THE KRETZ RACING LEGACY | FATHER & SON AMA HALL OF FAMERS

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From “A Day at the Races” by S. Clayton Moore–

During the pinnacle of Ed Kretz Jr.’s career in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he raced alongside some of the world’s most famous racers, pushing Indians and Triumphs to the very edge of their capabilities. His racing buddies included screen legends like Steve McQueen and Lee Marvin, television stars like Jay Leno, and world-famous racers like the “Indian Wrecking Crew” of Bobby Hill and Bill Tuman.

Perhaps no one in Kretz’ orbit was more famous than his father, Ed Kretz Sr., who won the very first Daytona road race in 1937. Known as the “Iron Man” for his amazing endurance on a bike, the elder Kretz was the greatest motorcycle racer of his time and one of the sport’s first major stars.

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Ed Kretz Jr. (on the left) and Ed Kretz Sr. (on the right)

Ed Kretz Jr. (on the left) and Ed Kretz Sr. (on the right) on their trusty Triumphs.

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Ed Kretz was born in 1911 in San Diego, and started riding motorcycles out of sheer necessity during the Depression. Another legendary racer, Floyd Clymer, saw his talent and managed to get the young rider to race a new Indian motorcycle. As he progressed through the racing circuit, Kretz quickly became one of the best-known racers in the country. He stood at only 5’8″, but weighed a muscular 185 pounds, and used his sheer physical strength in a style no one had ever seen before.

“My dad was strong like a bull,” his son remembered. “He drove a hay truck and would load and unload the bales by himself. He was shorter than I was, but he was stocky.”¬†That strength served the elder Kretz well during his most famous race, the inaugural Daytona 200 in 1937. The race was already well-known in its first year and went on to become the single most important motorcycle race in America.

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Ed Kretzman AKA “Ironman” racing #88 for Triumph¬†

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Motorcycle racing great "Iron Man" Ed Kretz Sr. on his trusty Triumph.

Motorcycle racing great Ed Kretz on the legendary Indian.

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