Thursday, August 6, 2009


Found these photos over on the Flat Track Thunder website. Beyond these photos there is little info out there on Shorty Tompkins. A Google search turned up an article involving him and some other aging Northern California motorcyclists...Shorty was 80 at the time of the 2001 story. Unfortunately, the most recent mentions of his name are found in some articles on big dollar auctions of motorcycles that were "formerly the property of Shorty Tompkins." So it appears Shorty is no longer with least not in the flesh...his memory lives on in the photos below. If anyone has any info on Shorty Tompkins, his racing career, or his life after he took off the leathers and crash helmet, it would be a great thing to document. Drop us a line at:
(Cutting it close)

(Looking right at the camera)

(w/ old school trophy girl)

(Mobil Oil Ad)


  1. This guy was before my time but the photos are excellent!

  2. Shorty passed away in Carson City, NV in Sept. 2001. He was there for an event, motorcycling to the end. The woman with him in the last picture is his wife Juanita

  3. Frances "Shorty" Tompkins was my grandfather Ross "Whitey" Tompkins' brother. They built and raced a great many motorcycles. In their later years, the two brothers built and restored antique bikes and Shorty even restored and built old bikes and cars for Harrah's Museum (now the Automobile Museum) in Reno, NV. My grandfather was an amazing artist and could hand stripe a tank like nobody's business. Both men are now gone, but we are blessed with many fond memories and lots of old race programs, posters, and pictures.

  4. This is Ryan Tompkins, Shorty's only grandson, and not the writer of the above post. Shorty was very loved and we miss him quite a bit. It's great that people want to keep his memory alive and post fond stories about him, but please do not falsely impersonate other people. Shorty was talented and skilled in a million ways, but my dad was always the artist :)

  5. Ryan:
    In re-reading the above "anonymous" comment, I believe it was from Ross Tompkins' grandson...who he refers to as Shorty's brother...making your grandfather his great-uncle.

    - moderator