Joe Petrali was an amazing sportsman in the world of motorcycle racing and record-setting in the early years from 1918 to 1937. He was a team member, designer, competitor, and always the man to beat on a motorcycle. He was a trend-setter, and a national and world champion. Many consider him the GOAT of motorcycle competition. Joe rode on factory teams for Indian, Excelsior, and Harley-Davidson on both the track and hill climb. He set the motorcycle land speed world record on Daytona Beach in 1937. He was a flight engineer and chief mechanic for Howard Hughes. Mr. Hughes relied heavily on Joe Petrali. On November 2nd 1947, after the first taxi trials, Howard Hughes removed the press and the original copilot from his great sea plane, the "Spruce Goose", and left them on the shore of Long Beach Harbor. With Joe Petrali, one of the remaining crew on board, Howard Hughes flew the "Spruce Goose" into history. Joe headed up the pit crew for Sam Hanks' winning Indy car at the Indianapolis 500 in 1957. Joe Petrali held AMA lifetime membership card No. 1, was the chief timekeeper at the Bonneville Salt Flats Raceway, and was a master of economy runs. Joe's legacy and what he brought to the racing world is still in use today, and he is remembered as a valuable contributor and innovator to the industry of racing.
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