Sammy Tanner’s 75th Birthday Bash
Southern California Motorcycles
Photos and Captions by Tom Corleyfirstname.lastname@example.org
BREA, CA, MAY 23, 2014
Flat-trackers, speedway racers, motocrossers, sprint car racers, and others from the motorcycle industry gathered together to celebrate the 75th birthday of legendary flat-track racer Sammy “The Flying Flea” Tanner. Some of the top-name competitors in attendance included Sonny Nutter, Wally Pankratz, Rick Goudy; Richard Cordsen, Skip Van Leeuwen and Jim Wilson, as well as many others.
Southern California Motorcycles hosted the event and turned a showroom of Triumphs into a festive party area. The band P-51 lit the place up with classic rock sounds. Justin Grennan cooked one’s choice of brisket or pork, and yes, there was an open bar, too.
The evening, which was put together by Sammy’s son Jack Tanner and Sammy’s daughter Lauri Tanner, was topped off by great storytelling, as some people got on the microphone to share their racing stories about Sammy, and there were also some heartfelt expressions.
There was a cake cutting, and Sammy blew out a candle after making a wish. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and the event crossed the finish line at 9:30 p.m. It was a very memorable evening.
Everyone who came shared in the birthday celebration of a true flat-track legend – Sammy Tanner.
The venue for this event, Southern California Motorcycles in Brea, California, is known to be a Triumph haven, but they also sell Ducati, Victory, Polaris and Royal Enfield motorcycles.
Nobody went hungry… and some just had to take seconds of the food that was cooked by Justin Grennan. Look at the Ascot Park reunion shirt that guy is wearing!
The band P-51 played all evening, and later they were joined by birthday boy Sammy Tanner, who sang a song.
Sammy Tanner (center) is flanked by Sonny Nutter (left) and Skip Van Leeuwen (right). There was no end to the racing stories that they shared.
Stu Egli (left) is intrigued by the story told by Ken Freund (right), former senior editor of Rider.
Racing memorabilia galore was displayed on this table. What a great racing poster, jacket and picture album!
Everyone wished Sammy a “Happy Birthday” on this poster board. And just who is “Hard Hat”…?
Some thought was certainly put into this “race-y” cake.
Sammy blows out the candle on his birthday cake. To the right is his son Jack.
Now it was time to bust a move, as Sammy gets out there and dances with his daughter Lauri.
Seven fast racers from a few different types of racing: (from left to right) Leroy Shaver, Courtney Crone, Sammy Tanner, Sonny Nutter, Richard Cordsen, Rick Goudy and Wally Pankratz.
It appears that everyone present can be seen in this wide-view shot. Over to the right, Sammy Tanner is on the microphone.
Sammy likes this new Triumph.
Courtney Crone joins Sammy, who is her mentor in racing.
Keep watching for Courtney in speedway racing. Right now she is in the 250cc class.
With the number-seven plate, Sammy Tanner is seen in his early racing days at Ascot Park.
[For more from this event, please see “Celebrating Sammy Tanner’s Birthday!” by Howie Zechner… Editor]