Throwback Thursday: Mike Harth’s Triumphant Return

Larry Lawrence | June 27, 2019

Throwback Thursday: Mike Harth’s Triumphant Return

Henny Ray Abrams photo

In this week’s Throwback we wind back the clock 26 years to July of 1993 and the AMA/CCS EBC Brakes Endurance Challenge at Road Atlanta. The endurance race was part of the big AMA Superbike weekend at Road Atlanta, and one of the feel-good stories of the event was the triumphant return to racing of Mike Harth. Just 14 months earlier Harth had a sickening crash, head first into the wall at triple-digit speed on the high banks at Charlotte Motor Speedway during an AMA National. Those who witnessed the crash said they were sure at that moment that Harth would not survive the impact.

While he was seriously injured in the Charlotte crash, Harth made a miraculous comeback. In July of ’93 the AMA paddock at Road Atlanta was thrilled to see Harth, not only back at a race, but in his leathers and ready to race. In a story that would have made even a Hollywood screenwriter blush, Harth not only competed in his first race back, he won! Teaming with Takahiro Mori on the Moto Liberty/Nankai Suzuki Harth and Mori won the GTU class of the AMA/CCS EBC Brakes Endurance Challenge. Harth rode the final stint of the race and brought the bike home to victory, taking the checkered flag in blazingly hot conditions.

Harth, who suffered with heart stress during the race, graciously credited his teammate for being the main reason they enjoyed victory that day.

“I did all I could and I want to thank Mori for taking up the slack,” Harth said on the podium. “He’s a hell of a rider. Mori might have had a little more battle in him than me. I just wanted to finish the race.”

In the photo you see Harth in the center spraying champagne on the second-place finishers Michael Taylor (also spraying champagne) and David Estok from the Yamaha of Leesburg team. Mori is standing next to Harth, ducking to avoid the spray getting in his eyes. On the left of the photo are Northwest Racing’s Dean Mizdal (with the champagne) and Andy Fenwick (holding the trophy). Mizdal and Fenwick finished third in the race.

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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.