Ken Barrow
1943 - 2007

Ken lost his life from a racing accident on May 13th, 2007

Received this email from Kenny Malaguarnero, on Sunday May 6th.  dennis vft

Dennis this is Kenny Malaguarnero. I wanted to inform you that yesterday May 5th, Ken Barrow Number 68, was injured in the super senior race. He was coming out of turn two when he high sided and and went down hard. He has brain bleeding and he is on life support. My dad Ruben Malaguarnero is flying out one of his relatives from Pennsylvania ASAP. If anyone will like to contribute to Ken please call (760) 948-7826 leave a message or E-mail Thanks

Received this email Wednesday aternoon, May 9th from Kens grandson.   dennis vft


Received this email Sunday AM, May 13 from Kens grandson.   dennis vft

I just wanted to inform all of the racers that Ken passed away this morning around 2:00AM.  Marsha (his long time friend/girlfriend) was here with him, the nurse stated it was very peaceful.  My girlfriend and I came back to the hospital and will be leaving to go back to San Diego tomorrow afternoon.  We appreciate everyones love and prayers, please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.  At this time we are really unsure of what we will be doing to celebrate Kens life...??? If anyone has suggestions, please contact me. 267-575-8160. 
Thanks again for everything! Rich

Received this email Tuesday the May 22nd.   dennis vft

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your love and support, your prayers, good wishes and thoughts.  We are so grateful.  Ken was loved and respected and a number of folks who raced with him have already honored his memory in many ways.  We want you to know that you are appreciated.  We miss Ken dreadfully, and were all completely shocked at the results of his accident.  As heartbroken as we are to know that we no longer have him with us in a physical sense, we take some small comfort in that Ken passed doing what he loved more than anything.  There is a saying that is common to many motorcycle riders “Ride to live and live to ride”.  Ken enjoyed many things, but we believe his greatest passion was racing his bike.  Thank all of you who helped make that an enjoyable experience for him!

We will keep you posted as to how we will celebrate Ken’s life at some point in the not too distant future.  One of the places we plan to scatter some of his ashes is on the track where he participated in that last race.  We hope to have an opportunity to meet and share Ken Barrow stories with some of you at that time.  Until then, please know that your love and kindness is truly appreciated.

Most sincerely,

Richard Price and Eden Campbell
(Ken’s son and soon to be daughter-in-law)


Cycle World Blogs

KEN BARROW 1943-2007

Ken racing 49x Mickey Alzola at Willow

The website posting was brief and brutal: Ken Barrow, racing in the vintage meet at Tulare, California, high-sided in Turn 2, came down hard and was put on life support. My first reaction was shock and dismay, followed by the urge to not tell my wife, followed by realizing that I had to tell her. This is a secret we had to share. Start with a universal truth, that everything that lives…must die. Part of the deal, no getting around it.

Closer to home, I once quipped to my usual circle that we seem to see each other only at weddings and wakes, and that every year there are fewer weddings and more wakes—Ron Griewe, Don Vesco, Ken Maely, Roy Burris… A guy in my vintage flat-track class died of a heart attack, and at the meeting where Ken went down, another racer won his class and suffered a stroke in the pits. The next day in the paper, I read that a 10-year-old, a member of the Hayden racing clan, was killed at the track. This is part of life, see philosophical statement in the previous paragraph.

But Ken Barrow went right to the heart.

Last season we picnicked at the night races. My whole clan and Ken, whose family lives back East, shared supper. He was the particular hero of my granddaughter Kalista, aged 6 at the time, because Ken contributed blue Gatorade. Too cool.

So? It’s one thing to read about tragedy in the paper, or to lose a friend to age or illness. It’s another thing…well, two races ago my wife was in the stands, camcorder in action, when another rider low-sided next to me in Turn 3 and my bike jumped the hurdles, came down sideways, lock to lock. I stayed on, by luck and not by skill, and she saw the whole thing.

We’re not talking statistics here, or fate. We’re talking a friend, a better rider than me, who runs the same tracks and same class.
A couple of months ago, at practice, Ken was working on his two-stroke, for the shorter tracks, when there was a shout and he was engulfed in flames. The carb needle had stuck and flooding fuel spilled and ignited. He jumped off, onlookers jumped in and hauled the bike to the water truck. Reuben Malaguarnera had the courage to yank open the valve and the fire was out, no harm done. We found the grit that stuck the valve, patched the wiring and Ken’s bike was back running by the end of the day…except from that day on, I called him “Fireball.”

From where I sit, I can see a trophy labeled Second Place. That day, Ken was First. He’d raced Pro when younger and I was always pumped if I could keep him in sight. That’s him, #68, in the lead photo, working the outside line at Willow. Two weeks ago, Ken and I were talking after practice and he mentioned borrowing some parts, years ago when he was a kid, from a man who’d packed up and left before Ken could give the parts back. Ken telephoned the AMA and asked for the loaner’s number. Sorry, he was told, we can’t give out that information. Ken wouldn’t accept that and kept talking until the other party put him on hold, looked up the number, swore Ken to secrecy and told him how to find the other guy. Ken called and was told, “Heck, kid, thanks for the effort, keep the parts.”

“And there I was,” Ken told me, “in my mom’s kitchen, running up the long-distance bill.”

That’s the man Ken Barrow was, and I use past tense here because the doctors held out no hope for recovery and the family believed that keeping him alive artificially made no sense, nor would it be what Ken wanted, so the plug was pulled.

What this means to me is, my wife’s birthday is on the 1st. My daughter-in-law has pointed out that if we want people at the party, we’d better have it on Saturday the 2nd. Okay, I said, and soon as I did, the club moved our next race from Sunday the 3rd to Saturday night. Summer came early this year.

Sorry to miss it, I’m maybe third in class points. But I have a prior commitment.

Allan Girdler


From the Flat Track Forum

I've been in contact all week with Ken's Grandson, Rich. Spoke with him this morning at 9am and they unplugged the machines at 6 last night.
Ken passed away at 2am this morning. May he rest in peace. We lost a good man.
  Eddie 12

Goodbye old friend.
Elliott Iverson

You will be remembered Ken, may you rest in peace.
Jim Grant

May 15, 2007
I am deeply sadend with the news of Ken's death. We were all touched with goodness having him as a friend. He was genuine with the qualities of a true friend. We are all so lucky to have known him. Look at the awesome memories he's left with us. That upbeat personality, his big and constant smile, hus humor. Look at the warm feeling we all share when we say he was our good friend and fellow racer.
Sal Peluso

What a great loss of a good friend. pick up your foot and get on the gas Ken
Steve Mihovil

Godspeed Ken, you were a true enthusiast..........
Rod Lake

Ken, I'm glad to have counted you among my friends
I enjoyed the laughs we had in the pits, I'm glad we got to talk and hang out before your main.
I'll never forget you and I battling it out at Del Mar, man you were all over my ass that day.
I will miss you...we all will.
Brad Rudy

my gilrs and I will be thinking of a way to honor his memory at Victorville May 26th.
His will be missed and our house is saddened by his passing.
Brian Blackburn

When I first started going to Eddie's races, I met Ken.
 I never went to another race without making a special effort to find him as soon after I got there as possible.
 Ken was a cool guy, and I will truly miss him. GOD SPEED, good friend.

I'm sorry to hear that Ken passed away. It's never easy to lose someone that has made such an impact on the people that met him.
Tony Salazar

Ken gave me a big thumbs up in the staging line Saturday night at Tulare as we were waiting to go to the starting line for our Super Senior main.
A little later I saw the crash, but I prefer to remember the thumbs up as my last memory of Ken. You will be missed Bro.
Old Dave

Ken I will miss you buddy. All the times at the racetrack,the times printing tee shirts together,
 the time at my house during a party when we got drunk and tackled each other into the pool.
But most of all sitting at your house talking and just being your freind.
God Be With You Ken. your friend always,
David Bilodeau

I don't really know what to say. I wasn't a good friend of Ken but I knew him.
 I will rememeber his smile and I will be comforted that he died doing what he loved.
I would rather see Ken sitting on the sidelines but that was not to be. Godspeed Ken...
Jeff Steffen

It is hard to know what to say at a time like this. Why do we do this dangerous thing? What is it all about? I
don't know the answer, but I know that Ken and I, and all who love dirttrack racing, share a bond that can't
 be explained to those who have never backed it in on a deep cushion half mile. To paraphrase Shakespeare:
"He who out lives this day will long remember what feats we did this day.
Our names, familiar in their mouths as household words will be remembered....we few, we happy few, we band of brothers...."
 Ken, my brother, God bless and keep you.
Chris Rudy

Several years ago on Wayne Hosakas earlier forum, there was a black and white picture of a pack of racer's,
probably going into turn one, with the saying ..."There is a special place in Heaven for Those who die because they are not afraid to live".
I hope that it is archived somewhere other than the faded copy on our shop wall.
Whenever we hear of the passing of another friend I look at that picture and say a prayer.
Tonight I said a prayer for Ken, although I hardly knew him.
Godspeed Ken Barrow. Respectfully,
Sydney Ann & Cecil Oswald.

<>Those of us who knew Ken know that he was never seen at the track without a smile on his face and a cigar in his mouth. He made it a point to visit with everyone who attended and I don’t know of anyone who was immune to laughter when he was around. When he was out on the track he was always at the limit. He was always exciting to watch and equally exciting to be around when it was over. I hope we can share our stories of Ken over the past 40+ years that he thoroughly enjoyed this sport. I also hope that we can celebrate his life rather than mourn his loss. (He would have wanted it that way). When he rode my 750 at Ventura a couple of years ago, I got to see first hand how much he put into his love of this sport. While we will all miss him, let us rejoice in the happiness that he had while he was with us and the peace he must have now, leaving us without experiencing any pain while doing what he loved so much.

Godspeed Ken - blessings to you and your family.
Karen Gould

Our freinds in USA, our hearts are with you, even 1000 of miles a part with the sad news about Ken.I spoke to Ken only few weeks ago,he was planning a trip to the UK, to come ride with us.When we spoke he sure seemed nice guy and for sure he loved his sport and thats why he was willing to spend his hard earned money, to come over and help to promote our love for Flattrack. Ken, Now you've gone to heaven just remember, Go Fast Turn Left

All of us in Arizona will mourn the passing of Ken. We last saw him at Perris this spring. All I can say is that individuals like ken only come along once in a great while. To say he will be missed is an understatement. We will miss his laugh and stories. I think hw had raced almost at every track in the USA at one time or another. And had a gut splitting story from every one. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. You can be sure of one thing though, Ken arrived at the pearly gates full lock, with pipes belching flame and wanting to know where a guy goes to find a race.
Jerry Gates

Thoughts of the Inevitable'-Dave Despain Nov 1977

'Motorcycle racing is a dangerous and violent existence...
the rewards are fantastic as anyone who has lived it knows.
But to be eligible one must be willing to risk life itself.'
'either way these are special men,
a cut above the hand wringers and tongue clickers'
'Ducking and hiding doesn't fit their lifestyles
they came to live'
About Norm Carr'
I take a little comfort in the knowledge that he lived
more life in the last year and a half than most of
us could even imagine.
Jay Ridgeway spent his time among us just the way he wanted to
and he died the same way.
He lived every bit of life there was to live,
he checked out in jeans and a t-shirt.'
There is a special place somewhere for those
who die because they are not afraid to live.'
I find comfort in the understanding that death,
haunts only those who fear it.
Pat, Randy,Kurt,and /norm will truly rest in peace.'
Sail on Ken Barrow, you have finished the race!!!
The race, God had set before you. For the Word says
'Let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,
on whom our faith depends from start to finish'.
You were greeted at Heavens gates with
'Well done, thou, Good and Faithful servant,
you have been faithful and just over few things,
now you'll be made ruler over much!!
Enter into the Joy of the Lord.......
For the Word declares,
'to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord'.
Until that great and wonderful day,
when the rest of us go to meet the Lord in the Air,
Sail on Ken Barrow, we will always love and long to be there with you!!!!!

We are very sorry .Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends, as well as the fellow racers. Godspeed Ken.
 The Stay Family

Were going to miss ya buddy.Your bikes and body are brand new again, go get em in heaven Ken.

As a racing family, we are very saddened by the news of Ken Borrows untimely death. We first met Ken in Stockton, Kansas back in 1977 or 1978,
 I can't remember the exact year. Ken was a Novice as was Kelly.
From that day on we were all fans of Ken's always smiling face and great attitude. We used to run into Ken at races all over and always had a great time around him. We not only have lost a good man, but we have lost a very special person. One that Our Lord gave to us to help cheer us all up. We last saw Ken in 2007 in Phoenix at the AHRMA race held there. He will be missed but never forgotten. Rest In Peace Ken. We love and miss you.
Pat, Dorothy, Kelly and Shaun Larkin

Thanks so much for all who are posting memories, pictures and sending positive thoughts into the universe during this difficult time. I am the woman Ken brought to Victorville April 21 and am so glad I was able to see him in that element and with friends who shared his passion. I am also so glad to have been able to meet a few of you and especially Ruben's sons who he had talked with me about and so loved and cherished. Though I had known Ken for only 3 months we had become close very quickly. We talked easily, laughed hard, and shared lots of stories, opinions, and dreams.
We talked about how we wanted to live and die and I will always cherish the reality that Ken did it his way! I saw him Friday night before he went to Tulare and then again in the hospital in Fresno. Similar to the words posted by the person who saw the crash but is choosing instead to focus on Ken's thumbs up gesture in the staging area, I also have several positive snippets and memories that define Ken's beautiful spirit and essence.
All the postings to this forum have been incredibly important to me as I am dealing with my own sense of loss and grief. Thanks for helping me know Ken better through your words and pictures. As another writer said, the bond you share can't be explained...but it most definitely is obvious and profound. I feel fortunate and blessed to have gotten a peak into your world and lives.
Becky Breed Love

Its amazing that someone that could bring me to tears of "PURE-JOY" could also reduce me to tears of pure sorrow! You will be missed dearly! hugz

Ken was a guy that once you met him the first time you looked for him the next time. A pleasure to be around on and off the race track. Whenever we raced together we would always bet a beer on it and I had to pay up more often than not. I will really miss those times with him. Godspeed my friend.
Ray Hensley

Ken and I became good friends years ago.We even played golf togeather when our schedules allowed.
He was one of those people that if you didn't like Kenny there was something wrong with you! I'll sure miss his big smile at the races but I know he is on the gas, feet up and still smiling.
Bob Graves 88Y

What alot of people may not know about Ken, is that he was just as great with kids as he was with adults, just ask Danielle.
We will all miss you Ken, Godspeed!
Peter Jr.

Sadly, I hadn't known Ken for very long, but it was still hard for me to hear about his death. Every time I saw Ken at the track he was always smiling, like many of you have already mentioned, and was always joking around and having fun. When I think about him the thing I remember most is the first time I met him in Victorville. We were both on the starting line, about to start our heat race, and all of a sudden I feel this force hit my leg and I almost fell (before the race even started, what a cluts!). Not knowing who hit me I turned quick to my left and had the dirtiest look on my face. Then, I see Ken, sitting there, looking at me with the biggest smile on his face, and then he started to laugh which of course made me laugh. I love the fact that that's the memory that I have of Ken, and it's one that I'll never forget. Ken was just that kind of person. He loved life and loved to live it. His smile and laugh were just contagious. You could see the joy he had from just being there and doing the thing he loved. It's sad to see that something we all love has caused us this loss but that's the price we pay each and every time we get out on the track. I think he would of wanted to die doing the thing he loved most though. At least we all know that right before he crashed, he was happy.
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "Holy sh*t what a ride!"
Godspeed Ken!
We all miss ya' buddy!
I look forward to racing you again up in Heaven!
Until then, have fun racing with all of the other angels!
Danielle Diaz #86v

He sure was. My daughters just loved him and Brianna bawled her eyes out at the news of his passing.
Brian Blackburn

Last year I decided after a 25 year layoff that I would like to ride again.
Well the first guy I ran up against was Ken and he handed me my butt every race.
Suddenly I had a new goal in life to beat Ken.
Well a few weeks ago we met at Perris.
Around and around we went handle bar to handle bar, Well I keep it on the grove and beat Ken.
After the race we had a great time, high fives, hand shakes, and hugs.
A couple of old farts having a great time.
Then a thought came to mind, it didn’t mater who won or lost, racing Ken was great fun.
Goodbye old friend, I hope the track is smooth and your old Champion is running on both cylinders.
Mr Ed

 Thank you, Ken, for all the great giggles over the past few years and also for being such a gentleman when you would sneak up and pass me on the outside in the corners!
Until the next time I see you at the starting line. Your friend,
Mickey Alzola 49x

I am deeply saddened with the news of Ken's death. We were
all touched with goodness having him as a friend. He was
genuine with the qualities of a true friend. We are all so
lucky to have known him. Look at the awesome memories he's
left with us. That upbeat personality, his big and constant
smile, his humor. Look at the warm feeling we all share when
we say he was our good friend and fellow racer.
I will be back to flattrack racing soon. Because of Ken
I will put my efforts not only into my racing but also my
character. Ken has been well received by the Almighty in Heaven.
Thank you Ken for your forever presence in my life. To
his family and friends my condolences and thank you for the memories.
Sal Peluso #6R

God speed Ken, Our hearts go out to all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
The Bergren Family

Ken had that rare aura of being instantly likeable combined with a feeling that you had known him forever.
It was a pleasure knowing you Ken. You will be missed but not forgotten.

   thank you for Kenny Barrow’s picture on your “old vft pics”.  I raced against him many times and even finished 2nd behind him just once.

Our friendship developed during Eddie’s earlier races. After kenny’s last race I was lost and confused and decided it was my last race also.

 May he rest in peace.  Cliff (209)