One of the things big time funny car racers did back in the '70s was hit
the desert to test their mettle on dirt bikes. Here's TV Tommy Ivo's hilarious account of his ONE experience with that gang. Bp
Here's "another fine mess" Don Prudhomme got me into. He says
to me, "Why don't you buy a dirt bike and come riding with us?"
What a "fish" I am sometimes -- I did. When we first got out to
the desert, we were just riding around on the flat land warming up the cars,
oops, bikes. I saw Kenny Safford coming around in a big sweep from the left
of me. I thought he was going to ride up along side of me and was looking
for a drag race. WRONG! The CLOT ran right into the side of me, T bone
What was he thinking? Well anyway, he got the worst of it. Ha, Haaaa. Oh,
he moved me around like wheelstander that had a brake on one back wheel lock
up in the lights with the wheels off the ground, of course. You know, a
115-pound rider on a Husquevarna dirt bike doesn't offer much resistance.
But, and here comes that but again, his front wheel folded over like he hit
a guard rail and spit him off the top of his ride, similar to a gerbil being
shot out of a cannon.
Look at the picture. The knees in the air in the middle of the group
belong to Kenny "Emerson Fittipaldi" Safford, lying flat on his
back. "Little guys rule the world," 115 lbs. or not. Taa Daa! Note
"The Worm" (at this period, he was starting to grow fangs and
become the awesome "Snake") Prudhomme has his hand cupped over
describing to Safford how he had just flipped over like this. (As though
Safford didn't know anything had happened. Duh!) "You were great,"
said Don. "You should have seen the way you bounced when you hit the
ground." And I have my helmet off laying on the ground, in reverence,
saying, "Geez, I didn't kill him, did I?"
The paint on my helmet put a time frame on Safford's handiwork. (How did
he ever get a license to drive a dragster?) It's got the red and white
blotches on it. I was using it while driving the red and white giraffe paint
job car at that time. You see how these biker sharks suck you in to making a
fool of you? They're all out there in the leathers and fancy doo da
accessories. And I have my ol' race car helmet and an old boondocks army
jacket on. Does anyone smell me being fished in?
Well they didn't kill me off that way, so just to add insult to injury,
we went off hill climbing for a while. And, at his suggestion, I went off
with the "Worm" pioneering around over hill and dale. (Now I know
why they say the problem with being a pioneer, is that they get arrows
(cactus) in their ass.) Being one of "those guys" that Pat Foster
has talked about who couldn't ride bikes, I now know they suckered me out
there strictly for the kill.
My bike stalled half way up a hill. Actually, it was closer to a leaning
cliff. And I couldn't get it started on the side of the "cliff."
So Prudhomme says, "Just turn it around toward downhill and I'll give
you a "little push" to get it started." AND I FELL FOR IT! So
I pointed it down the fire up road and Prudhomme's "little push"
felt like a push trunk almost ran over the top of me. I whipped out the
clutch and made a pass down the side of the mountain that would make Evil
Knievel's crash at Caesar's Palace look like a walk in the park!
And that was the last time the "The Sucker" (me) went bike
riding. I sold the bike and learned my lesson -- that God put
"four" wheels and roll bars on racing things for a reason. NO! You
wouldn't catch me on a drag bike for all the tea in China. In fact, you
won't find me driving race cars any more either. I HIT THE CURBS WHEN I PARK
TV Tom Ivo