"no wrinkles on the inside"
by dean adams
Longtime motorcycle enthusiast and
writer Gordon Jennings died yesterday at age 69. Jennings was a former
editor of Cycle magazine, and known the world over for his concise, no-nonsense
writing style and opinions. Jennings died after a battle with cancer.
Jennings is best known as the former
editor of Cycle magazine, a position he held for many years, He worked
at the magazine on and off for twenty years and was a prolific writer,
stating that he'd written "a million" stories. He, and several others at
the time really started to test motorcycles in a fashion others could understand,
with hard data.
Jennings authored the 1973 book (The)
Two-Stroke Tuner's Handbook, which is considered one of the best layman's
resource materials for two-stroke engines; it is highly sought after by
collectors and tuners alike.
Jennings had a natural love for all
things mechanical. He raced motorcycles, flew planes, raced cars and more
often than not wrote about those experiences in Cycle, Car and Driver and
in other magazines. Throughout his career he was the technical editor at
Road and Track, the editor of Car and Driver, the editor at Cycle and also
the technical editor at Cycle. His experience led him to be an expert witness
after he left publishing. Jennings never attended college.
It's not generally known or acknowledged,
but Jennings was a pioneer of motorsports in the electronic media. In the
very early 1990s Jennings and a group of notable colleagues (Steve Anderson,
Kevin Cameron, etc.) started Wheelbase, a subscription based electronic
magazine for motorcycle and car enthusiasts. It was essentially what we
know know as a web site, produced before the majority of the world was
aware the Internet existed. The project stopped in the mid-1990s.
Most recently he wrote a monthly
column for Motorcyclist magazine.
Jennings wrote in the mid 1990s to
a man who expressed to him his wish to be a writer, wondering what elements
were needed to become one:
"On my 50th birthday, now long behind
me, friends presented a cake that said, "Against all odds," which probably
summed up my life fairly well. When you've been reported dead, twice, and
none of your friends thought it necessary to check to see if the news was
true, you have to figure you have been strolling a little close to the
edge. Let me offer you some comfort about the accretion of years: If you
live a long time and pay attention, you'll know a whole bunch of useful
things; and you'll find, in time, that old go-fast guys have no wrinkles
on the inside."
His funeral is today.
POLICY | HOME | RETURN
1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Hardscrabble Media