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Photo: Jim Hatfield
Dennis Firestone
Dennis Firestone

I began racing at age 18 in 1962, on TT motorcycles with my brother-in-law, Don Kratofil, and a friend, Tim Shaw, both of whom were truck drivers working with me at my first trucking company, Safeway Delivery. The delivery service had a six-day-a-week schedule so there were some Sundays to spare. I believe it was Tim who first bought a motorcycle to ride and race, then proceeded to talk Don and I into joining him.

It was before dirt bikes were being manufactured, so we had to modify street bikes for the dirt. I rode and raced for a year and found I was hurting myself a lot as a result of my overly aggressive style of racing. Almost without fail I’d show up for work on Monday mornings with major cuts, scrapes and bruises. Then after one big crash over the handlebars of my 500 Triumph, I put my front teeth through my upper lip and decided to hang up my leathers for a while.

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