1920 - 2002
Sent: Monday, November 18, 2002 12:46 PM
Subject: George Wenn
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is with deep sympathy that I have to inform you that George Wenn passed away last week, in hospital, from heart failure.
George was well known and respected by all involved in American Speedway since 1968. A tool maker by trade, he became one of American Speedway's foremost engine tuners.
George's involvement with Speedway began in 1948. He was asked by Dicky Wise to take over from Wilf Lucy to work on Paddy Mill's bike at Norwich Speedway. He then went on to build a track spare, that Ove Fundin on occasions still rides today.
In 1952 he immigrated to Canada, where in 1956 he tuned a Triumph for the Canadian National Road Races.
Then in 1962 he immigrated to Anaheim, CA where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1963 he ran a 500 Ariel with JAP parts at the Ascot TT races and surprised everyone, including himself, when many big twins found themselves unable to keep up with the single.
But it was 1968 when Speedway began at Costa Mesa that George became their first manager. He wrote the SRA Speedway rule book, which formed the basis of the Speedway rule books used today. He went on to work with Ivan Mauger, assisting with his motors, which led to Ivan winning 3 world championships in a row. He and Ray Bokelman created Ivan's gold plated Speedway bike.
George continued to work on engines for riders around the world, including Tiger Louis. When asked if it was true that he had worked on every Weslake in America, he answered that it certainly felt like it.
George leaves behind his wife, Freda, and son Barry, plus grandchildren and great grandchildren.
He will be sadly missed.
Gary Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Terry MacDonald
wow........ George had been very good to me and many others regarding speedway. I visited he and Freda several times during my short time being involved in speedway. He had gone out of his way for me many times and I will miss him terribly. I hope Freda is doing ok. Those two were like bookends. I am going to try and call her and offer my condolences. thanks for your interest!!!!
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my address is Brendan Fennessy, 848 Upper Sweeney Creek Loop, Florence, MT 59833
From: Michael Kelly email@example.com
Thank you for the update - I really appreciate it! I put up a bulletin board at my site to pay respects to George - would you mind passing it on. I think everyone would appreciate it.
The bulletin board may be accessed from www.motorcyclesnw.com/Speedway
From: John Berry (Australia)
It was only last week I was thinking of George and Freda Wenn. Just the loveliest and most speedway committed people you could ever want to meet. I had the pleasure of staying with them more than once in California, and they were so generous.
George was a very down to earth person, but his technical knowledge was way ahead of the time, and he was liked and respected by everyone.
For some of us, the seemingly regular loss of old comrades is a clear sign of our own immortality.
Could you please pass on my best to Freda, who holds a dear place in my heart for, amongst other things, introducing me to the heavenly delights of bacon, egg, and fresh strawberries for breakfast.
From: KELVIN HERRALA firstname.lastname@example.org
It is with utmost sadness the passing of such a great man. I send my sincere condolences to his family.
George built a few engines for me from 2-valves to Goddens as well as carburetors. He will be greatly missed.
Godspeed #190 Kelvin Herrala
From: Brendan email@example.com
This is very sad news for me. George had been very good to me and many others regarding speedway.
I visited he and Freda several times during my short time being involved in speedway. He had gone out of his way for me many times and I will miss him terribly. I hope Freda is doing ok.
Those two were like bookends. I am going to try and call her and offer my condolences.
From: Team Estes Teamestes56@aol.com
Our thoughts and prayers are with Freda and family. Team Estes
From: Gary Accrued Gary8ball@aol.com
What do you begin to say when a legend like George Wenn passes on. I have so many memories and feelings for such a good person like George? To Freda first and foremost my most sincere condolences.
One way or another George has touched every speedway rider in California on way or another and of course many riders in other states as well. I was lucky enough to have George do a few carburetors for me recently and it simply amazed me how a man of his age found the physical and mental strength to do all the things he did when he was a very young man. I could write on and on about all the memories I have for such a kind good man like George Wenn.
All of you out there consider yourself a very lucky person if you ever met or got to do business with such an honest good hearted man, he will be missed so much!
Godspeed. Gary Accrued and family.
From: Kodiak Calkin firstname.lastname@example.org
This is sad news my condolences to the entire Wenn family...I ride one of his motors so a piece of him is still alive and well whenever I lite my Weslake up and go sliding!
And I might add I haven't had any problems with that motor since I bought the bike over three years ago!!!
God Bless ya George Wenn and Family too!!!
Sincerely Kodiak Calkin #350 Speedway Racer at Large XXX large at that !!!
From: Lee Morris - Brisbane Australia - email@example.com
Although I didn't know George personally his passing will be felt throughout the speedway world, the speedway Family is unique in this respect. George will be remembered by many.
Here in Australia George will be thought of regularly as Ivan Mauger proudly displays that famous Gold Bike, a legendary piece of workmanship.
RIP George, a legendary speedway person.
From: Greg Howell Spdway206@aol.com
I never had the opportunity to meet George but the first speedway bike I owned was a Wenn 895 Jawa . It was a great bike and it has changed hands two times since I owned it and it is still running great and winning races.
I would just like to give my condolences to the Wenn Family as it is great loss to them and the whole speedway family.
From: Mike Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org
I've know George for a long time, since I was a kid we used to hang out in the same neighborhood George & Freda lived...
I've made a message board at www.motorcyclesnw.com/Speedway. It's starting to grow - please leave your respects here, I will forward them on to Freda
From: #173 "Showtime" Jeff Blaydes BBLACOM@aol.com
I started riding speedway late in life. As a result I purchased a used Westlake on an old PJ frame to see if I could be competitive. The funny thing is all the riders would ask what kind of engine do you have. Not knowing the truth I told everyone I was on a "Wenn." Turns out I had one of the old Westlake's where Mr. Wenn had taken the valve cover and put the letters "ENN" after the Westlake symbol W. I would like to thank Mr. Wenn for that engine. It turns out that I won three main events on that engine in my first season. One day I was in Cody's shop bragging about my first year in speedway and my first bike and there was George Wenn standing there laughing saying "son you've only just begun." Thank You George Wenn.
From: Insane Shane #228 Speedwayshane@aol.com
I am saddened to hear of the passing of George Wenn. It is January 2003 and I am just now finding this out. I was recently thinking of calling him to have some wheel work done. How sad. My heart goes out to his lovely wife, Freda. They were a wonderful couple.
I had the pleasure of meeting them both and spending some time in their home. They both had so many stories to share about speedway and George would take me around the house to see all the many pictures and memorabilia they had collected thru the years.
Most people have no idea how involved they were in the world of speedway. George was an encyclopedia of knowledge on engines and carburetors. If you asked him a question, he would give you the answer and then some. I learned so much from him in only a few visits.
May God bless Freda and may we never forget George.
Sincerely Insane Shane #228