Saddlemen

Skip Van Leeuwen to be Honored at the AFT Final

| 9 August 2017 5:21 pm

AFT American Flat Track Series
Final Round: The Southern California Fair at Perris Auto Speedway

Courtesy of the Southern California Fair
PERRIS, CA, AUG. 8, 2017

Carl Wuersch, CEO of the Southern California Fair, has announced that the American Flat Track Final on October 7, 2017, will honor AMA Hall of Fame racer Skip Van Leeuwen, and the event will be a salute to Ascot Raceway. The race will take place at Perris Auto Speedway during the 104th annual Southern California Fair at the SoCal Fair and Event Center in Perris.

“On behalf of the entire Van Leeuwen family, we are humbled and honored to have this terrific event recognize the memory of the late, legendary Skip Van Leeuwen” said Van Leeuwen’s brother Duane. “Dirt-track racing means the world to all of us, as it did to Skip. He would be very happy and proud to see all the racers, fans and family gathered for this event and carrying on the great American tradition of dirt-track racing, to which our family owes so much. Thank you, Don Henry, and all of you who came together to make this event possible.”

Skip was born in Orange City, Iowa, but the Van Leeuwen family relocated from the Midwest to Los Angeles when the future racer was only 2 years old, and his father took a job working in shipyards after the outbreak of World War II. It was in California that young Skip befriended Dick Hammer, and a Hall of Fame career was born. As a rookie in 1962, he scored a sensational second-place finish to one of his heroes, Dick Dorresteyn, at the Ascot AMA TT National.

Skip Van Leeuwen on the cover of a 1960s Ascot TT program. Courtesy of the Agajanian Family Collection

Skip Van Leeuwen on the cover of a 1960s Ascot TT program. Courtesy of the Agajanian Family Collection

Van Leeuwen succeeded in AMA TT National competition in the 1960s, winning at his home track, Ascot Park in Gardena, California, twice (1967 and 1968), at Castle Rock in Washington in 1968, and at the Houston Astrodome TT, in front of 47,000 fans, in February of 1969.

In addition to his prowess in the National TT competition, Van Leeuwen won numerous races and several West Coast regional championships.

While Van Leeuwen never competed in the full AMA National Series and generally did not ride a lot of half-miles and miles, he did contest some road races. He raced in the Daytona 200 and the Loudon Classic. His best career AMA National Road Race finish came locally, when he took fourth in 1967 in Carlsbad, California.

Once Van Leeuwen hung up his skid shoe in 1972, he concentrated solely on his business. Over the years, Van Leeuwen Enterprises became one of the largest motorcycle-accessory companies in the world.

“This event is being held to celebrate the life of Skip Van Leeuwen and his home track, Ascot Raceway,” said Don Henry, director of sports marketing for the Southern California Fair. “Skip was one of the greatest personalities in AMA Pro history. He was the ‘Flying Dutchman,’ and he was the most amazing TT rider of the era, and Ascot was the greatest TT track. I met Skip when I was working with the Agajanian family at Ascot. He was an inspiration and a role model. He was one of the friendliest guys in the pits, and proved that with hard work and determination, you can accomplish anything.”

This race will be the closest fans can come to witnessing a National Championship motorcycle race at Ascot since the legendary Gardena half-mile circuit closed in 1990. On race day, gates at the track modeled after Ascot will open at 11 a.m., and open practice will begin around 1 p.m. Qualifying will be at 5, and the first race will roll off the line at 7.

AFT Finals Logo 590 0002

Tickets for the race, which will feature the best flat-track racers from across North America and which could well decide the AFT 2017 championships, are on sale now. Ascot-throwback ticket prices are only $20 for reserved seats and come with a free ticket to the Southern California Fair. Fans are urged to purchase reserved seats as soon as possible, as they will sell out! There will be plenty of general admission tickets available for everyone in advance and on race day. General admission tickets are just $5 and require the purchase of a $10 fair admission. Fans can order tickets for the historic race 24 hours a day at http://bit.ly/2sVZ2Zg.

Another popular acknowledgment to Ascot is that fans who ride a motorcycle to the race will receive free parking on the fairgrounds.

American Flat Track
The American Flat Track Series, which matches the top flat-track racers against one another on oval and TT tracks, opened the campaign at Daytona International Speedway in March and will feature races in 13 different states in 2017. Fans can get a sneak peek at the exciting action they will see in October at the fair by watching previous rounds on NBSCN.

Before and after the race, fans will be able to enjoy a day and night at the Southern California Fair, including carnival rides, great fair food, livestock, midway games, music, displays, and more!

To keep up with the daily happenings of the SoCal Fair and Event Center and the AFT, fans can use the following social media links…

Website: http://www.socalfair.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/socalfair/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/socalfair

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/socal_fair/

To keep up with the American Flat Track Series…

Website: http://www.americanflattrack.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmericanFlatTrack/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmericanFlatTrk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/americanflattrack/

The Southern California Fair is located at 18700 Lake Perris Drive in Perris, California 92571.

For further information, contact the So Cal Fair at 951/657-4221 or info@socalfair.com.

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Category: Announcements, Flat Track, National, Riders, Riders All

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