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"A Tribute to George Allen "Al" Hennen"
- In the words of his traveling buddy and friend George Ireland -
My brother and I first met Al when as a 14 year old kid he wandered into the parts department at Ken Dixon Honda/Bultaco in Waldorf, Md. He was a very polite young kid looking for parts for his Honda Z50 mini bike. Reaching the shop by riding his bike on the railroad tracks behind his home he quickly became a regular face that we looked forward to seeing daily. Soon we hired Al for the summer to do set ups on Z50's and CT70's, he became our "go to guy" (gopher) in the service department and enjoyed every minute of it! I remember one day I asked him if he'd like to go to the races with us at Greens and of course he jumped at the chance. Shortly there after he purchased his 125 Bultaco Pursang and began hitching rides to any race track that my van was aimed.
He and I would spend many a late summer night in his father George's garage preparing our bikes for the upcoming races. Jackie, his wonderful mom, would fix us dinner and his little sisters would bring the food out to the garage. I'll never forget how welcome my family always felt when we were at the Hennen home.
Al enjoyed racing so much that one fall day just after the opening of a new school year he had me bring our race bikes to his classroom for a "Show and Tell" on how he had spent his summer vacation, his talk lit that classroom up! Next season we hit every race we could from Brewers to Greens, Richmond Short Track, Dorsey, Elkton, Kilmarnock, Windy Hills, Winchester, Charlotte Court House and more! We put so many miles on my van that it finally died in Mike Eades driveway that year.
To know Al was to like him and there were few if any that didn't like the kid. He developed a wonderful sense of humor which helped get him over some tough moments as he dealt with his daily diabetes injections. Al moved up quickly to sportsman expert and soon became one of the "Guys to Beat" when he'd show up. His favorite tracks were Greens and Eddie Boomhowers Wednesday Night Richmond Short Track, but he'd go anywhere to race. In 1974 he earned the #3 plate in District 7 Dirt Track. I have no doubt that had he not lost his life in a single car accident early in 1976 that Al would have made that #1 plate his. Rest in peace my friend and traveling buddy, I think about you often.
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