Who are these mystery motorcycle racers from the 1970's?

An abandoned Chicagoland storage locker turned up an amazing trove of racing photographs from the 1970s and ’80s. Early this year, a buyer who wishes to remain anonymous found 53 large- and small-format photographs of a racer named Mike who enjoyed flat track racing, owned a red van, and liked road racing as well. And he took a trip to Daytona at some point. Maybe he owned or worked at a radio/electronics shop called “Radiotronics”?

Mike was a fun guy. He had cool racing duds from Lancer Leathers, liked wheelies on pitbikes and looked good on his Yamaha two-stroke tracker and road race bike. He loved van life. And he was impressed by famous racer Don Vesco, making sure to snap a pic of his van.

The buyer notes that items found in the storage unit indicate Mike having lived in Alabama, with family or friends possibly located in Chicago’s north suburbs. His race number was 117 and 217. Could it be AMA-sanctioned racing? Some road racing photos seem to be from the pits in Daytona, though it’s unclear whether he raced or was just spectating.

His road racer was a red Yamaha TD2 or TD3 with No. 373. It was a popular race setup in the ’70s, with a trick swing-arm and competition frame. You could buy a race-prepped bike straight from the dealer for around $1,500 in 1971 dollars, or about $11,500 in 2024. His flat track bike is unclear, though one looks like a Yamaha 250cc single, while the other might be a Yamaha Champion Tracker Frame bike with a 350cc engine.

They’re an awesome glimpse into a past motorcycle life. Before smartphones, photography was hard work. He made sure his fun was on film. Time has given the pictures a tint and hue that Instagram filters can’t replicate. Maybe one of you can shed light on this minor mystery? Comment away.



A proud portrait of Mike the mystery racer with leathers made by a company called Lancer Leathers, sometime in the 1970s or ’80s. Anonymous/Unknown


Mystery racer Mike aboard his No. 373 Yamaha racebike. Date and location unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


Mystery racer Mike showing off his wheelie skills on an unidentified pitbike of some sort. Date and location unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


Either they’re working on their race face, or a track official is yelling at them. A riders’ meeting, track and date unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


Mike the mystery racer (117) in the middle of a pack, track and date unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


An unidentified track official at the start of an unidentified dirt track race, date unknown. Photo is sun- or water-damaged on the right side. Do you recognize anyone or anything about this picture? Anonymous/Unknown


Flat-track racers a split second after the flag drops. Know where and when was this photo taken? Let us know in the comments. Anonymous/Unknown


An unidentified Yamaha racer holding court. An unidentified Yamaha dirt track bike and roadracer (possibly a TD2 or TR2?) awaiting a new rear tire, date and track unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


Another fabulous custom G-Series Chevrolet van, owned by Bauer Motorcycles in Vineland, New Jersey. Date and location unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


Mystery racer Mike’s No. 373 roadrace bike and red van. Note the proper stinger pipes and expansion chambers, along with non-stock swingarm and possibly frame. Date and location unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


Fans and competitors enter Daytona International Raceway, date and event unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


Famous racer Don Vesco's trailer, date and time unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


Fellow race fans and van life aficionados enjoy the sun and surf of Daytona, possibly. Date  unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


Mystery racer Mike’s No. 177 and 37 racebike and red van. Was No. 37 his bike, or just a fellow racer’s? Date and location unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


Detail of the custom paint job on the Bauer Motorcycles van, date and location unknown. Anonymous/Unknown


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