May 14, 1934 - January 25, 2014
Keen, of Wentzville, Missouri, died on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at
the age of 79. Neil is a retired Professional Motorcycle Racer. He is
survived by his loving wife of 28 years, Kim Keen; beloved son of late
Clifton and Nell Keen; devoted father of Helen Keen, Stephen (Teanna)
Maddox, and Vyla (nee: Keen) Brooks; cherished grandfather of Elijah
and Jenna Maddox and Wendy (nee: Andreson) Gonzalez; treasured
son-in-law of Carl and Kathy Donelson; and dear brother-in-law of
Debbie (Harry) Willey. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the
Siteman Cancer Center.
Excerpts from the Flat Track Forum
is with deep sadness to inform the flattrack community that Neil passed
away this morning, between 8:30- 9:00 a.m. Due to complications
with heart and pneumonia. God Bless Neil.
Sir and thank you for everything you've done.
person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are
still alive in our hearts and minds, through us, they live on. Please
accept our condolences, Neil you will not be forgotten.
Goodpeed Bill & June Sparks Mendota, IL
A great man, spent a rainy afternoon at Weedsport "Days of Glory" talking Gold Stars with Mr Keen. Changed my life!
Hugh Mackie, Sixth Street Racing.
sad news. Neil was a special dude, and I'm thankful I could call him a
friend. I remember the first time I ran into him and a 17 year old (or
so) kid named Dennis. Everyone thought the kid was just there to help
load and unload the bike. Little did they know that the kid was the
tuner...right Mr. Mahan? What a run they had while together. I got to
visit with Neil at the Trailblazers Hall of Fame dinner in Carson, CA.
He gave us a wave as he left the parking lot of the hotel. When he was
at the track, you knew that if you were going to do anything at
all...Neil was one of the riders you had to deal with. GODSPEED #10.
You will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Kim and the
I'm not even sure how to reply. We lost an icon for sure. My
condolences to family and friends. Neil Helped me understand how things
worked back in the day and not to just copy everybody else. Thanks
It was a sad moment when Carl had to announce it today at Neil's party.
have lost a great member of the flat track family. My sincere and
heartfelt condolences to Kim and the Keen clan. Neil was not only a
champion racer but a fearless spokes person for all riders. He fully
supported vintage racing and openly shared his skills and wisdom with
all riders. As has been already said, "gone but never forgotten".
R.I.P. Neil Keen.
didn't know Neil well. I only talked to him on the phone a few times
but he actually gave me a great piece of advice once when I posed a
problem to him. He said, "do whatever Gary Nixon tells you to do". I
took it to heart and always did. Todays is Gary's birthday and I
believe they are celebrating together.
My Sincere Condolences to the Family and Friends.
We've Lost One Of The GREAT ONES.
REST IN PEACE NEIL KEEN, NUMBER 10.
Gone But Not Forgotten.
has been a sad day at the party. RIP Neil Keen!
there was a listing in every single encyclopedia throughout the whole
entire world describing what a real "Born in the USA Dirt Track Racer"
There should & would be a picture there of Neal Keen AND a complete description of Neil Keen's life there as well.
is no one ,(that I know of), that exemplifies what a real motorcycle
Dirt Track Racer really is more than Neal Keen. He did it all, lived to
tell about it, got married, had a family & lived a very full life.
Figuratively speaking Neal has "been around the Dirt Track World twice & walked it once".
He has done it ALL & helped others in whatever way he could while doing it.
My sincere and heartfelt condolences to Kim and the entire Keen family.
Mia & Chew's pic & words above says it all.
Godspeed Neal Keen........
Another great rider has finished his race with father time here on this earth.
is a link to an album on my Facebook page with pictures of Neil's
birthday parties for the last four years. You don't have to be a member
of Facebook to use the link, just click on it. It is Neil's friends and
memorabilia. Please leave comments if you like. www.facebook.com/tinkerertoo/media_set?s...97.1070861813&type=3
So sorry to hear this... Godspeed, Neil.
Chew and family
especially like the story or how the "non-regulation" #10 plates came
about. Neil Keen will live on forever through his contribution to the
October 1969 Cycle World ran article/interview with Neil with text by
Dan Hunt. I read the article so many years ago and acquired another
copy to replace the one "of many" magazines I did not save. I
anticipated having Neil autograph my new acquisition on Saturday. My
disapointment in hearing Carl gives us in attendance the news was
shared by all in attendance. God bless Kim, Kathy, Carl and the entire
sad to hear about Neils passing, To me a racing and British bike
enthusiast he was a true inspiration and living in Sweden it was so
great that he would help out with knowledge in the restoration of our
BSA gold star flat track racer. Neil also donated several items to our
BritBike Museum. Neil most kindly said ok to use his famous pose on a
shirt we made about 6 years ago. At the time of his passing I was
awaiting answer about a rear wheel set up Neil and others used in the
50's-60's. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends from
across the pond. here is the image we used for the shirt.
was at the party when Carl told us all about Neil's passing. I talked
to Carl later and could not find the words to express myself, I still
can't. Neil is a legend and Legends never die, he will live forever in
the hearts and minds of men. Rest in peace My Friend!
Jim Henry # 90n
said Jim. Godspeed, Neil- My friend.
know there are hundreds of upcoming racers that Neil Keen helped during
his lifetime. I am proud to say that I was one of them, and I would
like to share with you a story that illustrates how much of an impact
he had on my career. Neil was an icon of Flat Track Racing to so many
folks in our sport, and he was a true friend and mentor to me. Early in
my career, I was forced to recover from injuries that left me laid off
for a year. No one would have anything to do with me. They considered
me washed up. I’ll never forget meeting up with Neil in Decatur,
Illinois, with my TT bike--and not much else--in the back of my El
Camino, to race a TT and then head right back home to California. Neil
offered me a ride on his spare Yamaha Short Tracker to race Granite
City Tuesday nights and Santa Fe Speedway on Wednesday nights for the
rest of that summer. His kind gesture helped me regain my skills in
racing and a positive mental attitude. I owe a lot to Neil for taking
me under his wing and helping me when I needed it the most as well as
his continued guidance from that point onward. My heart and prayers go
out to Kim and Neil's family. Rest In Peace Neil,
all of you that were friends with Neil and raced with him we that were
neither missed a great experience and for that we share your pain for
this loss.Prayers to friends and family.
First met Neil Keen # 22x at Norton Ks in 1957. The weather that day
(kansas style ) was 98 degrees at 10:am at the Riders Meeting. I was
sent out there to help SAMMY TANNER # 59 who was riding out of the BSA
SHOP HERE IN Kansas City , Ks ..Ray Hendrshot OWNER. During the early
ridrs meeting our AMA REF: Dick Gardner said " Be sure to Drink a lot
of water today riders, as I have a rider already with HEAT STROKE
PROBLEMS, does anybody know how to help him ? I said that I knew how to
help him where is he?
While walking over to the place the down
rider was located , I told Ref. Gardner that this was going to be a
long process and I will need to get my hands on all the ICE I can find
. Dick took me over to the Infield Concession Stand and told the LADYS
WORKING THERE..GIVE THIS GUY ALL THE ICE HE ASK FOR ALL DAY.
then walked over to this canvas covered area was on the Infield, where
the sick rider was laying . At that time I noticed a BSA GOLDSTAR # 22x
setting alongside the entry to the sick riders Canvas covered area was
located. I only knew he was from CALIF. because of the x on HIS NUMBER
PLATE. Ducking under the OPENING to ENTER my first view of the rider
was " Oh My, one sick fellow here for sure. His eyes half rolled back
in his head etc. I ask what is your name and he said "Just call me
PEACHES". Well I got Lucky and found a Bucket to put the ICE IN and
started many, many trips to the Concession stand for more ICE. ICE does
not last long outside at 90 plus degrees. I cut up a TEE SHIRT TO HOLD
THE ICE and the process began to get this guy "PEACHES " FEELING
BETTER. Now a few hours had passed and "PEACHES' ask what my name was ,
so I said George but just call me the "INDIAN". PEACHES knew and liked
INDIAN'S I came to find out from him later in life. Well now its
getting MED -DAY and CALIF. RACE RIDERS Dick Mann, George Everett &
other Calif. Comp Riders were coming by to check out how "Peaches" was
doing. Ahhh, The Race Track ANNOUNCER JUST SAID ON THE "P-A System "
TIME FOR THE FINAL RACE OF THE DAY" It at that time when Peaches said
the words that I had been waiting to hear all day,when he said "INDIAN
I'AM FELLING A LOT BETTER NOW" ! NEIL KEEN during my racing days ,
would always make a point to walk over in the pits and see if I needed
So I think the Bestway for me to close MY MANY NEIL
KEEN#10 MEMORIES WITH THE WORDS OF THE SONG BY GARTH BROOKS "THE
DANCE"... I COULD HAVE MISSD THE PAIN..BUT I WOULD HAVE MISSED THE
DANCE! R.I. P NEIL KEEN # 10
George " Indian " Holter # 60k
So sorry to hear about the passing of my friend Neil Keen. My thoughts are with Helen and Kim
the saddest news I have had to cope with for a very long time; Myself
and my wife Dorothy first met Neil back in 1978, when our oldest son
Kelly was a 1st year novice. The the next year our son Shaun was a
novice and we would stop by Neil's and camp in his backyard. For the
next several years when we were back east, we would stop at Neil's. To
say he was a friend can not start to convey how our whole family felt
about him. I remember one year, He and my wife and myself rebuilt both
our XR750 motors in his back yard. Neil was probably the most helpful
person our family had ever met. We also often would travel to Garage
sales around the ST Louis area while we were there. I even found him a
few Samiri Swords (spelling)? I was just getting ready to call him
about his birthday party when I heard the sad news. I am so sorry for
his friends and family. He will always be in our hearts and minds. We
could have not raced flat track with out his help since 1978.
The Larkin Family
was at ascot in the grandstands the night Peach won the National. He
became one of my heroes. We became friends a few years later when I
started my professional career. He was always one of those guys that if
you had any sense at all you looked up to him. Lots of giggles and
laughs. Now he's at peace with the other racers in the sky with no
dust. Godspeed Peach. Thanks for all your good advice and friendship.
It was great!
I don't know if I can do this justice,
but I'll try as best I can to detail
...yesterday...as a guest :) :(
I purposely just hit the Happy-Sad Smiley Faces
as a good place to begin this thread!
Brenda & I walked in the back door with a bunch of Astro parts to
deliver to Trevor & Brian so our Astro assembly line continued to flow &
I was immediately noticing & thinking to myself...
"something is different?"
Trevor shuffles me back out the door & says..."Neil Just Died!"
(Now... I'm on the same page with the other 100 plus people in the room):unsure: :huh: :blink:
I can't begin to describe the disorienting sense of...
"What Do You Do & What Do You Say...
What Can You Say?...it's Neil's Birthday Party?" :pinch:
I won't pretend to speak for everyone in attendance,
but I can certainly describe observations of a
somber reality truly reflecting...
Who Neil Keen Was,
Who His Friends & Loves Were &
What His & Our Lives Are
Essentially All About!
(Regardless of circumstance)
The "Gathering" continued &
remained a "Celebration Of Neil's Life" &
in a grander sense...
A Celebration Of All Our Lives
very much under the guidance of &
at the insistence of &
the example set by...
The Entire Donelson Family!
Carl, Kathy, Kim & Debbie are truly
(((Spectacular People))) !!!!!!
With the greatest respect, admiration & condolences
Art, Brenda, Artie & Annie Randall
1961 Ascot Half-Mile Keen Wins from the Back at Ascot
GNC Round #6 of 12 Date: July 22, 1961 Type: Half Mile Venue: Ascot Park, Gardena, Ca
Purse: $3750 Surface: Dirt Course Length: ½ Mile Laps: 16 Distance: 8 Miles
“Peaches” Keen, virtually unknown outside of California, especially
Ascot; zapped all the GN stars and Ascot regulars to score his first
and only GNC win. His come from behind win, passing National champ
Resweber in the closing laps, thrilled the overflow Ascot Park crowd.
His Dennis Mahan/self-tuned BSA was in top form. Resweber “settled” for
second again. It was the third year he controlled the race only to lose
the advantage late in the race. Darrel Dovel finished third for one of
his best National finishes.
Carroll Resweber’s fine second
place against the Ascot regulars again gave him a little breathing room
over Leonard, 30 points to 21. Leonard put in a solid ride at Ascot,
but was two places out of the points. Leonard never won at Ascot. Dick
Mann held onto 3rd in points with 18. Keen’s two impressive California
finishes vaulted him to 4th in points with 14 points.
Time Trials and Heats
Tanner (Tri), the 1959 race champ set fast time at 24.03. The rest of
the top 5 were; Keen (BSA) 24.09, Resweber (HD) 24.38, Johnny Gibson
(HD) 24.46 and Stu Morley (BSA) 24.48.
National #24 Jack
O’Brien (BSA) bested Tanner, Gibson and Don Hawley (HD) in Heat 1. In
Heat 2, Keen won the fastest heat over Morley, Dick Mann and rookie
Dick Hammer, all BSA mounted. Resweber remained unbeaten in Ascot heats
taking Heat 3 in front of Darrel Dovel (Tri) and Johnny Muckenthaler
(Tri). Al Gunter, the 1960 winner was having an off night and did not
Resweber again looked like a good
bet for a non-Californian to finally win at Gardena, jumping out to an
early lead. Keen on the other hand was next to last off the line. As
Resweber stretched his lead to half a straight, Dovel, Gibson and
Morley were battling for the next positions.
Keen really got
rolling, passing riders at a rapid pace; he was noticeably faster than
every other rider thru Ascot’s tacky turns. By all accounts, he never
backed off the throttle. He broke thru the battling pack up front on
lap 9, taking 2nd place. Resweber still had a big lead, but Keen was
gobbling up territory in the corners. Coming out of turn 4 on lap 15,
Keen zapped a surprised Resweber at the line. Keen continued to stretch
his lead with Resweber a solid 2nd. Dovel bested his handlebar rattling
buddies for 3rd, with Johnny Gibson having another good National finish
in 4th and Morley in 5th. Rounding out the order was, O’Brien, Tanner,
Leonard, Hawley Hammer, Muckenthaler and Mann.
riding and tuning abilities, it seemed more GNC wins would come. It was
not to be, Keen preferred the steady Ascot and fairgrounds money. He
would continue to have other great runs around the circuit and was
particularly successful at the Sante Fe, Ill short track.
Results Race: 8 Mile National Race Time: 8:12.79
Rank Rider Number Make
1. Neil Keen, Pasadena, Ca 10 BSA
2. Carroll Resweber, Cedarburg, Wi 1 HD
3. Darrel Dovel, Ft. Worth, Tx 45 Tri
4. Johnny Gibson, Duarte, Ca 5 HD
5. Stu Morley, Los Angeles, Ca 8X BSA
6. Jack O’Brien, Santa Monica, Ca 24 BSA
7. Sammy Tanner, Bellflower, Ca 7 Tri
8. Joe Leonard, San Jose, Ca 98 HD
9. Don Hawley, Inglewood, Ca 6 HD
10. Dick Hammer, Lakewood, Ca 17X BSA
11. John Muckenthaler, Garden Grove, Ca 83 Tri
12. Dick Mann, El Sobrante, Ca 64 BSA
Race: 7 Mile Amateur Final Race Time: 6:15.17
Rank Rider Number Make
1. Preston Petty, Woodlands, Ca 68Y BSA
2. Jimmy Plain, El Sobrante, Ca 25Y BSA
3. Bob Skibsted, Riverside, Ca 57X HD
Grand National Points Standings after Round 6
Rank Rider Pts
1. Carroll Resweber 30
2. Joe Leonard 21
3. Dick Mann 18
4. Neil Keen 14
5. Dick Klamfoth 12
6. Don Burnett 10
7. Roger Reiman 9
8. Ralph White 8
9. George Roeder 7
9. Bart Markel 7
• Neil Keen had 10 straight regular season Ascot wins before the National.
The “BSA Wrecking Crew “era was beginning. Neil Keen, Al Gunter, Stu
Morley, Jack O’Brien and soon Sammy Tanner, rode highly-tuned Gold
Stars that were perfectly suited to Ascots unique surface. They would
be nearly unbeatable for a decade.
• A screaming SRO 8,000 strong crowd was present.
• Future fender King, Preston Petty took the Amateur win.
- NEIL KEEN 1934 - 2014...... Active for 20 years as a professional
dirt track racer, AMA National Number 10 Neil Keen is an innovative and
articulate man who never settled for the status quo, either with engine
development, chassis design, or the politics of racing. In each of
these fields, he contributed to a golden era of American racing by
improving machine performance, safety, and the treatment of riders. In
the hotbed of Southern California racing, Keen won Ascot 11 times in a
row in 1961 while winning more than half the finals of the 29-race
season. Later, he helped develop the modern dirt track racing frame,
contributed to a two-stroke revolution, and consulted on Yamaha’s dirt
track program, where Kenny Roberts would earn points toward his two AMA
Grand National Championships. Well educated, outspoken, and articulate,
Keen also served as an official representative of the professional
racers in the AMA Competition Congress. Neil Keen was born in Lakeland,
Florida on May 14, 1934. When his parents divorced in 1941, he moved
with his mother to Valdosta, Georgia, then to Atlanta in 1948. Keen’s
first motorized two-wheeler was a Doodlebug, purchased at Western Auto
when he was 14. “Next,” he says, “I had about ten Whizzers. They were
of pretty fragile construction,” he says, explaining the number of
replacements. In 1950, he bought a Harley-Davidson 125 and his
competitive career began that same year at a paved local stock car
track called Peach Bowl Speedway. “I was 16 – I was supposed to be 18
-- and I won the first race I ever entered, beating older guys on big
Harleys and Nortons,” Keen recalls. Modestly, Keen attributes the
victory only partially to his riding ability. “The little two-stroke
was more suitable for the track than the bigger machines,” he says. But
the experience was enough to convince him that racing was something he
wanted to do. In 1953, Keen and a couple of friends lit out for
California in a new Ford convertible with a dismantled BSA Gold Star
flattracker in the trunk. “I fell in love with California," he says.
"Everything seemed so clean and shiny and new.” The Gold Star was
jointly owned by Keen and one of his buddies, but a couple of nights of
flattracking caused its co-owner to decide he had better give up and
return to Georgia. Keen kept the motorcycle and hired out for $2 per
hour as a courier for the Rapid Blueprint Company. “My first race in
California was in 1954 at Willow Springs," he recalls. "BSA dealer
Louie Thomas sold me a used BSA A7 twin factory racing bike, and I ran
off the track.” Keen raced only twice in 1954, but in 1955 he applied
for his AMA Novice professional license. Racing regularly at Gardena,
Culver City, and Carroll Speedway, he quickly progressed through the
ranks, earning Amateur status in 1956 and his Expert license in 1957.
Keen’s ambition, however, was not to become a national caliber racer.
“My idols were the great tuners like Tom Sifton and Gene Rhyne," he
says. "I was a good mechanic with a good aptitude for chassis setup and
building fast engines.” In 1957, Keen started building for George
Everett, whom he still believes was one of the most talented riders of
all time. “I continued to race, but I was just having fun while really
focusing on George’s equipment, and my desire to give him the tools to
prove he was the best.” But Everett was killed in 1959, a tragedy
which, oddly, turned Keen into a dedicated, fulltime professional
racer. “When George was killed, I looked around and didn’t see anyone I
thought was even close to his talent. There was just no one I wanted to
build for, so I decided it was time to concentrate on my own equipment
and developing my own skills. Jimmy Phillips became my mentor and
taught me how to race.” Keen came into his own quickly on the fast
surface of the legendary Ascot Park, winning the last two races of the
season in 1960. He continued that success in 1961 by winning more than
half the main events of the 29-race season, riding Dennis Mahan’s BSA.
“Except for two races," Keen says, "Albert Gunter and I won every race
that year.” Keen won the first two races, Gunter took the next two,
then Keen reeled off a stunning string of 11 main events in a row. “I
won thirteen of the first fifteen races, then finished the season with
a total of sixteen wins,” he says. Ascot Park was a nightmare for the
AMA Grand National regulars. The locals raced there 29 times a season
and had the track so dialed in that they usually humbled the Grand
National regulars when they ventured there. “Bart Markel was about the
only rider from back East who could win at Ascot and he was a little
scary. When a normal half-mile racetrack in those days was 29-31
seconds, the best at Ascot would lap it in 23 seconds,” Keen says. “And
it wasn’t because it was a smaller racetrack. It was because the
surface was tacky and in good condition and the men ran almost wide
open all the way around. It was terrifying if you weren’t up to the
task.” Keen was making a good living from the Friday night Ascot Park
program. “I averaged $1,500 a week,” Keen said. “And that was in the
days when a new Ford Ranchero was $1,900. We got paid a percentage of
the gate then and when I won the AMA national I took home $3,700. I had
a nice four bedroom house out in the suburbs.” He did so well racing in
Southern California that Keen didn’t see a big need to chase the Grand
Nationals. He made the occasional foray back to the Midwest to race the
fair circuit and to take in Peoria and Springfield. He finished a
career-high fifth in the AMA Grand National standings in 1961, in spite
of not racing a full national schedule. Southern California weekly
tracks were producing a high level of injuries and far too many
fatalities in the 1960s. Keen thought he knew one of the reasons, which
was the fact that all classes – Novices through Experts – competed
aboard big 500cc and 750cc machines. “Fatalities among the Novices were
appallingly high, and some of us thought they should not be racing the
big equipment," Keen says. "Most brands by then were producing 250s,
which we knew would be more manageable.” Late in 1962, Keen, Gunter,
and Dick Mann appeared before the AMA Competition Committee, proposing
a package of rules to make racing safer. As a result, the AMA imposed a
250cc limit for Novices, and fatalities declined significantly. This
successful foray into the politics of racing would be only the first
step in Neil Keen’s long career of working to improve the sport. In
1963, he teamed up with Gary Nixon to petition for better purses and
medical insurance for the riders. In 1968, he became a delegate to the
newly formed AMA Congress, serving for several years as an official
representative of the riders. Keen, a well-read and articulate public
speaker, has been sought out throughout his career by professional
riders seeking guidance, support, and representation. After a serious
crash in 1963, Keen relocated to Illinois in 1964. “I started riding
out of John Lund’s shop in Decatur," he says. "From one corner of the
state to the other, there was a hotbed of short track competition. I
had never ridden a short track, but I picked it up very quickly.”
Keen’s knowledge of chassis design and how to set up a good handling
racer proved a great asset on the lightning-quick quarter-mile ovals.
He was high-point racer at Santa Fe Speedway in both 1969 and 1970, and
practically owned the podium at Granite City, just across the river
from St. Louis. Collaborating with Ray Hensley, Keen began to develop
and market high-performance racing frames in 1967, first known as Sonic
Weld then later marketed under the Trackmaster brand. “I sold my trail
bike and a .38 pistol to buy our first chrome moly tubing to get
started building frames,” he recalls. With his tuning and designing
skills in high demand, Keen set up Neil Keen Performance in 1969. In
the mean time, John Lund, who was a Bultaco dealer, believed that the
quickly emerging two-stroke engines might have a future in short track
racing. Lund assembled two Bultaco-powered short trackers, and Keen
hauled them to Daytona in 1967, where Dick Mann won aboard one of the
machines and Keen finished second. Back at the Midwestern short tracks
that season, Keen began to refine the bikes and techniques – including
use of a compression release for rapid deceleration – that would launch
a two-stroke revolution. His performance attracted the attention of
Yamaha, which was on the verge of introducing its robust and versatile
DT1 two-stroke single. Dennis Mahan, who had helped Keen maintain his
motorcycles during his early career in Southern California, was now
working for Yamaha, and arranged for Keen to receive pre-production
engines for the 1968 season. “They didn’t even have real serial numbers
on them," Keen recalls. "My engines just had #1, #3, and #4 stamped in
the cases.” These Yamahas, in Trackmaster frames, now with swinging arm
rear suspensions, would propel Keen to his high-point seasons at Santa
Fe in ’69 and ’70. To get optimum power from the engines, Keen
reconfigured Yamaha’s motocross expansion chamber to make it suitable
for flat track racing. “Yamaha saw that pipe and loved it and how I had
tucked it down under the engine,” he says. Furthermore, Yamaha was
making plans to challenge Harley-Davidson and the British brands at the
top tier of American dirt track racing, and Keen would become a key
player in this campaign. With its new overhead cam XS650 vertical twin,
introduced in 1970, Yamaha began to pour money into a program that
would provide equipment for up-and-comers such as Dan Haaby, Keith
Mashburn, and finally their world-beater Kenny Roberts. Keen consulted
on the development of the motorcycles, both for chassis design and
conversion of the engines to full-on 750s. The Yamaha twins did not
become permanent fixtures in American dirt track racing, but they
worked well enough to provide valuable points toward Roberts’ 1973 and
’74 Grand National Championships. After a 20-year career, Neil Keen
retired from active professional competition in 1974, but has continued
as a consultant and supplier with Neil Keen Performance, where he has
served as a mentor for subsequent generations of racers. Innovative,
articulate, educated, outspoken, colorful, and brutally honest, Keen
has contributed on the track, in the shop, and through regulatory
processes to the improvement of American dirt track racing. He was
inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.