Retired racer Rich Arnaiz passed away Sunday. Arnaiz was a former AMA Superbike race winner (Road America 1989) and European Superbike champion (racing a Rumi Honda RC30) in 1990.
Arnaiz came to roadracing through the same highly volatile petri dish that gave the world Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Fred Merkel and Chris Carr: California dirt track racing. Like those mentioned, Arnaiz was competent dirt tracker long before he considered a future in roadracing. Moreover, Arnaiz was a quiet and humble racer well liked by other riders. Arnaiz was an up-and-comer in the late 1980s, and jumped to Europe in 1990 with help from his good friend Fred Merkel (and Malcom Hill). Arnaiz set the pace in pre-season testing for the Euro title, and set pole at the first race in Spain, but hit a prone motorcycle in his first race and was injured. He returned to racing quite battered but persevered to the championship.
Later, after a season with Commonwealth Honda here in the US Superbike and Supersport championships Arnaiz left racing for a job in the real world. Arnaiz was in his late 50s when he passed.