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Apr 4, 2014

Readers Remember Former Racer/Race Director Danny Farnsworth, R.I.P. (Updated)

Lloyd Johnson (855) and Danny Farnsworth (75) racing at Willow Springs in 1986. Photo courtesy of Lloyd Johnson.


Via e-mail:

Very sad to hear of Danny's passing. One of the things I remember most vividly was going through the new racers school and having Danny as my instructor. He gave clear instruction on what to do and what not to do on the track as well as what to do when you got in over your head. Danny was like the old cowboy around the track - he'd been there, done that and always had a story he could tell you about each turn on the track. I think I can speak for a majority of the WSMC Club members that the club was never the same after Danny left. I know it wasn't for me. Godspeed Danny.

Jerry Mendzer


Via e-mail:

He was a "Fast Fat Man" on a single. I recall that he had HEART surgery back in the ARRA days. He could ride, and teach others to ride, without ever seeming like he was interested.

aka (affectionately) "Pismo Pudgy"

FAR too much of this kind of news lately.

Tony Morrison

San Diego, CA


Via e-mail:

I remember following Danny through turn four with his front wheel hopping off the track surface two or three inches all the way over the top of the track, thinking how does he do that? Been missing him for a long time since I stopped racing on the big track.

Elliott Iverson

WSMC #823


Via e-mail:

I just saw the news. Danny was such a fixture at Willow. Who can forget the bandana, the Ascot, and even that ancient FZR1000?! We used to see him Saturday nights at Barone's in Lancaster all the time...I've been away from racing for years now, but I still have lots of great memories. 

Stephen D. Bowline


Via e-mail:

I missed the notices that Danny had passed.

I remember his lessons in ARRA new racer school in 1987:

"If you have $200 to spend on go fast parts or track time, spend it on track time."

"When you crash, relax! you are just road testing your leathers, that's what you bought them for!"

When I was taken out by a driver in my morning commute just last September, Danny's words flashed through my mind as I was bouncing off that !$#?* car!

Danny, know your lessons have much lasting effects on many generations of riders and racers.

RIP Danny!

George Leavell

San Jose, CA


Via e-mail:

Way back in 1985 I joined the old AMRRA and did my first season on a then-new 900 Ninja. Danny had a Honda 1000 Interceptor, as I recall. I had done the Code School the fall before and thought I was pretty fast. Anyhow Danny did the new rider school and after the preliminary stuff we all went out to get timed and "pass the test" to race that weekend. Danny's wife (girlfriend?) was helping him, and I asked them about turn 8-9, and how much to roll off and when... I am pretty sure it was his wife who answered, telling me, "most guys just hold it wide open around there". Which I promptly tried on my 900 Ninja, next hot lap.

This did not work out. I had it pinned through Turn 8, but as I approached the point where it tightens up for Turn 9 I could see there was no way in hell it was going to work, and I ended up straightening up, braking hard as long as I had pavement, and then heading out across the desert. I slowed enough that by the time I reached the infamous ditch I was able just slowly tip over. I picked the now dusty bike up and made my way back to the track and the pits.

Mrs. Farnsworth had seen it happen, and she and Danny were so apologetic and beet red it was almost funny. I think they had confused me with someone on a much slower bike than the then class-leading 900 Ninja. I went on to race a couple of seasons there at Willow,(and even make a few podiums) it was a great experience and I thank Danny for helping me get started, even if it was a little too exciting the first day.

Greg Settle

Olympia, Washington

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