The 2020 recipient of the J. C. Agajanian Award, given in recognition of contributions to Colorado Motorsports made by an organization, is the Vintage Drag Racing Association. The VDRA is a group of men and women who have preserved the early days of drag racing by competing in vintage looking and original drag cars from the 1950’s through the 1960’s. The club started in 1991 by five racing enthusiasts who were interested inhigh performance Flat Head Ford engine powered vehicles, and has grown to include vintage drag racing cars competing in multiple racing classes. The VDRA conducts ten to fifteen Nostalgia Drag Racing events at Colorado Drag Strips each summer.
The Vickery family is this year’s recipient of the J.C. Agajanian Award, which is given in recognition of contributions to Colorado motorsports by a group or organization. Several family generations of the Vickery Racing Team have been involved in participating, promoting, and advancing motorcycle racing for over five decades, winning over 130 class championships in Motocross, Flat Track, Supercross, Road
Racing, and Enduro competition.
The legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest race held in the United States, and has been promoting and preserving this legacy since 1916.
Since the inaugural race sponsored by Spencer Penrose, competitors have matched their machines against the challenges of the 12.42-mile, 156 turn course. Elite drivers and motorcycle riders travel to Pikes Peak from around the globe for this annual event. Racers begin their ascent at 9,390 feet and cross the Finish Line at the summit of Pikes Peak – “America’s Mountain” at 14,115 feet. A rigorous selection process now limits the field to 100 entries.
The course has changed from an all-gravel road to a totally paved surface,and as technology has surpassed anything imaginable in 1916, competitors have set record after record. As the years have passed, the lure of the mountain to racers and race fans has not diminished.
The Denver Roadster Club was formed in 1965, started by 5 guys building and fixing their roadsters, and then going for ice cream. The five original members were Vern Holmes, Frank Liston, Gary McClellan, Jack Richards, and Jack Stamper, and today two of the five are still alive and active in the club. In 2012, founding member Jack Richards was posthumously inducted into Colorado Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Roadster club members have some of the finest modern and original hot rods from the 30’s 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. These cars cover the entire hot rod experience: stock, slightly and highly modified, drag and dry lake racing capable and nostalgic restoration and recreation of early roadsters. Roadsters are defined without roll-up side windows and must have a roadster cowl. The Denver Roadster club is dedicated to the preservation of open street roadsters, which are the foundation of hot rodding, and to promote safety and good fellowship. The club membership now includes 39 members. In September 2015, the club celebrated its fiftieth anniversary as a continuous Denver-area car club with a big picnic and more ice cream! Looking forward, the club intends to enjoy, promote and preserve roadsters and street rodding for future generations.
CAMA is the entity created in 2003 by a group of five amateur clubs including Motorcycle Roadracing Association (MRA), Porsche Club of America, Rocky Mtn. Region (PCA-RMR), Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing (RMVR), the Colorado Region of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), and the Multi-Car Club Alliance (MCCA). The Multi-Car Club Alliance is a collective of eight other car clubs, specifically: the Alfa Romeo Club of Colorado; Audi Club; BMWCCA, Rocky Mountain Chapter; Colorado Exotic Car Association (CECA); Lotus Colorado; Mercedes Benz Club of America, Mile-High Section; Viper Club, Colorado Region; and the Z-Car Club of Colorado.
Each of the five clubs designate a working representative to CAMA. These representatives keep their respective club Boards informed about all CAMA decisions and provide guidance from their respective Boards to CAMA.
The board selected theEnglewood Racing Association as the recipient of the 2014 JC Agajanian Award, honoring outstanding contribution to motorsports by an organization.
The Englewood Racing Association was formed in the early 1960’s to promote racing at Englewood Speedway. Englewood Speedway closed in 1979, but the Supermodifieds keep the tradition going and still race under the ERA banner.
Past champions of the ERA include the likes of Joe Lehman, Sammy Sauer, Wayne Stallsworth, Tom Frantz, Jim Opperman, Dave Crocker, Dave LaGuardia, Harold Evans, Tony Spano, Frank Denning, Joe Priselac, Rich Castor, Jr., and Johnny Pickard
In 2014, the ERA will compete seven times.
The board selected the Motorcycle Roadracing Association as the recipient of the 2013 JC Agajanian Award, honoring outstanding contribution to motorsports by an organization.
Founded in 1973, the Rocky Mountain Roadracing Association (now known as the Motorcycle Roadracing Association, or MRA) held its inaugural race at Aspen’s famed “Woody Creek Raceway” in 1974, and crowned their first ever Race of the Rockies Series Champion, Woody Witte, in the Fall of that year.
2013 marks the 40th anniversary of motorcycle roadracing competition in Colorado, and the MRA continues on in the tradition with full paddocks and large race grids producing amazing racing in every race category and classification.
The MRA has produced many National and International level professional motorcycle road racers over the years, and is the home club of Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees
Bruce Sass (2005) and Donnie Hough (2012). Other notables include Daytona all-time mileage leader Ricky Orlando, World Superbike Wildcard and Electric Bike Test Pilot Shane Turpin, Bill and Doug Vickery of Vickery Motorsports, former AMA 250 GP rider Danny Walker, former AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year Dan Tuner, Yamaha Champions Riders School instructor Mark Schellinger, and multi-discipline racer and champion Mike Pettiford.
Outside of Colorado, the MRA has organized races at Motorsports Park Hastings in Hastings, Neb., and Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. In years past they also raced at La Junta Raceway, Stapleton Motorsports Park, Steamboat Springs Street Course, Woody Creek Raceway, Second Creek Raceway, Mountain View Motorsports Park, Adams County Fairground, and Continental Divide Raceway.
Present-day MRA is a 501 (c) 7 non-profit organization which is one of the five clubs which own and operate High Plains Raceway in Byers, Colorado. The MRA holds seven race events and a racing school every year spread among the following facilities: High Plains Raceway, Pikes Peak International Raceway and Pueblo Motorsports Park. They have over 300 competition members, and routinely draw 1000+ participants and spectators to each of their racing events throughout the season.
The board selected the NHRA West Central Division as the recipient of the 2012 JC Agajanian Award, honoring outstanding contribution to motorsports by an organization. Wally Parks founded the National Hot Rod Association in 1951 to get racing off the city streets and highways and into safer, organized venues. He wanted NHRA to provide guidance to timing clubs and tracks across the country. Soon, NHRA was hosting national events, as tuning cars became a hobby rather than just a necessity. As more dragstrips started popping up around the country, a need grew for regional NHRA offices and personnel. The country is divided into seven NHRA Divisions including the NHRA West Central “High and Mighty” consisting of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Manitoba, Canada.
Dick Scritchfiled was the first regional director in 1952 before Colorado resident Darrel Zimmerman became the West Central Division Director, where he served for several decades along with his wife Polly. Zimmerman was instrumental in the development of the West Central Division and the tracks it encompassed. Upon retiring, Zimmerman was followed by Charlie Harmon, and the current Division Director, Rob Park, both of which grew up in the sport of NHRA Drag Racing.
There are currently 20 NHRA Member Tracks in the West Central Division. Julesburg Drag Strip, Julesburg, Colo., opened in 1958 as one of the first West Central Division Drag Strips and is the oldest drag strip in the country still in its original location. The facility, located on the Julesburg Airport, celebrated its 50th Anniversary back in 2008. Bandimere Speedway, owned and operated by the Bandimere Family, in Morrison, Colo., also celebrated their 50th season in 2008. The facility was established by John Bandimere Sr. in 1958.
Pueblo Motorsports Park and Western Colorado Dragway round out the four NHRA Member tracks in Colorado as Pueblo opened its doors in 1973 and is currently operated by the City of Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department. Western Colorado Dragway is located in Grand Junction, Colo., with Doug & Teri Styers overseeing the day to day operations.
S.R.C.A. Dragstrip in Great Bend, Kan., was the site of the first NHRA national event in 1955 where Calvin Rice became the first NHRA National event champion. The facility is still in operation today and hosts a round of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
In 2001, the West Central Division established the Talyor-Vertex High & Mighty Hall of Fames with Darrel and Polly Zimmerman being the first inductees. Other Hall of Fame members include perennial racers Vern Moats and Tom Hoover, track operators John Bandimere Sr., and R.C. Williams; as well as John Wiebe and Mike Troxel.
The West Central Division hosts a number of programs and racing series including three stops on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, the division’s NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, the Summit Racing series and the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League for kids ages 8-17 years old.
The Colorado 500 Invitational Charity Dirt Bike Ride idea formulated in 1974 when Wally Dallenbach, a former Indy 500 racecar driver, and Sherm Cooper rode their dirt bikes along off-road trails visiting the old gold-and silver-mining era ghost towns in the Colorado Rockies. They had such a memorable time they decided to return and invite some friends, Lon Bromley, Del Garner, Ed Kretz, Art Lamey, Dick Singer, and Al and Bobby Unser along for the ride and decided to make it an Annual Invite only Dirt Bike Ride, and called it the Colorado 500 because they covered nearly 500 miles the first time out and also because of Wally’s racing history with the Indianapolis 500 and California 500.
Over the years the event has grown tremendously and hosted close to 3,000 riders. A very diverse group – judges, lawyers, racecar drivers, motorcycle racers, retailers, ministers, bankers, actors, wholesalers, and so on, have all shown up from every state in the U.S. and also other countries like Australia, England, Germany and Japan.
The Colorado Road Bike Ride was established in 1987. The idea was to transfer the fun and excitement you experience riding the Rockies to motorcyclists who enjoy riding the beautiful Colorado mountain roads.
Not only have these rides been a source of tremendous fun for the participants, the events have raised considerable funds for charity. In 1981, the Colorado 500 Charity Fund was established to give something back to the people in the mountain towns and communities they traveled through.
Most of the funds are dispersed to schools but they also benefit teen services, churches, medical centers, emergency rescue services, scouting and anti-drug programs. In 1993, the Colorado 500 started a Scholarship Fund which has grown as well, and is now currently awarding approx. $50,000 annually divided amongst several qualified local high school students with four-year scholarships. The students are not necessarily chosen for their academics; it’s also based upon their needs and their potential “to make a difference.”
Colorado towns and communities across the state have welcomed Colorado 500 riders who enjoyed the hospitality and have established life time friends in Colorado. Wally Dallenbach has been awarded ‘keys’ the cities along with several awards and honors on behalf of the Colorado 500 riders. Wally was also inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame in 2006 for his tremendous contribution to the sport of off road motorcycling.
All-in-all, Colorado 500 has donated close to $2,000,000.00 to needy organizations and scholarship awards throughout the state, as well as supporting keeping trails open, including grants and off-road trail work.
Colorado 500 is also known as being forefront in implementing sound control as part of tech inspection in order to qualify to ride the dirt event, as well as the highest degree of trail etiquette expectations for all involved. One forest ranger remarked, ‘I know it is a Colorado 500 rider because I see them before I can hear the motorcycle.’
The Colorado 500 is regarded by many as one of the premier motorcycle events in the world making it a must do to complete their motorcycling experience.
The board selected the Bandimere family as the recipient of the 2010 JC Agajanian Award, honoring outstanding contribution to motorsports by an organization.