TrailBlazers
TrailBlazers - We are a social organization of pioneer motorcycling enthusiasts. Meeting annually since 1940.

Gary Conrad: 2015 Trailblazers Hall of Fame Inductee

The 71st annual Trailblazers banquet is now less than 60 days away. On Saturday, April 11th the sold-out event will begin at 3:00 p.m. with pre-banquet activities in the courtyard of the Carson Center featuring the Tom Cates Memorial Bike Show presented by The Early Years of Motocross Museum and Hagerty Insurance. Some call it the best part of the annual gathering with the chance to catch up with old friends and re-tell those many great bench-racing stories. As we always do, when go inside for dinner we will also be honoring some great motorcycling legends, both living and others who have passed on. One of our posthumous honorees will be Gary Conrad.

Gary Lee Conrad was born in Los Angeles in 1943. His family moved to Palmdale when he was 12 and he lived there for 58 years. In 1960, he graduated from Palmdale High School where he met the love of his life, Linda.  Gary served in the National Guard for eight years and worked most of his life as a New Construction Plumber. But, his greatest passion was motorcycle riding.  

He started riding at the age of 12 on a stripped-down 165cc Harley-Davidson. He soon moved on to a 200cc Dot. Gary couldn’t wait to race and in 1957 he entered his first Hare & Hound in the 200cc class. Gary was hooked and eventually entered 35 desert races, and four TT Scrambles, in 1957. He took 9 first place class finishes, 2 second place finishes, and 7 thirds. Nick Nicholson was importing Greeves motorcycles into the Western USA and offered Gary a ride. His first race on the new 250cc Greeves in 1959 foreshadowed what was to come. He took third place at the Orange County Little Bear Run. He was almost always on the podium whenever he raced for the next decade. Gary compiled an amazing record in the 1960’s riding Hare & Hounds and Hare Scrambles events. He won the 250cc class an astounding 123 times! He also won 16 events on the 360cc Greeves in the 500cc class, as well as 13 class wins on the Dot and the early Greeves 200cc.


Gary reached the top of his sport by winning the District 37 overall #1 plate, the fabled 1X in 1965. 1965 was a great year for Gary, in addition to his class wins; he won the overall at the Antelope Ramblers Hare Scrambles in September, as well as the Checkers Hare & Hound in October. He took those overall victories on his 250cc Greeves at a time when Open class bikes ruled the desert.

When Suzuki decided to market their first motocross bike in the USA, they created the TM250. This model was the first production Japanese motocrosser and only 200 were produced worldwide, with the USA getting 65 in early 1968. To prove it’s off-road worth, the American Suzuki distributor hired Preston Petty, Walt Axthelm, as well as Gary Conrad as riders to showcase the new machine.

Gary was a great ambassador for off-road riding. He rode his dirt bikes to work on trails he’d map out to each job site and encouraged all his friends and family to ride and helped many get their start in the sport. He retired from racing in 1970, however he continued to love riding with his family and friends and continued to compete in Dual Sport and Trials events.

Gary passed away Monday, February 4, 2013 in Lancaster, California at the age of 69. The Trailblazers fondly remember Gary Conrad and welcome him to the 2015 Hall of Fame.

Published Tuesday, Feb 17 2015

71st Annual Trailblazers Banquet 
April 11, 2015

IS SOLD OUT!!

Send an email to the address below to be put on the waiting list.

EVENT SCHEDULE

3:00 p.m. - Tom Cates Memorial Bike Show Opens***

6:00 p.m. - Banquet Doors Open

7:00 p.m. - Program & Dinner begins

***Motorcycles for the bike show need to arrive between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.