This is a press release (or article) by Bruce Scholten.
I’m from Puget Sound and have contributed to CycleNews.com since 1978. That was a year after the Pride of Bellingham – STEVE BAKER – became first American to win the premier world roadracing Formula 750cc title! Which is why Baker has been inducted into the Washington State Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
As a leading racer at Hannegan Speedway, Baker (who sells motos at Mt. Baker Moto-Sport) showed how dirt tack techniques could tame 150bhp bikes as they approached 200mph. Californian Kenny Roberts learned from Baker, and went on to 3 world titles. Like Baker before him, Roberts beat British hero Barry Sheene. Recently Roberts turned from the machine shop to an artist’s easel, painting himself as a chimera, stalking Sheene to an eventual win.
Roberts donated his historic (and unexpected!) painting to the charity Riders for Health which uses 2-wheelers in outreach to 14 million people in 7 African countries (including Liberia, where bikes transfer blood samples to Ebola testing laboratories). Unfortunately, ill health prevented Kenny Roberts from attending Rider’s annual benefit Day of Champions yesterday, Sept. 1, 2016.
Who ya gonna call? STEVE BAKER! David Preston of support group Riders Seattle rang moto-journalist Jack Lewis, who brought the painting from Kenny Roberts’ location to Seattle, where land speed bike record holder Rolf Vitous took it on to Steve Baker. We (Bruce & photographer Martha Scholten) were – like 1000s of other racing fans – thrilled to see Baker as an honored guest at Silverstone racetrack before the British Moto Grand Prix yesterday.
Esteemed world champions like Wayne Gardner invited Baker to attend future events in Australia. And Baker was mobbed for autographs and selfies by British fans who recalled his exploits in the Trans-Atlantic Match Races of the 1970s. (When we Scholtens moved to Britain in 1992, gift shops sold wrapping paper with images of Baker on his #32 winning Yamaha Tz750!) Baker said, ‘I was honored to take Kenny Roberts’ painting to the British MotoGP.’
It shows that as well as being fun – Motorcycles save lives in Africa!
Besides, we’re so fast up in Washington State, that WE DON’T CARE HOW THE HECK THEY DO IT IN CALIFORNIA!
Copyright Bruce Scholten 2016