Dick Hammer

1939 - 2003
 

By David Swarts

Former racer Dick Hammer died from cancer Thursday, January 16 at his home in San Clemente, California.
He was 64.

Hammer started his racing career on the dirt tracks of Southern California before turning Pro in 1961.
In 1962, Hammer won his one and only Grand National dirt track event, taking the TT race win at Peoria
on a Harley-Davidson. Hammer also road raced and won the International Lightweight 100K on an
Aermacchi/Harley-Davidson in 1963 and 1964.

Most fans, however, will remember Hammer for the 1967 Daytona 200. In that race, Hammer was battling for
the lead with his factory Triumph teammate Gary Nixon when a crew member's rag got sucked into one
of his carburetors during a pit stop. Hammer was able to pull the rag free and put his head down to make
up time to Nixon. In his charge, Hammer fell, breaking his collarbone, but Hammer picked his Triumph
back up and continued to finish seventh in the race. Hammer retired from professional racing in 1972
and was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.
Copyright 2003, RoadracingWorldPublishingInc.
 

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Former National # 16 and hall of famer Dick Hammer passed away after a long courageous battle with Cancer.
Hammer was a Well Known Califoria Racer who gained fame in the early 60's. He was an accomplished
DT, TT and Roadracer. He won the 1963 Daytona 100 on a 250 HD Sprint when 4 strokes were still winning
Roadraces before the 2-stroke on slaught. Dick grew up with fellow Californian Skip Vanleewen and
both went on to very successful Racing Careers as well as staying close Friends. He will be Missed by Many....
GOD SPEED RICHARD HAMMER

Steve Matz
 

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Dick was a racers racer. He had that "never quit" attitude, and was a prince of a guy.
Even in the bad times, he kept a positive attitude all through his battle with cancer...and was
at his best when he interviewed the people going into the Trailblazers Hall of Fame last year at their
annual banquet. For those of us who knew him and raced against him...he will never be forgotten.
God Speed, "Hammerdick". We'll miss you.

Digger
 
 
 
 

 AMA Hall of Fame Member Dick Hammer
 
 
 
 


From the Hilltoppers MC Club site
Dick Hammer #139 and Jim Goldsmith #216 at Prado Dam or DeAnza 1959
 
 

Hi Dennis....The photo of Dick Hammer and Jim Goldsmith In the Dick Hammer
memorial section was taken at De Anza Park in Riverside Ca....
I have a copy of the shot.. I was there... #80... On a Triumph, I think......
I enjoy your website...Danny O'Reilly #80... Carlsbad, Ca.

I received the the above information via email May 23, 2003   Dennis VFT
 
 

Worked with Dick at Bellflower Triumph back in the 70s. dick was a great guy.

 Last time I saw Dick was at Del Mar and after talking to him he just lived about 5 miles away from me for years and I never new it. 

He hat just had surgery and his head was still wrapped with bandages .  Dick was a great guy.---Steve Bennett

Added September 21, 2014

From the Parts Mag Site - Del Mar 2000

In the VIP Lounge, emcee Don Emde (left) with Skip Van Leeuwen
explain to the audience details of the new Dick Hammer Perpetual Trophy,
an award conceived and sponsored by Van Leeuwen, K&N and Jim Fueling
Products. Also seen is K&N's Tom Cates, Jim Fueling and, on the right,
Dick Hammer, for who the award is named. Starting next year, an American
motorcycle racer will be the recipient of the award, based on
demonstrating values carried by Hammer in his racing days, such as
Desire, Determination and Dedication.

TRAILBLAZERS BANQUET
58th Annual - February 23, 2002

Don Emde, Joe Leonard, Dick Hammer and Bob Bagnall
 
 


 

West Coast Flat Track Series

Perris Auto Speedway, Perris, CA

June 29th, 2002

Trailblazers Lap of Legends


 
 
 
 


 #64R  Jody Nicolas  -   #16  Dick Hammer  -  #59  Skip Van Leewuen
Man in white shirt talking to Dick Hammer is Danny Macias
He was race manager Triumph/Built Racing Bikes for Van Leewuen and Hammer
 
 

#20x Don Vesco  -  Sidecar  Art Aragon  -  #15 Pieplate  Ralph White
 
 
 

Perris Raceway - June 6, 1998

Chuck Palmgren - Dick Hammer - Shorty Seaborne
 
 
 

Del  Mar Short Track
October 5, 2002


 
 
 
 


Hammer won his one and only Grand National dirt track event,
taking the 1962 TT race win at Peoria on a Harley-Davidson
 
     



 
 

Dick won the 1963 Daytona 100 on a 250 HD Sprint
 

 
 
Dick Hammer - Neil Keen - Al Gunner


Here is what Larry Beall had to say about that group...cool insight from a guy who raced with these guys.
Ed - cfp@ntws.net

THERE'S NEVER BEEN ANOTHER GENERATION SINCE THE LATE 50'S EARLY 60'S GENERATION THAT COULD RIDE LIKE THAT GROUP.    GUNTER WAS A GENIUS AND WON HIS RACES WITH EQUIPMENT.   KEEN WAS FAST WITH A LITTLE MORE BALLS THAN GUNTER BUT ALSO  WAS A THINKER AND TINKERER WITH BUILDING AND MODIFYING BIKES.   HAMMER DICK WAS A DUMMY IN THE SHOP  BUT HAD MORE BALLS THAN ALMOST ALL THE OTHERS.   TALENT WISE DICK DORENSTIEN AND NORM STOVALL WERE THE MOST BLESSED.  MY COUSIN, JOHNNY MUCKENTHAULER DIDN'T RIDE AS MUCH AS THE ABOVE GROUP BUT COULD RUN WITH THEM ANYTIME.  THINK ABOUT ALL THE OTHERS OF THE ERA  MANN, LEONARD, MARKEL, RESWEBER, ROEDER, RALL, STOVALL, SCHULTZ, VANLUWEEN, RAYBORN, NIX, TANNER  AND MANY MORE.   NO PUSSYS IN THAT BUNCH.     THE ONE WITH THE MOST "MOUTH TALENT" AND THE LEAST RACER OF THE ERA BUT WENT FURTHER THAN MOST WAS NIXON.    REALLY HE WAS A PUSSY BUT HE WAS THE FIRST TO ADMIT IT TO THE REST OF US JUST NOT TO THE PUBLIC.  THERE WERE LOTS OF  SPECIALITY RIDERS THAT WON RACES BUT THEY USUALLY HAD SHORT WINNING STREAKS OR BOUGHT THEIR WINS WITH MONEY IN THE EQUIPMENT THEY WERE RIDING.  THE ONES LISTED ABOVE WERE THE GRASS ROOTS OF RACING THAT MADE THEIR OWN WAY TO THE TOP WITH MINIMAL HELP ALONG THE WAY.   MOST  BEGGED FOR SPARK PLUGS AND SOME EVEN USED THE USED DRAINED OIL FROM SHOPS ALONG THE WAY IN ORDER TO HAVE MONEY TO EAT.    SAM SATTERLY CHANGED RACERS TIRES IN THE PITS FOR SMALL CHANGE IN ORDER TO GET BY.  YOUR BEST FRIEND WAS ALWAYS CHANGING,  DEPENDING WHO WON THE MAIN LAST NIGHT AND WOULD SPRING FOR THE GOLDEN ARCHES 15 CENT HAMBURGERS TODAY.     SOME TOOK DIET PILLS THINKING THEY COULD GO FASTER BUT SOME TOOK THEM JUST TO GET RID OF THE HUNGER PAINS IN ORDER TO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY A NEW REAR TIRE.   EVERYBODY'S WARDROBE WAS THE SAME, GIVE-A-WAY TEE SHIRTS FROM THE DEALERS AND SHOPS ALONG THE WAY AND DIRTY LEVIS.  I REMEMBER USING 5 CENTAVOS MEXICAN COINS THAT YOU COULD GET 250 OF THEM FOR $1.00 JUST ACROSS THE BORDER AND $20.00 WOULD GET YOU 5000 OF THEM.  I HAD A GALVANIZED 5 GAL. WATER CAN THAT I COULD HALF FILL WITH THESE COINS FOR $20.00.   THEY WORKED PERFECT IN COKE AND SANDWICH MACHINES AS A DIME.   SO EVERYTIME WE PASSED A HOSPITAL I'D CLEAN OUT THE MACHINES OF SANDWICHES AND COKES AND PATATOE CHIPS AND CANDY BARS  THEN,  I'D EAT AND SELL THEM 1/2 PRICE TO THE OTHER RACERS AT THE RACE TRACK.  I ALWAYS HAD THE CHEAPEST CONCESSIONS AT THE TRACK.   ALWAYS HAD GAS MONEY TOO.      LARRY
 

 
 

 
 

   Front Row Left.....Eddie Mulder, Dick Hammer, Skip Van Leeuwen

  Back Row.......Ralph White, Eddie Wirth
 
 
 
 

The following two photos are from 'American Racer' by Stephen Wright

Dick retired with mechanicals in the 1963 Daytona 200. Bike at right is his 250cc class winner.
 
 
 

1963 Ascot TT

Left to right; AMA Official Lin Kuchler, 1st place George Roeder, Mrs Glenn Anderson, J.C.Agajanian,
2nd place Sammy Tanner, C.R.Axtell, 3rd place Dick Hammer and Jerry Branch
 
 
 
 

1967 Daytona

Triumph teammates Dick Hammer and Gary Nixon lead for the first twenty plus laps.
On Dicks gas stop a rag was sucked into one of the carbs and he dropped  back until
he was able to remove it. Trying to catch up, he lost the front end in turn one,
and dropped the bike. He remounted and finished 7th with a broken collar bone.
 

Below is a web site with a report on the 1967 Daytona race.
unfortunately it is in language the neither google or bablefish on translate.
http://www.angelfire.com/weird/classicracing/Motorcyklarna/Per/daytona67.htm
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 

If you would like to add a memory to this page, please send it to dennis@vft.org