Friday, August 8, 2014

Did You Know? The AFM... [Part 1]

Has had chapters in Florida, New York, Illinois, Mississippi, Nevada and California.

California chapters have included Manhattan Beach, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.  In 2014 there is one chapter: Northern California.

Started racing at Willow Springs when it was oiled dirt and gravel.

Has raced on at least 18 locations in California.

Has included not only road racing, but also road rallies, observed trials, short tracks, speed trials, flat track, scrambles, enduro, and motocross.

Started in 1954 as the American Association of Grand Prix Riders, then changed to AFM in 1956.

Incorporated in California in 1956, and was re-incorporated in 1965.

Was the United States’ representative to the F.I.M. in the late 1950s and early 1960s. AFM racers could (and did) race overseas using their AFM/FIM license.

Originally followed F.I.M. rules. These required race bikes to have non-folding footpegs and handlebars below the triple clamps. AMA rules, in contrast, required folding footpegs and handlebars above the triple clamps.

In keeping with the European rules, had push starts for the sprint races and LeMans-style starts for the Endurance races.

Had more road races in the 1950s and 1960s than the AMA.

In March of 1960, held the first race ever sanctioned by the F.I.M. in the United States. It took place at Willow Springs. The total cost for an International License, Rider Entry, machine and Pit Man was $10.00. The entry list included Mike Hailwood and Luis Giron, a champion from Guatemala.

1 comment:

  1. I remember Gordon Jennings writing about Mike Hailwood racing at Willow Springs. He and other club racers who had done many laps there thought they might have a home-town advantage against the international racers. I don't have the exact words he wrote but it went something like this:

    We were going to show those stars what a local boy could do, but then Hailwood went out during practice. After about 5 laps he was setting times that made us all weak in the knees. We slunk home realizing we all needed to work harder.