1925 - 2003
Sad news Ken Maely has
passed this afternoon
my condolences to his family he
will be forever
remembered as the steel shoe
and the begginers speedway riders
best wishes Dukie
Oh, man.......I love Ken
There's a pretty big group of
Sail on Ken Maley, 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'.
Today 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 Kenneth Maley,
we will always love and miss
God speed you Ken you
are the best there is and
best there ever will be
Wow, I can't believe it.
This is truly the end of
era. Godspeed Ken you will be missed.......
I am so sad to hear Ken
passed away. I spoke with
a little over a week ago on the telephone and he said he was feeling OK
but would not be able to make it
to Del mar. I had
a feeling he was not doing well.
I first met Ken at 1968 at Ascot.
He was always
making shoes and making sure he knew everyone in the pits.
after I was injured, I did not
see Ken for 20 years.
And, although I was only one of a thousand racers in those glorious 60s,
he remembered me when I saw him
at his ranch! not
only remembered me but remembered many things about me from those days.
He made me feel important.
I don't think he forgot anyone
who bought one of his
I'm sure many of you can tell us
a story about Ken.
Ken, we will miss you.
i cant believe he is
gone.the man seemed that he
go on forever.he never stoped working but always had time.
it didnt matter if you where
springer or joe shmoe.i
have sat here reading all of your posts with sorrow.
i am shure that all the people
that have met the man
where touched by him in some way. i know that i was .
god speed ken.
That is really sad news,
Ken has been a friend
the late 50's. My prayers go to his wife Rose and his family.
man, i talked to him
last week. i was going to
him my boot and $$$ for my first steelshoe when i got paid on friday.
what a character. i was on the
phone with him for
about 15-20 minutes just b.s.ing he just seemed
like a genuinely nice guy. my
prayers are with his
You are indeed the very
GodSpeed dear friend.
I can’t believe Ken is
gone! I have known him
the late sixties. The racers he has touched would reach in the
and he remembered each of their
names and something
about them. Ken can now take his place in great hall of fame above.
am sure he will be seated at the
head table with the
great racers and tuners who knew and loved him.
God I cant believe it,
i'm in shock. Me and my
family have been riding at Kens ranch for as long as I an remember.
My dad and uncle grew up racing
with Ken always
at the races with them. He was a great guy. I wont ever forget
the fun times ive spent with him
at the ranch, like
our Maeley mile and Maeley tt nationals.
He has been a big part of my
racing. I wont forget
Best wishes to his lovely wife
and neice, I hope you
get through this tough time.
GOD SPEED KEN,
Alex Wood #67
Ken Maely left an
indelible imprint on all that
him. A true character the likes of we'll never see again.
peace, Ken Maely left an
imprint on all that knew him. A true character the likes of we'll never
Rest in peace,
Rob in AZ
Godspeed Ken. I will
miss those five minute phone
that lasted thirty. Ken made my first shoe at ascot thirty years ago
and my last this summer. If you
were #1 or #501 he
treated you the same. My thoughts are with his family.
Blessings to Ken's
family. He was so friendly and
to so many racers.
Truly a legend has
passed, such men cannot be
I only met Ken one time, many years ago at
the Colorado Mile. The exhaust
pipe on my 350 Yamaha
twin was sticking out too far,
according to the AMA tech
inspector and he directed
me to Ken to fix it. He did and wouldn't charge me anything.
My condolences go out to his
family and I will
them in my prayers.
Jim Henry #90n
Man what a blow to
Flattrack. I still remember
crowding around watching him work at the Dome.
What a Craftsman. A few years ago
my wife called him
and ordered a T shirt for me as a gift.
She ask him if he had a 2X and he
said NO, tell him
to loose some damn weight.
She later said man that Dude I
ordered your shirt
from is a character.
She said she felt like she had
known him forever and
it was the first time she had ever talked to him. Godspeed Shoeman.
What fun we had.
Bob,Carol,and Steve Hill
Man that's horrible
news. Ken was one of the
guys I've ever met. Every single time I went over to his place
he ALWAYS asked about how my dad
and family was
He gave so much to the racing
community. Ken would
give the shirt off his back to anyone.
He will be truly missed. God
speed the steel shoe
Ed sr., Cliff, Ed jr. Fatz
What a terrific loss.
Ken was one of those rare
individuals who touched
the lives of everyone he met.
He certainly touched mine, and my
I'm glad that I was able to count
you as one of my
You most certainly will be missed.
The racing community will never
be the same without
Message for FATZ!
Watched ya crawl into his water
and pull a patch so we could have water again.
Those are the things I will never
That is sad news. I
fisrt heard about Ken around
years ago when I first started racing.
Everyone wanted one of
his SHOES. And just like
says here, he treated you as if he knew you well even if it
was the first time he had met
you. Guess I will have
to take better care of the T shirt I bought from him
at Del Mar a few years ago. God
speed Ken and may
your family find comfort at this difficult time.
There is probably none in
flattrack that was as well
known as you are. What an Icon,God bless you.
Ken was a National
My deepest condolences to his
family and many
Don Potter, 67J
If motorcycling and
Flattrack ever had a friend,
was it! He will leave a major empty spot in this life.
I think everyone he ever met will
be affected by his
Today is indeed a very
sad day. I only met Ken in
recent years through my step father,
Larry Wilburn. Larry knew Ken
from the "old" days
and they were very close.
I have never seen Ken without a
smile on his face
and something good to say about whoever he was speaking about.
The racing community has lost
it's favorite father.
My family and I are deeply saddened by this news.
Our hearts go out to his
family(if any) and my step
father. Godspeed Ken, you will always be remembered by me with
a big smile on my face, as it was
that I always have
Godspeed you to your
reward that is promised to
He was one the greatest legends of American Flattrack racing.
I won't put on my shoe without
saying a prayer.
I still have the shoe he
made at the dome in i
it hangs in my race shop next to
the new shoe ken
made for my son last year.
what a loss to flattrack. he is a
true hero and
to the sport.
THANK YOU KEN MALEY AND GODSPEED.
Rest in peace Ken.
"Life is a sexually transmitted,
Enjoy it while you can."
Very sad news. A huge
loss to everyone who has
If you've never had the honor of
meeting him you can
see by these posts that he was a very special man.
You will be missed shoeman
thank-you for all you
Ken treated me like
Family. That meant a lot, to
I only talked
to Ken Maely twice, Once in
at San Jose and once in 2001 at Del Mar. Both times it was to have some
work done on my steel shoe. Now when it comes to steel shoe maintenance
I am a procrastinator and at San Jose I received a royal ass chewing
the condition of my shoe. He told me that my shoe was so bad that he
have to take it back to his shop to repair it and that he would send it
to me. Well I was racing that day and I needed my shoe and after enough
crying he got it fixed for me just before practice got started. Fast
10 years later (I think he was wearing the same shirt) at Del Mar and
be damned if I didn't get the same ass chewing, word for word, and my
was ready just in time for practice. Although we didn't spend that much
time together he treated me like I was one of his kids. I'm going to
Ricky Henson #55
Ken was so humble and
friendly that you forgot
sharp he was and how many things he accomplished beyond making steel
Kind words for everyone and a love for racing and racers were his stock
in trade. A lot of knowledge the history of flat track and speedway
was lost with this man. On a personal level I will miss his friendship.
We have lost a giant.
'm so glad I stopped by
last Sunday. Got my shoe
yesterday, Ken Maely will be sorely missed.
So Long Ken,
You are leaving a big hole in the
middle of the
much history, so many stories.
Bigger than life, you left a huge
impression on me
the very first time I saw you. As wide-eyed 17 year-olds at
our first Catalina Gran Prix,
Dick Hammer and I
in utter amazement as you gave
a boxing lesson to a big dumb
drunk bully on the
ride home. You've been our hero ever since.
How can I forget the time you
welded in "Lover" on
my skidshoe? That certainly caused some problems at home!
What a sense of humor! You were
like no other and
we'll sure miss you,
Our prayers to your wife and
What a sad day in the
world of motorcycle racing.
yet...what a sad day in the world...period. As a novice,
Ken made me my first steel shoe
in early 1957, and
it was the only one I ever wore. It sits in my racing room
with many other treasures that
GodSpeed Ken. You will be missed
The only thing I have
from my days of racing is
Ken Maley Shoe. Gods speed Ken.
John Crume - Crazy John
GODSPEED KEN and
condolences to the Maley family.
have grown up with Ken in my life. He and my dad met and became friends
before I was born. We were all in the same motorcycle club at one time
or another. He was one of the original members of the Hilltoppers M/C
only left them as a result of his constant search for ways to make
The time was the 1950's. The place was a cold night at the races. Ken
that everyone was cold and there was not one vendor of coffee to be
He decided to brew a big pot of coffee and charge a reasonable fee to
who wanted to cut the chill. This turned out to be quite a good move on
his part. He made a mint while making a whole lot of racers a little
comfortable. Almost like providing all of the steel shoes he's made
the years. Back to the story. At the end of the night, one of the
of the Hilltoppers came over and asked Ken "How much money did we make
tonight?". Kens response was, "We who?". The Hilltopper responded with,
"You know, the club." Ken then pointed out that not one club member
a finger to help him. He bought all of the equipment, cups and coffee
of his pocket; he brewed and served the coffee all night without any
from a single club member. The money invested was his and the money
was his. That night ended his membership in the Hilltoppers M/C. I'm
that many people have many stories about Ken. I've often been told not
to take something that didn't already have a patent, anywhere near Ken
unless you wanted to see it in mass production the following week under
the name of Maley. Ken always treated me like a son and I will miss him
dearly. I will, however, cherish these and all of the memories of the
40+ years. I wonder what new changes he's made upstairs already. He
be greatly missed, but never forgotten.
Ken was a very special
man and a nicer friend. I
him a clock with his picture on it and gave it to him last year, why?
because he's who he is. Godspeed
Ken...you will be
missed by everyone you ever made a shoe for...
I remember Ken at the
Dome one year, a cold front
through and it was cold!!!!!
There was this giant of a man
working in a
T-shirt. I knew I was in the company of greatness
as I watched him work his magic
Very sorry to hear about
Ken's passing. We had
talked last week and we were going to go to his track this sunday.
Godspeed Ken, you will sorely
missed by all who knew
This a sad day. Ken was
such a good man with a
for every body.
He worked so hard to help the up
and comers on his
ranch. All I know is that Heaven is very lucky to have him enter there.
Dee Dee De Lucca
GOD SPEED KEN MAELY.....
My condolances to the Friends
family and Relatives
and especially to the whole flat track community.
Rest In Peace Maely.
I first remember Ken Maely at the
Dome in the early
years, probably the first one in 1968. It seems he was always there
And not just on shoes but he welded anything you broke.
My rookie expert year in 1975, I
broke the Brake
on the Triumph in the TT Practice twice. The brake on the right was too
low and I would drag it in the right hander and Maely welded it back up
I also remeber when Maely had the
Speedway bikes at
the Astrodome Trade Show. He used the Honda 350 bottom end and built
own top end I think. He always made you feel he remebered you, when you
talked with him.
The funiest story I remember
about Maely though was
when he was at an AMA Congress meeting and discussing rules and the
of flat track. Maely made a Motion that flat track start running to the
right instead of to the left. Obviously He would have sold a lot of
Shoes. Always thinking ahead. lol
GOD SPEED KEN MAELY.
I'm just speechless. Ken
truely walked as a God
men, but like someone said earlier...
it didn't matter if you were #1
or #501, he treated
you the same.
Thank you for those
great photos Glynn. I never
to meet Ken but feel I've know him anyway. He left such an imprint on
flat track world(literally) but also on the hearts of all that he
with. Reading the tributes to him, I know he was the kind of person I
have been proud to have known. My prayers are with his family at this
You are going to be sorely missed Ken. God Speed.
His passing leaves a
hole in the So Cal cosmos,
in my life.
Hopefully, Ken will soon be
racing in the Heavenly
Short-Track on Sunday afternoons against Dick Bettencourt
and all the other riders whom he
so loved and who
have preceded him in death.
He often stated: "If I can't take
it with me,... I'm
not goin'" But as Dick equally often predicted,
he was apparently (and
unfortunately) unable to take
it with him, after all.
God speed, Ken!... he knows damn
well you've earned
ol t-bone - - - o%\o
Ken Maley had no reason
to know me. I wore one of
shoes, and I rode a flattracker. That was about it. Despite that fact,
he always greeted me warmly and by name when we would see each other. I
remember the time the oil tank on my KR cracked at Willow Springs. We
to get it welded before the main event. Ken was there. He helped me
all of the oil out and then chased down the right welding rod. When he
was done he wouldn't take any money from me. I feel pretty lucky to
known him. God Bless Ken Maley.
I live about 10 minutes
from his house, and go to
track a lot. Depending on his mood that day he would either charge me,
OR NOT. He always had the best stories to tell! When I first got back
racing flat track again I went to his place and he acted like I had
been gone. We talked about Bettencourt, Frauenberger, Horton and even
Chuck Claydon. Just wanted to share my story too.
Godspeed, Ken, see ya
later. and thanks.
Deep sympathies to Rose and all
family and friends.
Dear Friends and Fellow
News traveled to Kansas City
today that Ken Maley
had passed. I know that we will all get to that time someday but the
was such a force to all of Motorcycle Racing that's it truly a sad day.
My first memories of Ken like those of Digger Helm and many others was
back in the late 50's. Ken lived
but every summer during the AMA National swing you would find him and
old van setting up shop at the pit gate to be sure he had everyones
ready by practice.
Remember when Dick "Bugys" Mann
burnt a hole in his
boot from his "Steel Shoe" while racing the Mile at Bay Meadows? Or the
time when Dud Perkins' HD Rider Dan Haaby twisted his leg hitting a
and had to go up a boot size - Maley made a special fit to his Steel
so he could run the Old State Fairgrounds track in Sacremento! As the
progressed so did Maley's eye for Speedway Bikes. He was strong willed
when it came to design of his bikes and riders. I can remember living
Gardena California working for Bell Helmets (while in Long Beach and
in Norwalk) when Bell's "JJ" took me to see Ken's latest Speedway
- those where the young riders he was training at his track in Corona.
The Bast Brothers, were
hot, Penhall was a comer as was
Bobby Swartz and
Woods. Ken Maley would crack up thinking that "Fishback" the MX Rider
going to try Speedway! He was a good rider as it turned out. Harry
Ken Maley they were visionaries! Judy, Ken's first wife was a fixture
his side as I'm sure "Rose" was today. I'm sorry that I had not kept up
with my old friends of the 50's, 60's, and 70's as for the 80's when I
moved to KC it's been
nothing compared to the
Motorcycling of yesteryears!
This year I went to Topeka Kansas for a Formula USA Half-Mile got to
Mike and Sandra Kidd. I had to leave before the action started as we
a Late Model Stock Car Race the same night 80 miles away. The Vintage
looked great it was truly a walk back in time.
Thanks for the email!
Pattie Prestidge Frost
Dist.36 Scorer from the 70's
Flattrack Pattie to my friends!
Like so many people, I
got to know (and like) Ken
races. Last year, while attending
the Old Timers
in Oregon, myself and a couple of
lobby when Ken walked up. We had
no idea that he was
be there. I didn't hardly
recognize him in that suit
Even though it had been some time
since we last met,
recognized me. We all talked and
joked until it was
sit down to dinner. During the
course of the
racing notables got up and spoke
about the "old
days" and what they were doing
now. When it was Ken's
turn, he spoke about all of the
really neat people
he had met
over the years through his
involvement with Dirt
Speedway racing. He told us about
his travels all
world and some of the projects he
had been involved
However, he definitely caught
another gear along
noticeable rise in RPM, when he
his wife to be while he was
working in China. It was
to all in attendance that she was
the true love of
He ended his talk by saying that
every year since
he met her
were "The happiest years of my
life". In closing,
would say this: If a man's wealth
can be measured
number of friends he made over
the years, then Ken
has to be
one of the richest people in
Marlyn 'Thunder' Klunder
left Howard, SD in 1958
went to LA with his KR
to mix it up with the big boys
weekly at Ascot. His
home made shoe soon wore out
and he had Ken make him up a new
one in the pits at
Ascot in 1959.
That shoe lasted through his pro
career. In 2000
called Ken and sent his 1959 shoe back
to Maley for repair. When he got
it back there was
an invoice from Ken that read
'No charge..under warrenty'! Ken
WAS a great man and
will truly missed. God speed 'Shoe Man'!
I Started Racing Flat
Track in North Idaho 25
ago at a track
called Huter Speedway in Couer d'
moved to Socal in 81 and
then started racing at Corona
raceway it was there
that my father was
introduced to Ken and had Ken
build a shoe for me.
I can remember when
I got home from school that my
father was so
and taken back
by Ken that we made a special
trip out to the ranch
for me to meet him,
I was only 11. Since then I
graduated to Speedway
and raced Juniors for
may years and then went to the
500's when I retired
from racing in 89.
Over the years I had kept in
contact with Ken not
as much as I would
have like to but every time we
talked it took me
to my childhood
and memories and the remember
when? You always
felt like family when
you were with Ken. He
will be missed.
It's really great that you built a Ken Maely page. I just
it today while searching for old flat-track photos.
He was one of a
kind. The first
time I met him was in 1969 at Sacramento. I was a brand new
Junior rider, with zero experience on the Mile. (I was able to skip
Novice based on other racing experience)
Ken noticed my pretty
which was a homebuilt job, loaned to me by a buddy. Ken then
me a pretty good (and very graphic) friendly lecture on what would
happen if my shoe caught a rut. He then loaned me a brand new
shoe that he had in the truck, no charge, no sales pitch.
When I returned it to him
later in the
day, he told me to "keep it until you can afford a new
one". I was stunned. That's the kind of
guy he was,
as everyone who met him already knows. Ken really did care about the
riders, even us unknown newbies.
Ken was also fiercely
his tricks of the trade. I was a welder, so was curious about
what kind of rods he used on the bottom of the shoes. While
were talking, I took a peek at the stack of rods he had. The
of rod he was using usually had an I.D. number stamped on the side,
showing the alloy. To keep his secret for building such
long-lasting shoes, he had carefully ground-off the I.D. on every
single rod. He just kinda grinned when I noticed
Neat guy. He'll
OBITUARY - Ken Maely
By Scott Rousseau Cycle News
A Tremendous Legacy, A Good
Ken Maely, the original
hot shoe man, died on
October 9, in Riverside, California, after suffering a heart attack. He
Known the world over for
his manufacturing and
of the steel shoe or “hot shoe,” the Wisconsin-born Maely got his start
as a motorcycle racer in the Midwest flat track hotbed known as the
circuit” in the ‘40s, after World War II. But he soon realized the need
for an improvement upon the skid shoes that riders were fashioning out
of automobile parts for their left boots at the time.
“It used to be the big
rush after the races to go
to the junkyard to get all the bumper ends you possibly could because
would last you for about a month or so,” Maely once said while filming
a segment of the now defunct television show The Exciting World of
and Beauty. “In about 1948 I started making my own shoe, after that,
I’d loan someone my shoe, why… After you sell someone a shoe, he is not
just a customer he’s a good friend from then on.”
Demand was so great that
Maely quit racing to
on his hot shoe-building business full-time. He moved to a ranch in
California, to set up shop, where he continued to build shoes, and also
created a training facility for flat track and speedway racers to hone
their skills. Ken Maely Hot Shoes were worn by several AMA Grand
Champions, most notably Kenny Roberts - who went on to win the AMA
in 1973 and ’74 before going on to win the World 500cc Road Racing
three times, from 1978-1980, and with whom Maely had a great
Maely was recognized for his shoe work when he was inducted into the
Hall of Fame in 1999.
World Speedway Champions
such as five-time
Ove Fundin of Sweden and Americans Bruce Penhall, Bobby Schwartz and
Hamill all wore Ken Maely Hot Shoes at various times in their careers;
Hamill won his first speedway race as a junior at the Maely Ranch in
Maely so enjoyed the sport of speedway that in 1977 he began to develop
his own speedway engine. Architecture from from that engine was later
in products from other engine manufacturers, such as Husqvarna. His
efforts also earned him numerous government contracts with the Republic
of China, where he made frequent visits to assist in setting up
and assembly plants.
Maely, who had just
underwent heart surgery about
weeks ago, had battled and defeated cancer and other heart problems
in life. He remained a constant fixture at West Coast flat track
where he continued to sell and do repair work on hot shoes. At home, he
could always be counted on to be running his water truck every hour on
the hour for the riders who showed up to practice at his training track.
It was also at home that
Maely recently won one
his toughest battles, when he fought and won a legal challenge to keep
his training facility open even as a housing development was
on the property. When asked at a recent practice day why he didn’t just
throw in the towel and sell his property, most likely for millions,
replied, “If I do that, then where all these kids go to learn how to
Funeral arrangements are
pending. We will bring
more information as it becomes available.
Ken Maely will truly be
The above messages were
on the Flat Track Forum.
According to Ken Maely's
son, Mike, there will be
bench racing session and memorial celebration
for the late hot shoe builder and
icon, who passed away last Thursday.
The event is scheduled
to take place at Bassani
2900 E. La Jolla, in Anaheim, California, 92806,
on Saturday, October 25, from
noon to 6.p.m. There
will be refreshments and food available, but the event is BYOB.
Attendees are requested
to please RSVP to Mike
via the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Held at Bassani
Manufacturing on October 25th,