the Life and Legacy of Al Lyons
All are invited to the Willow
Springs International Raceway’s Budweiser Balcony on March 22, 2014 from 11:00
AM to 4:00 PM for a celebration of the life and legacy of Al Lyons. Willow
Springs International Raceway has generously donated the uses of the Budweiser
Balcony and will waive the Gate Fees for all who attend.
For more or to reply please visit us
on FaceBook at Al Lyons Party.
On January 22, 2014 Al Lyons, the
founder of the CMRRA ( California Motorcycle Road racing association)
peacefully passed at his home in Adelanto, California with his loving wife
Sheri at his side. As in life Al faced death head on, taking the final journey
on his terms, not those of others. For those who knew Al Lyons this will come
as no surprise.
In life Al was one of those
individuals who quietly gave of themselves for the benefit of others. Through
his love of motorcycles, riding and racing, Al’s generosity first took form
when he found sponsorship from San Miguel Beer and formed a Motocross team to
help two young brothers, Keith and Eric Haug who showed promise but needed a
In 1993 Al once again saw the need
to step in and help young riders when he took over a failing, mismanaged racing
organization and started the CMRRA, first as the California Mini Road Racing
Association and later renamed as the California Motorcycle Road racing
In the Motorcycle Racing world, even
as close knit as it is, few could pick Al out of a crowd but most knew the
results of his generosity. As outlined in the John Hopkins segment of the
landmark Moto GP documentary “Faster” Al described taking an eleven year old
John Hopkins under his wing when John’s father, Roy passed away. In 1995 Al
once again found an unlikely sponsor, Bank of America and put together RoyAl
Racing to develop John’s talent.
As with the Haug brothers and John
Hopkins for Al it has always been about the Kids and although there were many
older riders who enjoyed riding and racing with the CMRRA, Al made it clear
that every adult rider needed to be a mentor to the younger riders.
Sheri share with me that after a
long weekend of practice and racing, while taking a moment to kick back and
drink a beer, Al would smile and begin teller her how this or that young rider
had improved so much and how another was riding the best he had ever seen. Sheri
told me that watching these kids learn and develop their race craft was Al’s
reward and filled him with pride. This was the central focus of the CMRRA,
providing the opportunity for young riders to learn how to ride and race
motorcycles in a controlled and ordered environment that was as safe as
possible while never losing the thrill of wheel to wheel racing.
But the Al that we knew was the
culmination of a life of service and dedication which began long before the
CMRRA. A Navy Seal during the Vietnam War, Al was also a pilot and retired
after a 21 year law enforcement career with the Los Vegas Sherif Department.
This may explain Al’s straight to the point, no nonsense nature. However like
his beloved rescued St. Bernard, Al’s imposing stature belied his true gentle
self which was often revealed in the warmth of his smile.
Few may have known that Al was also
proud of his Native American heritage. Being half German and Chiricahua Apache,
Al was quick to remind you that like himself, Geronimo was a Chiricahua. In the
tradition of the Native American culture we live on in the memories of the
lives we have touched and all the lives that come after. Al’s life will live forever
in the memories of his two daughters Kimberly and Sherri, their Children and
their Children’s Children. For us who came later, his legacy will ride on for
many generations to come.
There have been numerous riders who
first got knee under the diligent tutelage of Al Lyons and have carried his
legacy forward. Although it is difficult to summarize in a few individual names
all who have been touched by Al, the following are but a few of the notable
young riders; John Hopkins, Chris Ulrich, Jason Perez, Michael Beck, Josh
Herrin, Brice Prince, Benny Solis and in memoriam Tommy Aquino.
In closing for all the Motorcycle
Racers who have made the journey to the great beyond, you how have one heck of
a friend to drop the green and wave the checkers. Ride on Al!