In the spirit of the holiday I'm thankful for guys like Mike "Stu" Stuhler. Mike does the Stu's Shots blog and has taken the time on several occasions to share photos he has shot over the years. They are always very cool and the background info he sends along always brings the photos to life. So thanks Mike. Happy Holidays!
From Mike "Stu" Stuhler:
I've been doing a lot of scanning lately, and came acrossed this batch of shots I thought you might like that I took back in August of '75. This was my second year, and first full year of having just gotten into flat track racing, I had just graduated high school and was working with one intention in mind for the summer--go to as many flat track races I can.
My old friend Dick Jones--who I have mentioned before and who had taken me under his wing so to speak in turning me on to this great series--and I traveled to 9 or 10 races that year. Of course, Peoria a couple of weeks before the now infamous '75 Indy Mile, was a must see. Only 192 miles west of here, we made the trek.
Back in those days, all you pretty much had to do was get an AMA membership and make application for a mechanics license and wammo, you had your way into the pits. It was titties and beer as you were right there with all the gods of this great series.
Sonny Burres Natl #69 and Chuck Joyner Natl #60 were two hot shoes out of the Pacific Northwest area that were considered TT specialists in the day. I know they ran Peoria then and of course Castle Rock. I'm not sure about Houston at the time.
Both had immaculately prepared Triumphs that were a testament to the worthiness and durability of the brand. Even in later years as when Gary Scott won Castle Rock for what I believe was a five year run. Burres won Peoria this year as you can tell from the shot of him and his wrench taking the checkered flag. As a matter of fact he ran away with it.
In no particular order of shots, one is of Gary Scott #64-who would of course claim the championship that year on a factory H-D tuned by Bill Werner-and Chuck Joyner #60 run it into 1.
Another shot shows Scott, Phil McDonald on the #58 --which I think was a Harley--and Joyner running it into 1 as well.
Another is of Joyner grabbing the front brake so much in a testament to his riding prowess in these things, that the rear wheel is starting to come off the ground while Gary Scott is just starting to get it on the brakes hard coming in behind him.
And last but not least you have the field lining up for the national. On the far left you can see #65x just over #26 Mike Caves' right shoulder. Just off Caves' left elbow in the second row is #35 who I believe was Randy Scott--I stand corrected if not so--but also on a Triumph. To Caves' left on the front row you have the late, great Rex Beauchamp #31. I can't make out the rider just over Rex' left shoulder in the second row. To his left, though, is of course #69 Sonny Burres and just behind him you can just make it Joyner's #60. And just off Sonny's left elbow on the second row is Natl #14 Hank Scott on the Shell Thuett Yamaha. And do I even need to mention who is on the pole on the #1. Probably not, but yes, it is The King, Kenny Roberts, on the Bud Askland-tuned Yamaha parallel twin.
You can tell from all the shots that the crowd, as it still is today in Peoria, SRO. And even if someone HAD a seat, they probably didn't get used too much that day.
Just a note of interest. My buddy and close friend Rick McGuire, who now resides back in the Champaign, IL. area after having lived the good life for the last 8-9 years in Hilo, HI., ran into Sonny Burres at an AHDRA event in Bristol, TN. back in late summer of '07. He's still racing, and for a guy now in his early '70s has gravitated to nitro-burning Harleys after also having taken up hydroplane racing over the years. Obviously this man is an Iron Man for still taking on a schedule like that some 34 1/2 years after wowwing an 18 year old kid. Pretty cool stuff.