Pomona, Southern California, the last GNC race on the 2009 calender brings out an interesting mix of Flat Track Folks. Here are two of the greats. Sammy Tanner , "The Flying Flea" and Kevin Atherton, both as serious a racer as you can get. From different eras but both driven to succeed. Race Fans know Sammy by his Flyin' Flea moniker for his whole career. I'm sure it has to do with his size and ability to jump to the front with incredible speed. Later he earned an additional handle, the most auspicious title of "King of Ascot" due to his complete domination at the clay 1/2 mile. How Atherton got to be "Bubbles" is apparently due to his taste for Victory Champagne and Foxy Fillies. The last time I saw Kevin win was at Del Mar when he won the big single race by a straightaway. At Del Mar, this is a completely dominating performance.
Sammy looks more like a Rock N Roll singer now than when he showed up from Texas back in the 60's. In this photo they seem to be discussing Atherton's right lower leg which he almost had ripped off in another Del Mar incident when he got bumped and ended up going under the fence coming out of turn three. The Singles Victory may have been one of the very first races back from that devastating injury and long and excruciating recovery. I did see him ease his very mangled leg into his boot and limp to the line. This incredible determination is what it takes to compete at this highest level of competition.