Bruce Bunch, Rick Hemme, Kyle Fleming

nmachamp
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O.C, CA US
11/16/2010 9:17am
Webcokid wrote:
It's 1982 and Bunch has taken the wholeshot at Saddleback. I see #4 Larry Brooks, and I think Troy Blake #5. Can anyone name the rest...

It's 1982 and Bunch has taken the wholeshot at Saddleback. I see #4 Larry Brooks, and I think Troy Blake #5. Can anyone name the rest? #1 on the Honda? Kawasakis up top? Look at Bunch and notice his upright style. Kinda like the bomber"Barnet". Also, notice he has the power on and is charging hard for Webco. Bunch was so smooth, look at his foot just skimming the ground. Awesome! btw: I know it 82 because he is on the full floater. BTW: Picture: Tom Corley
nmachamp wrote:
I knew i should of went back a little farther in some of these posts.. You Are one of a kind.. And i love the play...
I knew i should of went back a little farther in some of these posts.. You Are one of a kind.. And i love the play by play... Its to bad that all the races youve been to .. And even having a DG. Autograghed poster ... that you stood in line for hours to have me sign. and then cutting my face right out of it.. you dont even recognize, NO.5 Larry Brooks, NO.4 Rick Hemme, And last but not least.. ME!! NO.1 Honda factory rider.. oooops!! IM sorry thats a KAWASAKI... Anyway,, Youll figure it out... GOOD STUFF!!
This will be the last comment on this thread ... About this subject. I Will not bag on you Hal, i have to much respect for you and all the time we have spent together in and out of the announcing tower..You have always been a class act.. I know your just looking out for your buddy, as you should..... And trust and believe, as much as i seem to bag on Larry, Its only because i thought that the person claiming to be Larry ..LB Was a Fake... You could have cleared this up a while back... My opinion of Larry is quite the opposite...He was one of the very few riders who brought out the best in me!! He was the guy i most feared out on the track .. And was always my greatest threat... When i look back on those days, I always remember the greatest battles i ever had, and how bitchin!!!it must have been to watch some of those races.. Larry was the guy who always cleared the most outrageous doubles, or triples, in practice first..... Just when i had myself convinced, that there was no way anyone was going to try these... The first thing i hear when i get back to the pits.. Larry cleared em!!! I could go on for days with Paul Denis and Larry Brooks, stories... And not one SOUR GRAPE,, So lets all move away from this thread , wiith the nonesense... And i will never forget , how truely blessed i was to have been out there on the race track, with Bruce, Rick , and Kyle... I really miss you guys!!
LB
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Murrieta, CA US
11/16/2010 9:56pm
Paul, that was mighty big of you. I shouldn't have reacted so harshly, but it was late and a long day at the test track and the office and then to sit down and read your nasty post. Well, sorry about that.
Glad to hear you have good memories of the days we had great battles. I always tried and raced as hard as I could when we raced together and those were some awesome races. You were a bad dude and thats why I raced as hard as I did against you. Obviously I respected you. I always respected other racers that gave me serious comp and you did just that. And by the way, thanks for comments you wrote about me too.

Peoples life's drift apart with time, but remembering the fun we had when we were raced together are called memories and let's keep them fresh in our minds and in a positive light, because the older we get those days are what will keep us young.

I have great memories of those days of racing, with not only you Paul, but also the reason for this post. Rick, Bruce and Kyle will always hold a special place in my heart.

I know, I know, this doesn't sound like the old Larry Brooks, but I'm much older now and much much.......................smarter? Smarter,,,,,thats kind of funny. Have a nice day, men.

Oh I almost forgot, Hello Hal! Nice to know your still out there buddy. Hope life it treating you well. Hope to talk to you someday again.
bd
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Las Vegas, NV US
11/16/2010 11:01pm
Honestly.... all this thread proves is that Paul Denis and Larry Brooks still love to compete. Great times.... brrrraaaap!

By the way LB.... how does #7 look? I'm rooting for him!
NW#599
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Pasco, WA US
1/13/2011 11:41am

The Shop

NW#599
Posts
258
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Location
Pasco, WA US
1/13/2011 11:41am
NW#599
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Pasco, WA US
1/13/2011 11:43am


Bruce Bunch sitting on Rick Hemme's bike at Ponca City in 1981. Rick Hemme is seen just inside the trailer.
mxrose3
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Delmar, DE US
1/23/2011 10:39am Edited Date/Time 1/23/2011 10:41am
Just saw this picture that was posted by Harry Klemm on facebook. It was taken when the R&D Suzuki's and Team Green's bikes were protested at Ponca City - about the same time tragedy struck. Sad day in Moto history.


mxrose3
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1/23/2011 10:42am
another...
AZ35
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2014
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Location
Glendale, AZ US
2/27/2011 8:39pm
Bump...

Been over a month since anyone posted.

This thread should be a sticky in the "Old School" forum because those kids were the future of moto in the 80's.
oshow
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GA US
4/30/2011 1:12pm
Outstanding thread.
Webcokid
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Aliso Viejo, CA US
5/2/2011 7:51pm
AZ35 wrote:
Bump... Been over a month since anyone posted. This thread should be a sticky in the "Old School" forum because those kids were the future of...
Bump...

Been over a month since anyone posted.

This thread should be a sticky in the "Old School" forum because those kids were the future of moto in the 80's.
Happy Birthday Bruce! Be would have been 45 today. Not sure when Rick kr Kyle were born, I'd like to honor them as well. All these KX80s in the pic are pretty ironic. Bruce won a 79 KX that ultimatley made him much faster. The bike was easy to ride! Anyway, you can blame Team green for the protest and R&d as well. It was ugly! Flat out, the KX 80 in 1983 was the best 80 CC ever assembled. Bruce was a great kid, kinda of radical, an pretty dam funny. Keep it in the red by man, and in top of the pipe! Rudy has a few more machines in the pits that you can blow up!
Moto4T5
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Corona, CA US
5/3/2011 11:47am
Bruce, told me that the KX 80 he won was a piece of shit i know i rode it, then i let him ride my R&D RM80! that is when he became interested in riding Suzuki's and eventually for R&D, that was when he started doing well when he got on the R&D suzuki's. Charlie O.
5/6/2011 8:32am
I remember being at that race. We were driving to the awards ceremony and being stuck in a long line of RVs trying to leave the track. We sat in that line a long time waiting. It was a two way road and not a lot of room to turn the RVs around. We could see the train stopped on the tracks and all the emergency vehicles. We had no idea at the time that people from the races were involved.

After the awards ceremony we continued our journey to Loretta Lynns. That was such a sad drive...I kept thinking about the boys and how sad the families were. I remember lying in the back of the RV crying and hearing the song "Eye of the Tiger", by Survivor. I didn't really know them, but we were parked next to the Flemmings. I also recall that the Kiedrowski's were parked behind us and the funnel cake truck was right next to us, and I thought those were the bombe!

The Ponca City and Loretta Lynns races were some of my fondest memories.

BTW, anyone remember going to the water slide park and plugging up the slide with people? The park employees would get so mad! They probably dreaded us mx people!
BIGRIGGIN
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Aromas, CA US
7/13/2011 10:46am
The best thread on Vital. Wish there were more like this one. Thanks for all the great memories and photos.
rdubato
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CA US
10/29/2011 12:51am
NW#599 wrote:
[IMG]http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy59/MiniExpert/BruceonRickHemmesbike.jpg[/IMG] Bruce Bunch sitting on Rick Hemme's bike at Ponca City in 1981. Rick Hemme is seen just inside the trailer.


Bruce Bunch sitting on Rick Hemme's bike at Ponca City in 1981. Rick Hemme is seen just inside the trailer.
I was there also in 81 in the 80 Stock and Modified Novice classes. I remember reading about that tragedy in cycle news and it hit me harder than anything else up to that point in my life. I remember it like it was yesterday and I still find myself remembering these kids all the time, thats how I stumbled on this thread. I did not read all of the posts yet but I'm looking forward to it. I found some old photos of 81 Ponca, a pile up they were all involved in and a few of Blake, Healey who was a int. rider, does anyone remember who the fast 100 rider and the 60cc Kaw rider were. I remember they both were very fast and I have many pictures of them. Bunch, Flemming, Hemme will always be 3 of my favorite riders, as well as Timmy Aston. These kids made a big impact on me and I will always remember them.
ocscottie
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Redding, CA US
11/3/2011 4:45pm
*bump* so i can sticky
gsxrcr28
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11/3/2011 6:31pm
You da man Scottie! I have been thinking this thread should be a sticky for a couple years.
HuskyEd
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11/3/2011 8:56pm
ocscottie wrote:
*bump* so i can sticky
Thanks Scottie. Smile
Webcokid
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Aliso Viejo, CA US
12/22/2011 6:02pm
Very cool. Was talking about Bruce the other day with Chris down at Ace Mufler. I mentioned watching some of the videos on you tube in 1984-86. No Bruce, No Rick. You see alot of Holand, and Burner and others, and it really makes you think. What whould have it been like to have Bruce, Rick, and Kyle later winning the 125 pro class. Paul Denis too, he was affected by this whole thing too! That was a tough day in Ponca, and it was hard for Paul to take. He won that day, but the whole place died! Rumors were flying and it all came true on the way to the trophey ceremony. Bruce was a good kid, as were Rick and Kyle. Kyle was just a Flying baby! Sorry for for comment, but that ass frm Oakley was being a jerk all week long at Ponca, and his true colors really showed in the end. Fen Jack Ass!
Merry Chrismas boys, too bad it all ended so fast.
T

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tbonefuller
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9/29/2011
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Phoenix, AZ US
3/4/2012 2:32pm
krazee1 wrote:
i remember racing the 80 int class at blythe in 1982....it was a big race maybe an nma race, but i'm not sure...the night before the...
i remember racing the 80 int class at blythe in 1982....it was a big race maybe an nma race, but i'm not sure...the night before the race was crazy...all of us kids running around doing all kinds of stupid stuff....then i remember someone threw a rock or something and it hit bruner in the face and it was pretty bad....everyone got in trouble...still good times though.
dude whats up
lbccrf450r
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Long Beach, CA US
4/10/2012 11:22am
I'll try to stay on topic...I just registered on this site to find all these threads that are related to my racing days gone past. I knew Bruce very well and know many of you guys that have posted. If not personally, by name. A tragic deal if there was ever one for all involved. I actually may have some old pics with him in them. I believe we took each other out at the race in Anaheim Stadium, both motos!
Webcokid
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Aliso Viejo, CA US
4/11/2012 1:57pm
Thats super cool. Would like to see any pics you have. Glad to see you found this site and the great memories of these guys.
oitcher
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Murrieta, CA US
6/13/2012 12:07am
This is still the best thread in this forum. Bruce, Rick and Kyle are still in my memories. It's crazy that I still think about them, even after all these years.
I've been back to Ponca since that year that took their lives and the RR crossing is much different. It took too long....much too long to change it. It still brings back bad feelings to be there. It was fun to take my kids to Ponca, but that year !982, scared me for life.

I'm sad to say that Chris Taylor lost his father, Dave. If no one knew. I didn't find out until they had already had the funeral.
I spoke to Chris and we shared stories of loosing our fathers. Too much death in this World. I just tired up and hate to cry.

God Bless all the people and the friends that we made over the years racing mini bikes. Those memories will last forever!!!
observer
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Puyallup(by way of TX, OK), WA US
9/5/2012 9:57pm
As an "outsider", it's got to be surreal to have been so fortunate and gifted to actually have been a successful racer.
For every one of you guys that hit it "big", there are thousands of us that slowly realize, it "just ain't there" or there's not enough money to fund the effort.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread and getting some insight into some of you guys' life as a racer. We that don't make it as a pro, always are wondering just what we missed out on and the life involved(or at least I do :-).
From the very first race I saw as a teenager in 70 or 71 when Jimmy Weinert beat the Euros at a TransAMA event at Rio Bravo in Houston, TX...I was smitten big time with the moto bug.
For those of you that LIVED it...I hope you guys know how very lucky and blessed you've been to have achieved that!
daven83
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Huntington Beach, CA US
3/4/2013 1:54pm
I ran a Yamaha/Husky dealer called Orange County Cycle in Garden Grove ,California from 75 to 91. Ralph/Bruce Bunch were customers of mine in the late 70's and early 80's ( this was after the Harry's cycle days.... they had just closed).....I believe they lived somewhere near the shop but i never knew where,i just know they were in there all the time buying oil.etc.. I could tell at that time Ralph was committed to making sure Bruce had everything he needed to become a MX star and Bruce had the talent, Dana was my Oakley rep and i saw him every week ,he was a real nice guy that made a HUGE mistake which cost peoples lives.I'm not sure what happened that day in Ponca City but i can remember reading about it like it was yesterday and crying my eyes out .I saw Dana later on at Saddleback park and he wasnt the same....seemed to have possibly brain damage from the accident. I want to thank everyone for this forum it brings back some great memories and also some bad but mostly makes me remember Bruce and Ralph Bunch for the awesome people they are!!!
RobNaughton
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Flagstaff, AZ US
3/6/2013 8:07pm
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.572127646140001.1073741828.100…

I posted some cool pics of Kyle on my Facebook page please check it out. If the link above does not work, just search Rob Fig Naughton on Facebook or copy and paste the link.

In Memory of the original 54 Kyle Fleming
Updated on Tuesday
Kyle Fleming was my best friend and to this day I run the 54 in memory of him. He was a winner and a champion and I'm honored to run his number and represent. I also want to thank his family Carl, Paula and Michele (and your family) for supporting my racing for the last 31 years. If it wasn't for you guys I would have never become the racer, winner and Champion I have, I love you guys. March 16th is Kyle's Birthday and my season opener at Firebird, I hope to make him proud.

I also found a Facebook group called, you should know bruce bunch http://www.facebook.com/groups/109896465716631/
where I posted some more pics and some pics of my Kyle Fleming memorial trophies. Again, if the link does not work copy and past it and check it out, heres what I posted.

Rob Fig Naughton
I ran across Bruce's page today while doing some research on Kyle, Rick and Bruce and Posting some photos on my Facebook page of Kyle. Those Kyle Fleming Memorial (in memory of all three boys) shirts are amazing and I wish I still had mine. What I do have and I cherish them today (more than my CHampionship trophies, X-games trophy etc...) are two beautiful first place cups from that race, one for the 250cc Expert and 125cc Expert classes (and if its ok I will post some pics, they are the one on the far left and far right). Although I did not know Bruce or Rick, (but I've heard and read many stories of what amazing kids and racers they were, I know for a fact Kyle looked up to Bruce and Rick). Kyle was my best friend and I still race with his number 54 in memory of him. I was devastated that day in 1982 along with everyone else who knew these boys. But I think of him on a regular basis, dedicate my racing career to him and am still very close to his family Carl, Paula and Michelle. I only became a racer because the Fleming's gave me an opportunity after Kyle's passing.
I 100% agree the MX and SX record books would look different today had these three had the opportunity. As I have google searched the internet it's awesome to see how many people were touched by and still remember Bruce, Rick and Kyle.


Very cool to see how many people remember and have great memories of Kyle, Bruce and Rick.

Rob / Fig
RobNaughton
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Flagstaff, AZ US
3/6/2013 8:14pm
I have Championship trophies, X-Games, and many wins, but these are my two most prized and cherished trophies from the Kyle Fleming Memorial race which honored Kyle, Bruce Bunch and Rick Hemme. They are the two on the outside, the hat is an original Oakley Factory Pilot hat with Kyle's name on the back.





AZ35
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2014
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Location
Glendale, AZ US
3/7/2013 5:49pm
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.572127646140001.1073741828.100000283125322&type=1 I posted some cool pics of Kyle on my Facebook page please check it out. If the link above does not work, just search Rob...
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.572127646140001.1073741828.100…

I posted some cool pics of Kyle on my Facebook page please check it out. If the link above does not work, just search Rob Fig Naughton on Facebook or copy and paste the link.

In Memory of the original 54 Kyle Fleming
Updated on Tuesday
Kyle Fleming was my best friend and to this day I run the 54 in memory of him. He was a winner and a champion and I'm honored to run his number and represent. I also want to thank his family Carl, Paula and Michele (and your family) for supporting my racing for the last 31 years. If it wasn't for you guys I would have never become the racer, winner and Champion I have, I love you guys. March 16th is Kyle's Birthday and my season opener at Firebird, I hope to make him proud.

I also found a Facebook group called, you should know bruce bunch http://www.facebook.com/groups/109896465716631/
where I posted some more pics and some pics of my Kyle Fleming memorial trophies. Again, if the link does not work copy and past it and check it out, heres what I posted.

Rob Fig Naughton
I ran across Bruce's page today while doing some research on Kyle, Rick and Bruce and Posting some photos on my Facebook page of Kyle. Those Kyle Fleming Memorial (in memory of all three boys) shirts are amazing and I wish I still had mine. What I do have and I cherish them today (more than my CHampionship trophies, X-games trophy etc...) are two beautiful first place cups from that race, one for the 250cc Expert and 125cc Expert classes (and if its ok I will post some pics, they are the one on the far left and far right). Although I did not know Bruce or Rick, (but I've heard and read many stories of what amazing kids and racers they were, I know for a fact Kyle looked up to Bruce and Rick). Kyle was my best friend and I still race with his number 54 in memory of him. I was devastated that day in 1982 along with everyone else who knew these boys. But I think of him on a regular basis, dedicate my racing career to him and am still very close to his family Carl, Paula and Michelle. I only became a racer because the Fleming's gave me an opportunity after Kyle's passing.
I 100% agree the MX and SX record books would look different today had these three had the opportunity. As I have google searched the internet it's awesome to see how many people were touched by and still remember Bruce, Rick and Kyle.


Very cool to see how many people remember and have great memories of Kyle, Bruce and Rick.

Rob / Fig
About time you showed up here....

Thanks for posting and sharing the story and pics, good to hear from you.

Ironic thing- I buy 80's MX magazines on EBay and just about 30 minutes ago in the mail I opened an August '84 MXA that I had bought.

As I looked through a magazine I had not seen in almost 30 years, I came across coverage of the 84 World Mini GP. Bruce and Rick would have been riding the 125 Nationals by then, but Kyle probably would have been the dominant guy had things gone different that day in Ponca City.

PS- you are getting old, so in case you forgot you were 6th overall with a 13-3-5 (in the Race of Champions). Not bad for a Honda guy riding a KX for one race.

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