Racing Legend Gene Romero Passes Away

Larry Lawrence | May 13, 2019

Racing Legend Gene Romero Passes Away

Gene Romero, the 1970 AMA Grand National Champion and winner of the 1975 Daytona 200, passed away on Sunday according to numerous reports from friends and a notice from the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

He was 71.

Racing Legend Gene Romero Passes Away


Romero won 12 AMA nationals during his 16-year racing career. He was one of the early riders to bring sponsorship into the sport from outside the motorcycling industry. In 1970, Romero won the prestigious AMA Most Popular Rider of the Year Award.

The biggest win of Romero’s career was the 1975 Daytona 200. He rode the first half of the race in fourth place on his factory Yamaha. Then he poured on the speed, passing Giacomo Agostini and Steve Baker and taking the lead when Steve McLaughlin crashed. Romero cruised to victory for his only win in 14 Daytona 200 starts.

Romero also headed up Honda’s factory flat track racing team in the early-to-mid-1980s and later ran a flat track series on the West Coast.

Romero was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.

“He’s going to be missed,” said lifelong friend and fellow racer David Aldana. “I saw him just a month ago at the Trailblazers banquet. He was putting on a good face, but I could tell he wasn’t feeling well. Cheri (Gene’s wife) asked me to talk to him about going to see a doctor, but Gene was pretty stubborn and maybe he didn’t want to hear what they were going to tell him.

“I talked to him on the phone just a week ago and he’d finally gone in. He told me he had had COPD and that maybe they were going to have to take out one of his lungs. But then his condition got worse and he went downhill fast. It’s sad we lost him, but I’m glad he didn’t linger in pain for a long time.

“He was a great guy, people loved him and he had a major influence on the sport of motorcycle racing.”

Gene is survived by his wife Cheri and son Geno.

Larry Lawrence | Archives Editor In addition to writing our Archives section on a weekly basis, Lawrence is another who is capable of covering any event we throw his way.