RIP Ray Price
It’s with a heavy-heart that we announce the passing of AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Ray Price, a pioneer in motorcycle drag racing. Renowned designer, engineer and the first drag racer to ever have a sponsorship from Harley-Davidson, Ray Price died has on Dec. 16, 2015, at the age of 78.
Price is considered the “Father of the Funnybike.” His illustrious career with racing was marked by some of the iconic design features that we’ve all come to know and love in drag racing; Price was responsible for developing wheel-bars on motorcycles as well as the first-ever two-speed automatic racing transmission for drag bikes. Its conception marked the first time motorcycles were ever able to achieve 200 MPH and since then, have become the industry standard of the sport.
Born on a tobacco farm in Johnston County, North Carolina, Price bled American. He served his country four years as a radar specialist in aircraft armament control in the United States Air Force. After buying his first motorcycle in 1963, the two-wheeled bug has sank its teeth in. By 1967 – at the age of 30 – he began his drag racing career aboard a 1966 Harley-Davidson Sportster.
To the chagrin of his competitors, he dominated the drag bike world upon entering it, amassing a staggering amount of wins, records and championship titles over his illustrious career in the All Harley Drag Racing Association, AMA ProStar/AMA Dragbike, and International Hot Rod Association series.
For his accomplishments, Ray Price was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame as well as the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
In 1973, Price opened the doors of Precision Cycle in Raleigh, N.C., where he shared his wealth of racing knowledge with the general public. In 1981, he acquired the Harley-Davidson franchise and his already well known store became Ray Price Harley-Davidson. His dealership is one of the most successful in the Southeastern US and also houses the legendary Harley Drag Racing Museum on the second floor.
All too often in the passing of someone we focus on the loss. Let us not forget that achievements can never be stripped away and the legacy of Price will not be soon forgotten – his name forever tied and canonized with motorcycle drag racing. He established himself as one of the greats early on in his career, contributing a handful of innovations that are still in use today and will certainly be built upon in the future. To the friends and family of Ray Price, we salute you.