BMX riding was just the start of a life long career

John Plafreman #11, leads the pack at Parris Raceway, CA in 1980. Inset is John today,

John Palfreyman, Jr., of Eagle Point has led an interesting and exciting life of racing.

At the beginning, John was involved in BMX racing, when the sport was in its infancy. He spent ten years using his own power to move himself over the track. During that time he amassed a number of trophies and as a reward, he was later inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame along with current racer Matt Hoffman and the entire 2008 Olympic team. 2008 was the first ever year for BMX racing in the Olympics and John says it was a thrill to share the honor with these newer racers. The ceremony took place at the Chula Vista Olympic training center.

As the years went by, John shifted his priority to motorcycle racing on the motocross circuit. He raced all over the West Coast from Arizona to Washington, with stops in California, Oregon, Nevada and many other places, wherever there are dirt tracks. His specialty was side car racing, where the team has a driver and sidecar rider who plays a very important part in keeping the motorcycle on the track.

At the invitation of a European sponsor, John traveled overseas to race the circuit there beginning about 1980. He lived in Holland and raced on the EML Sidecar factory sponsored team. While there he raced in countries all over Europe. John says that motor sports and soccer are the main attractions there. He enjoyed the ten years he spent there and had very little difficulty because “everyone speaks English, except in France. There you have to make do with sign language.”

Wrecks are a big part of motorsports, and he had his share. But, he admits that other than losing a couple of teeth, he came through it unscathed. The best finish he had on the world tour was third and his biggest thrill was standing under the American flag in England after an eighth place finish there. World Cup standings are based on points, much the same as NASCAR.

During the racing seasons, John lived in Holland, but in the off seasons he lived in California. For most of 15 years, he worked that offseason time into doing stunts for such movies as Cobra, High Riders and a couple of TV series that fans might recognize: Heart of the City and Fear Factor.

In 1992, John moved to the Rogue Valley to a piece of property that his dad had bought many years before. Another event at the time changed his perspective. His son was born, and he felt it was time to give up the thrill of riding and settle into something different. Now, it is the memories of living in the fast lane that pumps the adrenaline into his system.

 

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