blank 12/30/13 01:17PM AMA, Motorcycle Club

AMA Club Profile: Peoria Motorcycle Club


Peoria Illinois Motorcycle Club PMC

By Kevin Brashear, AMA Club Member

The Peoria (Ill.) Motorcycle Club (PMC)—best known for running the famed Peoria TT Grand National, which is part of the AMA Pro Racing Flat Track Championship—is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year as an AMA-chartered club.

The club received charter No. 34 in 1931. Today, it holds the eighth oldest continuously held charter in the AMA. The PMC was named the AMA’s “Most Outstanding Club in the Nation” three times.

Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bruce Walters was instrumental in the foundation and continued success of the PMC. Walters is considered the father of the famous and prestigious Peoria TT. Today, current Club Race Director Bert Sanders is the glue that holds it all together.

Along with his brother, Bob, Bruce Walters owned a Harley-Davidson dealership in Peoria. In 1931, Bruce, although not himself a charter member, helped form the Peoria Motorcycle Club.

Walters Brothers Harley-Davidson continues to operate today under the direction of Bruce’s protégé, and current club member, Wayne Wiebler.

Wayne won the 1959 AMA National Amateur title and is the only Peorian or club member to win an individual racing title.

The Peoria TT race, which began in the 1930s, has become one of the classic motorcycle races in America. In 1940, the club purchased an 80-acre tract of land south of Peoria to serve as their club grounds.

“Just looking at the land, I could visualize its potential,” Bruce Walters said in a 1978 magazine interview. “It was just a valley full of willow trees then, but I could see that if we cleared the trees we’d have a natural amphitheater with a race track for a stage!”

There are no grandstands or seats at the club’s track. Just bring your family, your picnic basket, a blanket and enjoy one of the most intimate venues in racing. 

In 1947, the Peoria TT was issued a national sanction by the AMA. Alabama racer Herman Dahlke won the National in the premier 80-cubic-inch category that year to become the event’s first winner.

Since then, Motorcycle Hall of Famers Dick Mann, Joe Leonard, Scott Parker, Bubba Shobert, Jay Springsteen and Ricky Graham have all raced there.

Current club member Larry Williamson won an amateur title there and is still a local hero. This year he was awarded his PMC 50-year jacket. So was Bill Whitby.

Duane Buchanan is the only member to win a Pro National on his home field.

The club has worked tirelessly to promote the AMA annual TT and the event has grown into one of the premier races on the annual AMA racing calendar. It now hosts more than 15,000 fans and is the largest annual one-day sporting event in the county.

In the 62nd annual running of the famed TT, held Aug. 22, 2010, Henry Wiles earned his sixth consecutive Peoria TT National win.

He is chasing Hall of Famer and Peoria legend Chris Carr’s eight consecutive wins. The two winning streaks were interrupted only by former AMA Superbike and MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden.

Many great AMA “firsts” have happened at the Peoria TT.

For example, in 1951 Triumph earned its first dirt-track National victory when Jimmy Phillips won the race. Hall of Famer “King” Kenny Roberts took the win in 1974 to become the second rider to complete a “Grand Slam,” which involves winning a national in the Mile, half mile, short track, TT and road race.

The Peoria Motorcycle Club continues today with its original mission to promote motorcycling, family, friends and a commitment to the community.

Besides the obvious interest in motorcycling and promoting the Peoria TT, the club is heavily involved in numerous local interests, including the Lion’s Club and Boy Scouts.

The club would like to pay special homage to two brothers lost in 2010—Kenny Adcock, who served 62 years as a club member; and Chris Tucker, beloved by all and personally responsible for Toys for Tots in central Illinois.

  

About the American Motorcyclist Association

Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world's largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists' interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through its support of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.
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