Daytona 200, Circa 1952

Parting Shots

| July/August 2009

At Daytona in 1952 a team from Janesville, Wis., consisted of (left to right) R.L. Patterson, crew chief, John Haskell riding a BSA Gold Star, “Bud” Harder the local BSA and Triumph dealer and sponsor of the duo, and Fran Shackleford on a Triumph. John Haskell was probably one of the most colorful characters of the era. He was a self described motorcycle vagabond. He was originally from Lakeland, Fla., and in the late Forties a group of bikers from Janesville befriended him in Daytona, and suggested he move to Janesville and go to work at the local Fisher Body plant. He moved and over the years became a local icon. He raced the BSA, rode the wall of death on the carny circuit, sampled a little weed and did numerous other things that were unheard of in those days. He really was a one-of-a-kind character. — Jim Walter, Sandpoint, Idaho
7/21/2011 11:17:46 AM

I worked with John Haskell at Sammy Packard's Yamaha of Daytona in the late 60's. He was chief mechanic there. He got re-married and lived on a PT boat down at the Daytona boat basin off the Halifax River. John's transp at the time was a little 80cc Yamaha that he used to race on the local Florida road race circuit. He had a small dog (can't remember the name) who used to ride with him up on the padded gas tank, all over Daytona. He was a very talented mechanic and taught me a tremendous amount about motorcycle repairs and engine rebuilding/tuning. He was a genuinely nice person. He kept his past pretty quiet (didn't talk much about it) but I knew he had some notoriety and fame in the AMA racing. I'm guessing John would have been in his late 40's to mid 50's in about 1967 or thereabouts. He was rebuilding a Matchless G50 and also an AJS racing bike at the time.

Dan Haskell
4/18/2011 11:49:46 PM

If there's anyone out there who knows more about this John Haskell, could you let me know? My biological Grandfather's name was John Haskell, originally from FL, moved to Janesville, met my Grandmother there, worked at a body plant, used to race bikes. I think this may be him, but I don't know much about him other than what I've said here.

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