Peter Starr, motorcycle racer, author, TV producer and filmmaker, passed away July 3 at the age of 80. His work includes dozens of productions about motorcycles and motorcycling.
Born on Nov. 2, 1942, in Coventry, England, Starr began riding motorcycles at a young age. He raced Nortons, Ariels and Triumphs, and later turned that passion into a four-year job with Triumph in the early 1960s.
Starr moved to the U.S. in the mid-1960s working as a DJ and later in record production before returning to his love of motorcycles as a filmmaker. His first film, Bad Rock, was funded by Hodaka and Penzoil and was distributed across the U.S. Later, his film Take it to the Limit would become his most famous creation, starring riders at the top of their sport and a string of hit songs on its soundtrack.
Along with his films, Starr also directed over 50 television specials on motorcycling and motorsports. It was Starr who had the first film camera mounted on a motorcycle and later did the first live broadcast from a motorcycle in competition for ABC’s Wide World of Sports in 1985 at the AMA National on the Du Quoin Magic Mile.
In recent years, Starr became a global ambassador for motorcycling. After being inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2017, he became an ardent supporter of the Hall of Fame and its annual induction ceremony.
“Peter Starr was a fixture in the motorcycling community for decades,” says Rob Dingman, president and CEO of the AMA. “Peter was a man who always strove to highlight our sport to both enthusiasts and non-riders, and was also incredibly supportive of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame and its mission. Seeing him inducted in 2017 was inspiring. His energy and positive outlook on the sport we all love will be missed.”
Starr battled cancer for many years. Despite his diagnosis, he lived a full and vibrant life and remained tirelessly active in motorcycling.
“When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2004,” Starr previously told the AMA, “I spent a lot of time thinking about dealing with aging, and I concluded that it required living a purposeful life.”
“For me, motorcycles were always a theme of my life,” he continued. “The concept for me became looking forward, and creating something with motorcycling that was very important to me … and being a rider gives you something to always look forward to.”