"The Van Etheridge Album"
(bio written by his friend Mike Wheeler)
Van Etheridge began his racing career in 1971 after being a motorcycle enthusiast and riding street and trail bikes in his hometown of Wilson, NC. Van's love for motorcycles led him to build a passion for flat track racing and the motorcycle business. As an amateur he was his own mechanic, equipment owner, and virtually gave all his efforts to begin attending regional events in Eastern North Carolina and Virginia along with his father, Van B. “Chief” Etheridge.
As we all have had a hero to inspire us in life's pursuits, Van's was the great road racer #25, Cal Rayborn whose stellar career did nothing short of launching Etheridge's desire to one day earn his way into the ranks of the AMA's highest division of being an expert racer. Van donned the #25 as his number, and earned a following of fans in motocross, flat track, and road racing. Flat track was his specialty and he set out to compete in the Class C Professional series earning expert honors by his third year, passing the requirements in the novice and junior classes, and running Short Track, Half-Mile, and Mile events from the Syracuse Mile to the Bul Pen at Daytona's Municipal Stadium, and as far West as the historic Houston Astrodome, and kept the #25 from his junior season on throughout his pro career.
Not only living out his dream to race, Van also juggled his time while becoming a successful dealer owning and managing what would become a lifelong committmant to the motorcycle industry in various ventures such as Van's Bul Pen, Kawasaki of Wilson, Honda-Kawasaki of Wilson, and Cyclemax Superstore which he still sits at the helm today. As the premier member of Avery Davis's racing team for Livewire Electric, Van mentored a young competitor named Will Davis who took on the #25 as an amateur, later becoming a legend and AMA Hall of Famer who carried the National #21 plate with 32 National victories. And Van Etheridge was a great example to follow in racing, always remembering to compete regularly at his home short track in Sharpsburg, NC in addition to all his other efforts in the world of motorcycling.
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