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Nov 28, 2001

Peter Fassnacht, Honda Manager Of Rider Education: RIP

From a press release issued by American Honda:<BR><BR>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE<BR>November 28, 2001<BR><BR>American Honda's Motorcycle Division is deeply saddened to report the death of Peter John Fassnacht, Manager of Rider Education. Mr. Fassnacht passed away Saturday, November 24 of complications resulting from bacterial meningitis. He was 46 years old.<BR><BR>Fassnacht, born and raised in Ottawa, Canada was a passionate motorcyclist and a dedicated advocate of motorcycle rider education.<BR><BR>"It was in the fall of 1970 that he drove my 1966 red Honda 90 in Brantwood Park and he was hooked," recalled lifelong friend John Sparks. "His first bike was a Honda 175 I believe."<BR><BR>While earning a bachelor's degree in biology with honors from Carleton University in Ottawa, Fassnacht was an active volunteer in the Canada Safety Council's (CSC) motorcycle training program. Upon his graduation in 1977, he became the CSC's Supervising Chief Instructor for Motorcycle Safety Training Programs and crisscrossed Canada "training the trainers" -- professionals responsible for training Canada's motorcycle safety instructors.<BR><BR>"Peter brought a certain professionalism to everything he did," said Bruce MacMillan, executive director of the Motorcycle & Moped Industry Council from 1976-1983. "He was well respected among his peers as he was not only an administrator, but also a rider."<BR><BR>The program flourished during Fassnacht's time at CSC. During the decade between 1974-1984, over 70,000 Canadian motorcyclists were trained. "Peter was a major factor in making this program happen nationally," said MacMillan.<BR><BR>"He did it on an absolute shoestring budget," added Fassnacht's friend Sparks. "It was a labor of love."<BR><BR>During Fassnacht's college years, he also co-founded Simtech, a business devoted to motorcycle accident prevention. Simtech developed motorcycle skills testing equipment under contract to the Canadian government.<BR><BR>Fassnacht furthered his motorcycle passion as a road racer, entering the Simtech Racing team in a 24-hour endurance race in 1979. Though the team did not finish, the next year Fassnacht was back and finished fifth with the Racing Ottawa team.<BR><BR>Fassnacht's pioneering work in the motorcycle safety movement caught the attention of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) in Irvine, California. The MSF is sponsored by the U.S. manufacturers and distributors of BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Victory and Yamaha motorcycles.<BR><BR>Fassnacht moved to the U.S and joined the MSF in 1984 as a consultant in Curriculum Development. He was subsequently appointed Vice President in July 1985, a position he held until August 1995. Fassnacht presided over the MSF as the organization saw substantial growth in the number of motorcyclists trained.<BR><BR>Today, over 2 million riders have been trained in MSF programs since the organization's inception in 1973.<BR><BR>Fassnacht continued his formal education after moving to California, earning certificates in marketing and communications from the University of California, Irvine.<BR><BR>Fassnacht joined American Honda's Motorcycle Division in 1995. "Peter was a dedicated and tireless champion of the MSF during his tenure," said Silvio Carrara, Vice President of Motorcycle Service at American Honda and the company's MSF Board member at the time. "We were very fortunate to have him join our service engineering group at a time when our business was growing rapidly."<BR><BR>At Honda, Fassnacht was immersed in an engineering environment well suited to his innate technical and analytical skills. He quickly became a significant contributor to the Motorcycle Division's dealer technical support effort and was soon developing curriculum for Honda's dealer technician training programs.<BR><BR>Fassnacht's background in rider education made him a natural choice in June, 2001 to head Honda's Rider Education Department overseeing the company's four Rider Education Centers located in California, Texas, Ohio and Georgia. He was actively directing the effort to broaden the centers' training programs and was developing plans to further expand Honda's environmental commitment at the centers, embodied in the recently opened, one-of-a-kind Off Highway Vehicle Environmental Learning Center at the Colton, CA facility.<BR><BR>"Peter was like family to us and he will be sorely missed," said Honda Motorcycle Division Vice President Ray Blank. "We will remember him for his love of motorcycling, his commitment to rider education, his dedication to excellence, and his quick, warm smile."<BR><BR>Fassnacht was a member of the American Motorcyclists Association, the Society of Automotive Engineers and the Motorcycle Press Guild.<BR><BR>Fassnacht is survived by his wife, Melanie and their two children, Harry, 11 and Lily, 9 and his mother, Ursula Fassnacht and two sisters, Barbara Powell and Kathy Phillips. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the "Fassnacht Children Fund", c/o Cyndi Troup, 18208 Santa Cecilia, Fountain Valley, CA 92708.<BR><BR>NOTE: A memorial gathering will take place on Friday, November 30, 2001, 6:00PM - 8:00PM at the Torrance Hilton Hotel, 21333 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA on the Penthouse Level. The Torrance Hilton is located on Hawthorne Boulevard south of the intersection with Torrance Boulevard on the west side.