If wealth were measured in career accomplishment, AMA Hall of Famer Preston Petty would be one of the richest men on the planet. If value were determined by the character of a man, he should be considered a national treasure by anyone who has ever swung a leg over a dirtbike.
A man well ahead of his time, Petty was one of the first Americans to compete in the sport of motocross, one of the first to contest the International Six Days Enduro, and he is the inventor of the unbreakable plastic motocross fender that forced the OEMs to embrace a fundamentally different paradigm in the development of their motorcycles forever. So, if you ride dirtbikes, Preston Petty has helped you out by saving you money whether you knew it or not.
The irony is that Petty himself has never been about money or lavish living. In fact, he can almost always be spotted wearing the same blue mechanic’s coveralls regardless of whether he is at the racetrack or at a formal dinner. He has spent his life by being imaginative, inventive, enthusiastic, and tirelessly helping his friends and fellow motorcyclists rather than worrying about how much money he could make from those pursuits. That said, now it’s our turn to not only think about Petty and his wellbeing but also act to help out a man who has dedicated his life to motorcycling and made legendary contributions to its advancement. Recently, Petty has been working to develop a Zero electric motorcycle for dirt track use, a project that could someday have a huge impact on the sport’s viability in the long run.
Now 75, Petty suffers from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulomary Disease), and he was recently admitted to the hospital after he was found to be nonresponsive in the RV that’s parked in a Southern California crane yard that he calls home. He was diagnosed with severe malnourishment and pneumonia, and while his condition has since improved, he is going to require more constant medical assistance in the future. Living off of a small social security check and whatever small side jobs he can find, Petty cannot afford medical insurance.
Petty is far too proud to ask for help himself, so some friends of his have stepped in and set up a gofundme campaign to assist him. The goal of the campaign is to raise $100,000 to replace his deteriorated RV and the loaner pickup truck that has over 400,000 miles on the odometer, and to help defray his short- and long-term medical costs. According to the text on the gofundme site, 100% of all proceeds will go straight to Petty himself. To date, the campaign has generated close to 10% of its total goal in less than 20 hours. That’s encouraging, but there is still a long way to go before the goal can be achieved.
Petty may be down, but he’s not out. Not yet. He is also working toward getting back into the motorcycle business by manufacturing motorcycle grips, but the process is ongoing. Contributing to the gofundme campaign set up by his friends is also intended to help him through until he can get his new business up and running, a process that is expected to take about a year.
Anyone who knows Preston Petty also knows that there isn’t anything in his power that he wouldn’t do to help them achieve their goals. Whether motorcycle industry members, fans of American motorcycling history, dirtbike enthusiasts, or all of the above, it is in our power to help reach this goal for him.
We can do it!