Preston Petty Rides a Zero (and Wins)


The story starts like this:

If you’ve been flat trackin’ in southern California over the last two or three years, at Perris or Ventura for example, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve noticed an old man racing a Zero electric motorcycle. And you would notice because: a.) he’s 73 years old and b.) he’s got one of the only electric flat track bikes. You’ve especially probably noticed him if he’s beaten you.

Now, if you’re a young racer, and you came up in, say, the ‘90s or later, you might not recognize that old guy’s name. But if you were riding in the ‘70s, you definitely knew who Preston Petty was. At least, you knew the name, because it was molded into the fenders of almost every dirt bike in America.

…that is, the story from Mark Gardiner on MotorcycleUSA, Backmarker: Breakfast with Preston about Preston Petty.  Yeah, that Preston Petty.  Riding a Zero.  A custom Zero MX Flat Tracker.

We’ll let you read it, but we had to give you something Gardiner didn’t.  Video.

Category: Bikes


6 responses to "Preston Petty Rides a Zero (and Wins)"
  1. David Stone says:

    But are not all old people useless and closed to new ideas?!? 😉

    1. Mark Hovis says:

      I ride with a group of guys 10 years my Jr. The first time that I left them in the dust they asked how that could happen. First, you have to have a proper machine. Second, though reflexes and strength are missing, a healthy dose of “crazy” will give you an edge every time…

      1. David Stone says:

        Exactly, same here.
        I am not old, yet, but old enough that guys 10 years younger are adults.
        They seem amazed that it is possible to stay fit and that all it takes, assuming no sickness, is a decision.
        In this area Clint Eastwood and Willy Nelson are my role models.
        Not many 60 year olds are that fit and they are both over 80.

      2. Ted Dillard says:

        I remember skiing the bumps with this old guy who was kicking my ass. I complimented him on his style, and made some comment about how I was in great shape, but still couldn’t keep up with him.

        His comment was, “…if you have the technique, it doesn’t matter as much what kind of shape you’re in. If you don’t, well, then it doesn’t matter at all.”

        …as he sailed off on the next round of bumps. 😀

  2. kdawg says:

    I like the “whir” sound as he went by, vs. the “fart.. fart.. fart” sound of the other bikes.

  3. Ken_3 says:

    Any idea what size engines the gas bikes were using?