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Ballad of Elmer

dale singleton in pig farmer outfit

AMA's 1-on-1 with Dale

World of Sport Superbike Challenge, 1979

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Timeline of Dale Singleton's Life

***some list items may not be in correct sequential order.

1955 –

  • August 27th - Born, Dalton Georgia

1967 –

  • First interest in motorcycle racing.
  • C.E.Singleton brings home Rupp Minibike as a present for Dale - his first motorcycle.

1969 –

  • C.E. Singleton buys motorcycle dealership.
  • Dale gets Suzuki 80.
  • First competition: Hillclimb event, Cleveland TN on Suzuki 80; finished 5th.
  • Began sportsman racing competition on dirt tracks (moto-cross, flat tracks, and scrambles) Gained recognition and became a favorite on a 100cc bike in short track events.

1972 –

  • Won an AMA amateur championship title

1973 –

  • Graduated High School
  • AMA District 9 Dirttrack Champion – won on Suzuki 80
  • Won first road race at Daytona in the 100cc sportsman event. There, Dale met sponsor Taylor White of White Construction Co. and confirmed a sponsorship for advancement to professional status. Popularity and recognition spread as he continued to dominate amateur dirt tracks in the southeastern area.

1974 –

  • Turned Novice professional in both roadracing and flat track classification.
  • Won first amateur race at Daytona on newly sponsored 250cc bike, then finished 3rd on 1973 winner in the 100cc division. Immediately began favoring road race events and finished as the 2nd highest nationally ranked novice. Following finishes at Daytona:
    • Daytona: 6th
    • Atlanta: 2nd
    • Loudon: 1st
    • Laguna Seca: 3rd
    • Ontario: 2nd
    These successes enabled Dale to move into the Junior class, competing on the fastest and most complicated machinery in American motorcycle racing. His novice flat track bike was continually breaking down in AMA eastern regional series. As a result, he decided to discontinue efforts in dirt racing completely and focus on road racing.

1975 –

  • Rookie expert season at 20 years old.
  • Qualified for a front row position at Daytona in 750cc division. Dale stalled the bike on the start of the race and fell to the rear of the grid. In the next seven laps, Dale passed the entire field of 68 racers and began leading the race. His aggressive pace to take a comfortable lead hurt him in the end, as his bike sputtered from low fuel and he lost the lead just yards from the checkered flag. This race is remembered as one of Dale's most spectacular performances.
  • After Daytona, Dale went on to to capture one of his winningest weekend events, sweeping the Laguna Seca circuit. After topping the entire Junior field, Dale won his first event on a 750cc street bike. In the 250cc lightweight Experts event, he was the first Junior rider to finish.
  • At the last National of the year at Ontario Motor Speedway, Dale suffered a tire failure and crashed after leading the race with only four laps to go. After this event, Dale stood as the highest Nationally ranked Junior.

1976 –

  • Moved into the Expert ranking - the highest professional level
  • Finished first ever Daytona 200
  • Raced in every National event this year.
  • Competed and won many non-pro events in order to sharpen skills against other Experts.
  • Gained recognition as serious competitor in WERA events --accumulated multiple WERA wins

1977 –

  • Acquired a newer, more competitive bike.
  • 3rd in the Sear Point Circuit, celebrated first Grand National victory celebrations
  • First heat race win in Expert at Pocono, PA
  • Second heat race win in Expert at Riverside, CA
  • After experiencing his first mechnical failure due to failty ignition, AMA selected Dale to participate in restrictor plate testing in an effort to reduce the unbearable horsepower in the 190mph TZ750's.
  • Impressed with laptimes, Goodyear invited Dale to join them in tire testing efforts at Daytona Speedway. His mechanical inclination proved valuable and resulted in many design refinements.
  • Completed the season as 4th ranked National Expert behind the then 500cc world champion Kenny Roberts, 1978 early year point leader Skip Aksland, and former number one plate holder and Daytona winner Gene Romero.

1978 –

  • Won WERA's National Final - West Palm Beach, FL
  • Topped the Mid-Ohio and Pocono rounds.
  • Qualified for a front-row starting position at Daytona among factory entries.
  • Selected for Transatlantic Trophy Match Race Series in England.
  • July - Cycle News appearance
  • Competed in Imola, Italy; Paul Ricard, France; --3rd fastest qualifier
  • September 3rd - Won first Grand National roadracing championship.
  • Invited to compete in International Cup of the Nations among the world's top 35
  • 2nd highest ranking in AMA's Grand National Championship Series.

1979 –

  • Total events: 14 in 6 countries
  • Daytona 200 - winner, 'Elmer' the pig was introduced as mascot; Elmer's recognition in the winner's circle triggered a media explosion that became a valuable publicity label for years to follow.
  • Member of U.S. team in Transatlantic Match Race Series, England
  • Competed as Honda factory team rider at SUZUKA 8-Hr International Endurance event, Japan
  • Osterreichring, Austria - FIM World Championship; qualified 6th, finished 4th - only American in event.
  • Mosport Canada - winner Victoria Day Sprints
  • Loudon, NH - Winston Pro Series Roadrace; 4th finish
  • Hockenheimring, W. Germany - Weltmeisterschaft Formel 750; 4th place finish - only American in event.
  • Mosport Canada - winner Castrol GP of Canada
  • August 3rd - Article in Citizen News on Dale in Japan

1980 –

  • Total events: 21 in 8 countries
  • Daytona 200 - 2nd place finish
  • Member, Transatlantic Match Race Series - England, 2nd highest scoring U.S. entrant.
  • Pocono Winston Pro Series roadrace - winner
  • Castrol GP of Canada roadrace - winner
  • Labatt's Victoria Day Sprints, Canada - 2nd place finish
  • Imola 200, Imola Italy (Europe's premier roadracing event) - qualified 5th, finished 7th
  • France Circuit Paul Ricard - 7th place finish
  • Belgium GP Circuit Zolder - 12th place finish
  • Dutch TT Assen GP - 17th place finish
  • Chimay, Belgium International - 3rd place finish
  • Silverstone England GP - 11th place finish
  • Tubbergen, Holland International - 5th place finish
  • Ammerzoden, HOlland International - 4th place finish
  • Hockenheimring, W. Germany International - 4th place finish
  • Goodyear tire development testing, Daytona International Speedway
  • June 11th - Citizen News appearance

1981 –

1982 –

1983 –

  • Analyst for Daytona 200 television coverage with host Dave Despain - the first live telecast of this event.
  • February 11th - Held press conference to announce intentions to make the move to stock car racing. View the conference agenda here.

1984 –

1985 –

  • September 1st - Returning from a stock car race at Darlinton, Dale and 3 others were killed when their single-engine aircraft lost power and crashed. Dale was piloting the aircraft and had made evasive maneuvers to avoid a thunderstorm. The FAA ruled the accident as "pilot error". Read the AJC article covering the crash here.

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