Former Grand National dirt tracker Elliott Schultz, national number 27, died from a heart attack he suffered at his home on Tuesday. Schultz was 70 years old.
Schultz was best known for his dominating performances at Ascot Park on Shell Thuett’s Royal Enfield, a bike that now sits in the Dan Rouit Flat Track Museum in Clovis, California.
American Honda Superbike tuner Merlyn Plumlee worked with Schultz at Bill Brokaw’s shop in Colorado Springs and had this memory of the man.
“In 1973 [I think] Elliot called Shell, who was building Kenny Roberts Yamaha dirt track bikes at the time, and said he would like to try to qualify for the national mile to be held at the Pikes Peak turf club, which later became Pikes Peak International where we had our road race nationals. Elliot had not raced professionally for something like five or six years, maybe more, and I don’t think he had ever ridden a 750cc dirt tracker. Shell had so much respect for Elliot that he said ‘sure,’ and showed up with a bike for Elliot to ride.
“Now keep in mind this is right in the heyday of dirt track, with pretty much all the heavy hitters in action [Roberts, Gary Scott, Mann, Castro, Romero, etc]. I was a first-year expert at the time and had worked with Elliot for several years at the shop, so I knew him well, and was aware of how fast he once was.
“I was convinced he would not make it out of time trials, as things were really competitive in those days and the field was very big and deep in talent. So, Elliott rolls out for qualifying on a Kenny Roberts replica and promptly goes 10th fastest for the day. Shell’s Yamahas were probably the best handling of any of the Yamaha chassis, but they were still a huge handful, and only a few very talented people could make the Yamaha motor work (Kenny, Hank Scott, Palmgren, Eklund and a very few others), so Elliott’s 10th quick time was really impressive. When he got to the first corner of his heat race and everybody started getting really aggressive, Elliot decided that maybe this wasn’t really the best idea, and he just kind of drifted to the back. But still he had made his point to me and a bunch of other youngsters. He was truly a man on the dirt.”