Author Archives: bryan novak

Nye Frank

Nye Frank’s successful career as a designer and car builder proved that he had a unique and comprehensive understanding of performance-from conception to completion-  of not only vehicle development, but also the planning and strategy needed to win races.  His work with shock absorbers in the 80’s was far ahead of its time.  He is best known for his innovative use of air shocks with the Mazda program in MTEG (Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group) and later with Rob MacCachren in SODA and CORR.  Many of the concepts Nye created have now been adopted by the industry, such as his approach to suspension tuning and the relationship between springs and shocks to form a complete suspension.  He also designed and built a Pro4 truck for MacCachren with an unheard of and unconventional four corner air-shock system; the team was so dominating that CORR outlawed the suspension, after MacCachren’ s team captured three consecutive Borg Warner trophies and several season championships.  Nye was drawn to off-road racing because of the lack of overbearing rules that suffocate many forms of traditional racing.  He led the way in new concepts in all aspects of the sport.

Marty Fiolka

Marty Fiolka‘s involvement in off-road motorsports demonstrates a broad reach with his ability to intermix public relations, marketing, journalism, broadcasting and other expertise into one effective representation for the off-road industry. Marty is well known for his ability to perform extensive research, publishing his first book “1000 Miles to Glory” and writing countless articles for Dirt Sports magazine. Marty was also the associate producer for the movie Dust to Glory and now executive producer for the Baja Social Club. He has been instrumental in preserving the history of the sport and has organized many events, including a parade of historic race vehicles from Tijuana to Ensenada as part of the 40th Anniversary of the Baja 1000, and again to celebrate 50 years of Baja Racing at the NORRA Mexican 1000.  Marty helped the legendary Bruce Meyers, also an ORMHOF inductee, re-launch the legendary Meyers Manx, and supported Mr. Meyers in his final race in 2014.  He has also been instrumental in reviving the interest in vintage racing and the NORRA Mexican 1000. Marty continues to build an off-road motorsports legacy, with a number of ongoing projects that will further document and celebrate the sport.

David Ashley

David Ashley has been engaged in off-road motorsports for 43 years.  He has successfully raced motorcycles, buggies, off-road trucks, and stadium vehicles.   His career started as a young man, when he won a gold medal for the United States (and his Yamaha sponsor), in the Six Day Trials in Austria.  At age 18, Dave was involved in a tragic head-on collision that ended in a fatality.  This accident inspired Dave to vow to make off-road racing a safer sport.  In his pursuit of safety, he chaired the drivers’ safety meetings for many of his races, as well as worked with race promoters to avoid hidden hazards.  He also worked with many less experienced drivers, sharing techniques to avoid problems.  Dave took his passion for safety to vehicle manufacturers and, for the last 22 years, he has worked with the transmission, safety, engine, chassis development, motorsports and special vehicle teams (SVT) of Ford Motor Company, as a consultant in their testing, research, and development efforts.  Dave’s current assignments include: test driving for the Safety Rollover Airbag Sensor team, building the Raptor Race Vehicle for international competition, and working for Roush, as the manager for Ford Off-Road Track Safety.

Bill Sanders

Bill Sanders was one of the original editors of Four Wheeler Magazine; he lifted the sport from obscurity to the public recognition, by faithfully covering nearly every off-road race of significance from Baja to Las Vegas.  When it came to the building of the industry, Bill and Four Wheeler offered story after story on manufacturers struggling to gain recognition.  He worked on the human interest aspect as well, by doing feature articles on the drivers who engaged in the major races, and promoting many who are now fellow ORMHOF Inductees.   Besides being involved with the monthly magazine, Sanders took time to become a real off-road racer.  He was able to find help to build a Toyota FJ, which he ran in the 1973 Mexican 1000 resulting in a Class 3 victory; it was the first Toyota vehicle to win in the Baja.  Bill helped to grow off-road motorsports into a sport with worldwide recognition during the early years of off-road racing, and provided a place for those who were also supporting the sport to showcase their work.


Larry Bergquist

Larry Bergquist, the ‘Desert Fox’ was one of the winningest riders in AMA District 37’s history and founding members of the Buzzard’s Motorcycle Club, worked most of his career to selflessly promote and grow the sport he loved so much, off-road racing.  The Buzzards MC would go on to become one of the most successful motorcycle clubs, organizing and promoting well over 25 Hare Scrambles and Hare & the Hounds, including several AMA sanctioned California State Championship Hare Scrambles.

Larry enjoyed not only racing, but acting as an integral part of races the Buzzards organized.  He served all duties, from registration to smoke bomb duty, danger marking to flagman.  Larry led many clean up teams to insure the desert was just as clean after the race as it was before.

In 1968, Larry was the last person to win the Mexican 1000 (now Baja) overall on a motorcycle, riding a Honda 350.

Bergquist was in the legendary movie “On Any Sunday” and featured in “1968 Mexican 1000”, which was filmed for ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

Larry was also inducted into the Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2013.

For a complete record of Larry’s racing career, including many vintage photos, visit http://www.ravenwestguitar.com/larrybergquist1.html

Jerry Herbst

Jerry Herbst could simply be categorized by his achievements in terms of business, Las Vegas and the famous, gas-slinging caricature logo that represents his nickname “the best bad guy of the West”.

Yet that is only a one-dimensional view of the impact Jerry has had on desert racing.  As the founder, backer and head cheerleader of Herbst Motorsports, Jerry and his team have been a key component to the development and ultimate success of important innovations to the BFGoodrich Project tire and helped engineer new drive train technology that enabled the use of 37”, 39” and 42” tires.  Along with pioneering the sport, Herbst Motorsports led by Jerry, has dominated the SCORE and Best in the Desert race tracks with 23 Class 1 event victories, 11 trophy truck event victories and 6 consecutive Class 1 championship victories, and this only names a few.  Jerry’s legacy has continued with his three sons, all of whom share their father’s passion for surpassing the competition and doing whatever it takes to continue the growth of off-road racing.

Jerry Herbst passed away on November 27, 2018.

Frank DeAngelo

Frank DeAngelo is the first person to be inducted into ORMHOF under the Special Achievement category.
Frank’s involvement of desert and short course racing has lasted 33 years and counting.  Beginning as a truck driver providing tire service to race teams on site, Frank worked his way up the ladder to become one of the most trusted and respected names in the off-road industry.  Frank quickly developed the insight to view what was good for the sport and its growth, becoming one of the industry’s strongest, longest advocates of off-road motorsports.  DeAngelo helped many people and organizations pioneer their way through many years of success, leaving a positive and lasting mark on everyone in his path.

Frank’s many years of experience in marketing, promoting, problem solving and advice giving has made him an irreplaceable component to the off-road world.

Bob Steinberger

Bob “the Weatherman” Steinberger is known as the voice of desert racing. Bob entered the off-road world in 1972, leaving his first race frustrated and concerned because there was no communication between the race car and pits. Bob suggested two way radios be put into the race car and pit; radio communication has been part of off-road racing ever since. The Weatherman drives to the top of the highest mountain and sits by himself for the entire race so every racer stays in contact with his team and checkpoint attendants and emergency crews are always kept up to date. He is always making sure no driver is left behind. Steinberger’s involvement with off-road motorsports has extended beyond the radio. He has been a long time member of C.O.R.V.A. and was president of F.A.I.R. (First Association of Independent Racers) for five years, a race team owner, pit crew member, racer and volunteers to do race car retrieval. It is clear the Weatherman has spent the last 40 years living his passion, making desert racing a safer sport.  Bob passed away in 2017.

Bob Chandler

Bob Chandler is known to many as the creator of the entire monster truck industry. Chandler’s single-most notable gift to the off-road world was his creation of Bigfoot #1, which is thought to be the world’s introduction to monster trucks. Bob’s contributions to the off-road community continued on when he helped develop one of the most important safety innovations, the Remote Ignition Interrupter, which is an industry standard today. His success extended beyond the track, as Chandler and his team were devoted to their fans and acted as bringers of goodwill to children’s hospitals, charity events, Make-A-Wish visits, and the like. His acts of kindness and devotion to making the sport a safer place for drivers and spectators makes Bob Chandler an honorable name to add to the Hall of Fame.

Roy Denner

Roy Denner is remembered by the off-road community as a true champion and leader.  He worked and lobbied tirelessly to preserve public lands for OHV access until his passing in 2009.  Denner founded the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), a nationwide, non-profit trade association dedicated to this mission.  Prior to starting ORBA, Roy became active in land-use in the 90’s as a member of the San Diego Off-Road Coalition, where he was the Director of Land Use.  He also served as a member of the California Desert District Advisory Council, as well as the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area Technical Review Team.  For his hard work and dedication, Denner was named the 1999 OHV Volunteer of the Year by the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division. For many years to come, off-roaders will benefit from his extensive dedication fighting legal battles so countless others could recreate.