Skip Van Leeuwen, one of the best Tourist Trophy riders in the history of AMA racing, passed away on June 21. He was 78.
"The American Motorcyclist Association extends heartfelt condolences to the Van Leeuwen family and to all of Skip's friends inside and outside the motorcycling community," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman.
Mr. Van Leeuwen was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.
Mr. Van Leeuwen dominated AMA TT competition in the mid-1960s, winning four nationals on the small dirt-track circuits that feature a jump and left- and right-hand turns. He won AMA national TT races in Houston (in the Astrodome), Castle Rock, Wash., and at his home track of Ascot Park in Gardena, Calif. He also won numerous West Coast regional championships during his racing career.
After retiring from racing in the early 1970s, Mr. Van Leeuwen went on to launch a successful motorcycle accessories business.
After high school, Mr. Van Leeuwen and childhood friend Dick Hammer bought Triumph 650s and began frequenting local speedways. Both would go on to become nationally known racers.
While TT racing was his specialty, Mr. Van Leeuwen was also a road racer. His best AMA national finish on a road course was fourth at Carlsbad, Calif., in 1967.
By the early 1970s, Mr. Van Leeuwen was concentrating more on his business interests and retired from racing in 1972.
His business, Van Leeuwen Enterprises, evolved over the years to become one of the largest motorcycle accessory companies in the country.
For Mr. Van Leeuwen's complete biography, visit www.motorcyclemuseum.org.
Van Leeuwen Enterprises released a statement following the announcement of his death: "In the closing years of his life Skip’s enduring joy had been working side by side with his devoted sons and grandchildren. Skip’s greatest accomplishments are not measured by checkered flags and trophies. They are measured by the love and devotion of the people who were lucky enough to know him."
In lieu of gifts or flowers, charitable donations in Skip’s name can be made to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. This will directly contribute to the preservation of his legacy.
Services are scheduled for July 1. Bethel Reformed Church (Encounter Christian Church), in the city of Bellflower, California. Please send any cards or well wishes to:
Van Leeuwen Ent.Inc.,
Attn: Curt & Eric Van Leeuwen
13275 Paxton Street
Arleta CA, 91331
Arrangements for Skipper are as follows:
Friday, 30 June 2017, 5 p.m.
Whites Funeral Home
9903 E.Flower Street
Bellflower, CA 90706