Off-Road Legend Carl Cranke Passes

Cycle News Staff | November 16, 2020

Seven-time ISDE gold medalist Carl Cranke passed away, November 14, after battling cancer.

Off-Road Legend Carl Cranke Passes
Carl Cranke was a seven-time ISDT gold medalist and former Penton racer. Photo: Lee Sutton

Cranke was perhaps best known for his off-road-riding prowess but was multi-talented on anything two wheels. The Northern Californian started off racing dirt track but eventually shifted gears to motocross and then off-road racing, and his name eventually became synonymous with the Penton and KTM brand in the 1970s, and he had a major part in their development as a factory-supported racer. In all, Cranke competed in 10 ISDT events in the 1960s and ‘70s, earning seven gold medals and two silver medals.

Riding for Penton led to him to being offered the job as West Coast service manager for the company.

Cranke also spent some time racing Yamahas late in his career. He officially retired from professional racing in 1981. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.

“I grew up in the absolute best time possible,” Cranke told Cycle News in 2017. “There’ll never be another era like that where people could just have fun. I also feel so fortunate to have grown up and been part of John Penton and his company.”

Visit our Archives page featuring Carl Cranke. CN

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