Fullerton, CA — Gene Romero, the 1970 American Motorcycle Association’s Grand National Champion and 1975 Daytona 200 winner, passed away May 12 from complications of COPD. He was 71. Romero honed his racing skills on dirt and scrambles tracks in the Central Valley of California. As an amateur, Romero used his scramble skills to become a top TT Steeplechase Rider. Not surprisingly, Romero’s first pro finish came at the age of 19 at the Castle Rock, Washington TT in July 1966. He adopted the nickname “Burritto” with two Ts instead of the conventional spelling with one T. His first national win was two years later in Lincoln, Neb., riding a Triumph. Romero won 12 AMA Nationals during his 16-year racing career and received AMA’s most popular “Racer Of The Year” Award. He changed the course of professional motorcycle racing when he brought non-motorcycle-oriented sponsors into the sport from outside the industry. At the Daytona 200 in 1970, qualifying used the full oval course rather than the road course. Aboard a 750cc Triumph Triple, Romero ran a scorching lap of 157.3 mph to win the pole, a record that will forever stand since that was the last time the oval was… Read full this story
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