"A Tribute to Earl Myers"
- In the words of his friend Bill Heygster -
Earl Myers was a native Washingtonian growing up in the DC suburbs. He lived in Prince George and Montgomery Counties. He was a veteran of the US Air Force and was married to Diane and had three daughters - Debbie, Dawn and Donna ("Sam"). When Earl wasn't racing one of his real pleasures was being home with the girls and cooking out on the grill. After leaving the military Earl worked at Free State Cycle first at the original shop in Glenmont and then at the Hyattsville location. He worked for a short time for Sonny Routt and finally opened his own shop in Kensington. That shop, Myers Cycle Engineering, is still open today, over thirty-five years later now operated by Steve Silverman. Earl's racing career started when he was in his twenties and was influenced by his older brother Bob and Gary Nixon. Earl did the normal district seven scrambles races and then moved into the AMA pro ranks. He was a nationally ranked novice and amateur rider (at one time the middle pro class was called amateur but later changed to junior which made more sense). Towards the end of his amateur year he was seriously injured at Vista Speedway when he crashed though the guard rail in turn four. He started his expert year with the number 29c and was very competitive running all the mid Atlantic races at Vista, Hightstown, Reading, York, etc. He won two TT races - one at Winchester and the other at Edgewood. At the beginning of his second year he had national number 95 which he used for two years. This number was formerly used by the late great Fred Nix. At Daytona in 1970 Nix's father walked up to Earl at the short track and introduced himself. He asked Earl to take good care of that number. I don't think he ever forgot that.
Also in 1970 Earl rode the Daytona 200. He had ridden the Amateur (junior) 100 miler road race several years earlier and done fairly well. About five or six weeks prior to the 200 Earl was talking about getting something together for Daytona when his brother Bob said something to the effect that maybe his three cylinder Triumph Trident demo bike might work. Well "might" became "go ahead". For the next three weeks Earl, Steve Silverman, myself and anyone else who would help converted this mild mannered street bike into a racer and off to Daytona we went. Terry Arnold who was living in Florida at the time joined us in Daytona and we had a pit crew. Talk about rag-tag racing - we were it - but we did okay. Earl qualified 55th out of 106 entries and finished the race 22nd. Dick Mann won the race on a Honda and all the factory Triumphs and BSA's blew up. Earls' last year of pro racing was 1971 and he had National Number 71. I believe the only time he raced after that was one night at Green's when he showed up for fun and raced a 500 Triumph twin.
Unfortunately the whole thing came to a crushing ending in the autumn of 1973 when Earl died of an accidental gunshot wound while cleaning a pistol. He hung on for a couple weeks after being shot which gave many of us a chance to visit with him. He died at Holy Cross hospital in Silver Spring on November 6, 1973.
Earl Myers was a man's man and a racer's racer. He was also a devoted father, brother and son. He squeezed about as much out of life as possible in 33 years. Earl was a natural leader who was always surrounded by friends and people who wanted to be close to him. He was a great story teller and always fun to be with. I could tell a thousand Earl Myers stories - on second thought maybe just 500 and keep the other 500 to myself. We did have a great time back in the day and when his old friends get together it's amazing how we still talk about him.
Click on photo below to view memorial album