become a racing driver that he took his mother's name and pursued that direction with great success.

#18 anjakub

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 17:32

Raul Boesel (F1, CART, sportscar) : horse jumping
Sobieslaw Zasada (three times European Rally Champion) : athletics, throwing the javelin

#19 Soapbox

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 17:41

Rainer Henkel, german world class swimmer did some Porsche
Carrera Cup racing in the late nineties.
Wasn't NASCAR driver Derrike Cope a pro baseball player
before he turned to racing ?

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#20 lanciaman

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 18:11

Bobby Unser, ace snowmobile pilot and wilderness guide.

#21 lanciaman

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 18:27

Bob Said told me that jumping horses in his post-racing life was as satisfying as driving. He said there's nothing quite like having a half-ton horse gather itself up and take you over an arena hurdle.

#22 Mac Lark

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 18:49

Originally posted by RacingCrusaderUK
An obvious one, Guy Ligier, French international Rugby Union player and very useful driver and engineer.


This has always intrigued me.

I can find no record in any rugby almanacs of a G.Ligier ever playing rugby for France.

He may have played rugby IN France, but for France??

There was an Argentinian driver from the 50s - who I believe is still alive - who played rugby to a reasonable level.

#23 Alan Lewis

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 18:57

Double World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz is a rather good squash player and had a trial for Real Madrid (who have just scored against Man Utd, lovely, lovely!), I'm sure our Spanish friends will fill in the details.

APL

#24 Marcor

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 22:56

Motorsport and Football, 2 examples not really recent
The first GP des Frontières winner (in 1926), Roger Piérard, was a Red Devil, i.e he won some (8 or 9 at least) caps for the Belgium National Football team. His Football Club was "L'Union St-Gilloise" in the beginning of the 20's century, then he did a good career as sidecarist, then as a motorsport driver (in the National scene).

Séchehaye, a former Swiss goalkeeper, drove in the 1949 Swiss GP: . And also at Erlen and San Remo.

#25 theunions

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 23:07

Originally posted by Soapbox
Wasn't NASCAR driver Derrike Cope a pro baseball player
before he turned to racing ?


Not yet in the majors or minors, but on that track until a shoulder injury in college ended his ball career.

#26 theunions

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 23:08

'56 Indy winner Pat Flaherty took up pigeon racing - and did so for decades - after retiring from motorsports.

#27 scheivlak

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 23:18

Originally posted by Frank de Jong
Dutch ex-WC speed skater Rintje Ritsma does some racing (as far as GT cars, IIRC).


"ex-WC" is perhaps a rather short desription of a four-time World Long Track All Round Speed Skating Champion and a record number six-time European Long Track All Round Speed Skating Champion, see http://weasel.studen...er&skaterid=879
He won five Olympic distance medals as well, yet missed that elusive gold one.... but he's still competing on a pretty high level all the same.

In GT racing, he has driven a Marcos: http://www.supercarc...p?Nieuws_ID=129

#28 m.tanney

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 23:21

  de Portago was a good bobsledder, but one of the all-time greats on the Cresta Run.
  Patrick Tambay was, IIRC, a world-class junior skier.
  Peter Ryan would have made the Canadian olympic ski team in 1960, but for a problem with his citizenship. Though he'd spent his whole life in Canada, Ryan was born in Philadelphia. He had a Canadian passport, but could not claim Canadian citizenship until he turned 21. As a non-citizen, he couldn't compete for Canada. He threatened to try out for the US team, but they wouldn't have him as he wasn't an really American.
  Emory Collins, the many time IMCA sprint car champion, was a talented left-winger with the Regina Pat's hockey team. His first contract with the IMCA's Alex Sloan was a two sport deal. He played hockey for Sloan's St. Paul, Minnesota team in the winter and raced on the IMCA circuit the rest of the year.

#29 Bruce Moxon

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 09:49

Originally posted by Alan Lewis
Double World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz is a rather good squash player and had a trial for Real Madrid (who have just scored against Man Utd, lovely, lovely!), I'm sure our Spanish friends will fill in the details.

APL


Carlos was also quite a good fencer too, wasn't he?


Bruce Moxon

#30 Vicuna

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 09:54

Originally posted by Mac Lark



There was an Argentinian driver from the 50s - who I believe is still alive - who played rugby to a reasonable level.


The chap you're looking for is Roberto Mieres - rower, rugby player, yachtsman - 78 yrs old

#31 Jesper O. Hansen

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 12:35

Originally posted by Bruce Moxon


Carlos was also quite a good fencer too, wasn't he?


Bruce Moxon


I think Carlos Sainz was in the running for a spot on the Spanish Olympic team on horse back or fencing before his rally days.

Jesper O. Hansen

#32 917

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 14:49

Klaus Fritzinger played football (soccer to our American friends) for the 1. FC Kaiserslautern and was later rally driver.

#33 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 15:13

Charles Rigoulot, winner of the 1937 Bol d'Or, was an Olympic weightlifting gold medallist in 1924, a bodybuilding champion and successful wrestler.

#34 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 17:41

Racers who were also sportsmen and not mentioned already:
Robin Widdows (Bobsleigh Olympian)
Ben Pon (Olympic Skeet-Shooter, I think..)
Ian Ashley (fencing!)
Frank Gardner (boxer, swimmer, motorcycling)
Ukyo Katayama (mountaineer)
Giovanni Lavaggi (ski-ier)
Nigel Mansell (golf)
Pironi & Leoni, Heinz Schiller & Bill Cantrell (powerboating/speedboating)
Michael Schumacher played a few guest games for a Swiss Division 3 side, IIRC....
Moises Solana - (Jai-Alai)

Menditeguy was a huge success in horse racing (trainer) as, to a lesser extent is Brian Gubby now.
Riccardo Patrese too has tried his hand at a few differing sports...
I'm guessing speedway is too similiar but Trevor Blokdyk was an ace at that...
Tim Parnell is a historian & director for Derby County FC (I know.. grasping at straws!)

As for sportsmen of fame in other fields but not in motor racing, I have vague recollections of a lower-league footballer & an athlete, British I think, "Having a go" & then disappearing but I can't recall a name off my head.

#35 anjakub

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 17:56

Didier Pironi took part in class 1 offshore (powerboating) races after his motorsport career.

#36 Geoff E

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 18:05

Originally posted by provapr

Peter Dunwoody, the jockey, did a few seasons of Formula First in the late nineties.


Richard Dunwoody.

#37 wildman

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 21:46

Major league baseball player Jack Clark and NFL quarterback Dan Pastorini both dabbled in NHRA drag racing after retirement.

#38 petefenelon

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 23:43

Originally posted by ensign14
Roy Race of Melchester Rovers fame raced a saloon car in the mid 80s in an Audi nicknamed 'The Rocket' and bedecked with the famous number 9. Guess IPC Magazines were trying to recover the Skid Solo demographic.


What was the story behind the name of Melchester Racing (Tony Trimmer's Aurora team, IIRC)? - was it run by RotR fans?



#39 Pikachu Racing

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Posted 25 April 2003 - 05:55

Jerry Glanville was a NFL coach for then-Houston Oilers (now Tenessee Titans) and Atlanta Falcons and drove a supertruck. He still drives part time.

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#40 ensign14

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 20:28

Found an Olympic gold medallist who went on to be a motor racing star - Foxhall Keene.

In 1886, as an 18 year old, Keene scored the first ever goal in international polo for the USA against Great Britain. He played polo at international level for the States until at least 1913.

He also played golf to a high standard, being a quarter-finalist in the US Amateur Championship.

His gold medal came, curiously enough, for Great Britain in the 1900 polo event. In those early Olympic days nationality was not so important and all 4 polo teams that year were multinational. However the Foxhunters team of which Keene was a part was technically British.

(Polo is no longer an Olympic sport; Argentina are the reigning champions and have been for 80 years...)

As for Melchester Racing - Melchester is an anglicization of the Roman name for Salisbury; did anyone associated have links with the cathedral city?

#41 D-Type

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 21:19

Pat Moss was a good enough show jumper to make the British (Olympic?) team. before going on to rally, and occasionally race, cars. As a youngster her brother also show jumped.

Jimmy Greaves the footballer competed in one of the long distance rallies - either the London-Sydney or the London-Mexico.

Jack Simonian played goalkeeper in the Kenya Olympic hockey team, raced motorcycles and rallied a Cortina in the Safari

Briggs Cunningham raced yachts.

James Hunt played squash to county standard

Innes Ireland shot deer.

Did Peter Gethin ever race horses? I know his father was a jockey and I think I once read of him competing as an amateur

#42 ensign14

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 21:38

Originally posted by D-Type
Innes Ireland shot deer.

Self-defence, your honour.

#43 Falcadore

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 22:31

Originally posted by Bruce Moxon
Hmmm

Australian Rules footballer (and all-round dickhead) Sam Newman is racing a Lamborgini in the Australian Nations Cup series (www.procar.com.au)

Jack Elsegood played representative rugby league and now races in V8 Brutes - same website as Newman. Does well, too.

Peter Brock was good enough at Australian Rules to have played professionally, deciding to go racing instead. Dick Johnson was a State Champion swimmer, holding many records that stood for years after he gave it away.

Tony Greig (captain of England's Cricket team) dabbled in racing for a while but wasn't too great. Tony Longhurst was a champion water-skier. Gelignite Jack Murray also water-skied (alleged to be the first in Australia), boxed and wrestled, all at high levels.

Probably a lot more, I would think.


Bruce Moxon


King Wally Lewis, arguably the greatest Rugby League footballer Australia has produced, went HQ racing for a couple of seasons after doing a celebrity race. I once started a rumour that he was ood enough to be picked for a test drive with Larry Perkins which got as far as Roy & HG's This Sporting Life radio show. However while Wally was a dab hand in celebrity races, against serious racerswell he didn't cut the mustard, then his employer Ch.9 'asked' him to pull the plug, much in the same way they would do with TV reporter Kim Watkins

With Grant Kenny, champion surflifesaver it bit quite harder and he spent four years racing Subaru Imprezas in the GT-Production series. He wasn't bad, but not really great.



One of Australias gold medal winning netballers tried her hand and was good enough that Larry Perkins picked her up for the Castrol Cougars programme, but pulled out siting her commitments to netball, and I have since forgotten her name.

#44 jarama

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 23:39

Originally posted by Alan Lewis
Double World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz is a rather good squash player and had a trial for Real Madrid (who have just scored against Man Utd, lovely, lovely!), I'm sure our Spanish friends will fill in the details.

APL



Carlos was indeed Spanish Squash Champion back in 1979 or 1980 (IIRC).

Carles.

#45 Frank S

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Posted 20 March 2004 - 01:55

Did I miss mention of

"Named "The Worlds's Greatest Athlete" after winning the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Bruce Jenner turned his competitive talents to racing after winning a celebrity race at the 1979 Long Beach Grand Prix. He started competing on the Camel GT circuit in the early 1980's, and turned to full time racing in 1986. Jenner racked up points in 1986, scoring his first two professional victories and 13 top-six finishes. His success continued in 1987, when he finished eighth in the GTO class point standings."

?


Frank S

#46 Ralliart

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Posted 20 March 2004 - 14:55

Someone mentioned Killy and whether he raced much. I know he also did the Targa Florio with photographer Bernard Cahier. Prost is another - he was good enough at football that a French first division club was interested. And wasn't danny Ongais an established drag racer before he made the transitition to (circuit) motor racing? Jackie Stewart was the front runner to make the British Olympic team in skeet shooting, had a bad day and finished, I think, third whereas the first two were picked for Rome. Wayne Gardner went from bikes to cars, too, but wasn't too successful.

#47 Barry Boor

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Posted 20 March 2004 - 16:34

During a quiet moment, Francois Migault once told me that in his teens he was a very good sprinter (maybe hurdler), but I couldn't say to what standard.

#48 Ralliart

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Posted 20 March 2004 - 22:29

According to Barrie Gill's "Motor Sport Yearbook 1973", "From 1962 until 1967 Migault was one of France's top 100 meter sprinters and he represented his country on several occasions." As one who followed the sport avidly in the 60's, I have to confess as to never hearing nor reading about Migault the sprinter. France had some great sprinters then, Jocelyn Delecour and Claude Piquemal being the dominant ones in France. The book also mentions Bob Wollek: "Wollek first showed his control at speed on skis and he went on to win the French Universities Ski championship." Simo Lampinen "won the Finish Junior Ski Championship at 13". Rauno Aaltonen had a "distinguished career in speedway riding (he represented his country) and powerboat racing (winning the Finnish Championships seven times)."

#49 Barry Boor

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Posted 20 March 2004 - 23:53

So, typical Migault understatement!

#50 fester82

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 01:32

I didn't see anyone mention Bruce Jenner, Gold Medal decathalon at the Montreal Olympics. I believe he got hooked at the Long Beach celebrity race and went on to drive in TransAm for awhile.