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Oct 25, 2011

More On The Death Of Former AFM President Joe Montoya, R.I.P.

FIRST PERSON/OPINION:

Via e-mail:

It is with great sadness that the American Federation of Motorcyclists announces the death of Joe Montoya, former AFM president. Joe was killed on Sunday, October 23, 2011 at approximately 4:15pm when he was riding his motorcycle on Redwood Road near his home. An oncoming car crossed the center line and veered sideways directly in front of Joe. He was killed instantly.

Joe leaves a huge legacy behind him. First and foremost, he was a true racing enthusiast. He began racing in the late 1970's, and in 1981 finished 3rd in 600 Box Stock (Production) class, overall in 16th place for the year. In 1982 he started running his favorite #13 number plate, which he would run for the balance of his racing career. That year, he finished 2nd in 600 Box Stock, and also 2nd in 600 Modified Production, giving him #3 overall for the year. In 1983 he raced the 600 classes once again, earning the #6 plate for the year. He continued racing throughout the 1980's, never earning a Top Ten plate again, but doing well in the classes he entered. He did not race regularly after 1987, although he entered endurance races here and there. He was part of Team Bozo along with his brother Wayne.

He became interested in the workings of the AFM, and was elected to the Board in the mid 1980's. He became President in 1989 and kept that position for a staggering 17 years. During his tenure as president, the club saw amazing growth. Membership numbers soared, and the club began racing at other tracks (Thunderhill Park, Buttonwillow Raceway, Laguna Seca, Las Vegas). Under his guidance, the AFM was able to take their successful race operation at Sears Point and turn it into a flexible and efficient organization that could essentially work at any track. During this time, AFM earned a reputation for a well-run, safe, fun club to ride with, a reputation that stands to this day.

On a personal level, Joe Montoya was quiet, calm, smart and funny. Unless in leathers, one rarely saw him wear anything other than jeans and t-shirt. He kept his life organized by using an old-fashioned black metal lunch box, which held all his hand-written notes, checkbook, cell phone and the ever-present bottle of Tabasco Sauce, which he put on everything. He was as good as his word, never promising anything he couldn't deliver a rarity in these days of just telling people what they want to hear.

He was a mentor, an advocate, a competitor, an amazing resource. Most of all, he was a true friend and an enthusiast of motorcycle racing, of a caliber rarely seen. To say he will be missed is a huge understatement. The racing community at large has lost an amazing person, but many of us were proud to call him our friend. His legacy of enthusiasm, honor and integrity will stand forever.

Information on a memorial service will be forthcoming as the family makes arrangements.

Barbara Smith
AFM Race Director
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