The Trailblazers held its 71st annual banquet on Saturday, April 11th at the Carson Center in Carson, CA. The club has a long and rich history of motorcycling in Southern California, dating as far back as 1936 when A.F. Van Order put out the call for racers of the early boardtrack racing era to get together and share stories about their days on the track.
This year the Trailblazers inducted into its Hall of Fame eight notable motorcyclists and a ninth individual, CH Wheat, was awarded the club’s top honor, the Dick Hammer Award, named after the late-great AMA Hall of Fame racer. We are proud to bring you Mr. Wheat's racing history.
The Trailblazers 2015 Dick Hammer Award recipient has exemplified the attributes of “Drive, Determination and Desire” throughout his life in motorcycling. CH Wheat has had a successful career first as a racer, then as a business owner who raced, and finally as a business owner/sponsor who gives back to the sport and industry he truly loves. CH has done it all and managed to succeed with a cheerful demeanor that has made him countless friends and supporters throughout his life.
CH Wheat became a racing contender in Southern California in Class C dirt track and also roadraces, as well as off-road races in the west with top finishes at DeAnza Park, Catalina Grand Prix, Torrey Pines roadrace and more. He rode against some of the best of his era including Ed Kretz Sr., Ed Kretz Jr., Jimmy Philips, Ray Tanner, George Everett, Dick Dorresteyn, Johnny Gibson, Dick Mann, Tex Luse, Walt Axthelm, and Don Hawley.
For CH, racing was fun and most images of him show his winning smile. His most “fun” race came at the 1957 Riverside TT Pacific Coast Championship where he battled Ed Kretz Jr. for 25 laps. The duo passed each other more than three times every lap and crossed the finish line virtually side-by-side to a standing ovation from the crowd in the grandstands.
When he wasn’t racing, CH was building his motorcycle businesses. His most successful and well-known business is IMS Products. CH saw the need for innovative products such as extended-capacity fuel tanks, high-quality wide foot pegs, and more durable shift levers. They are best known for their high capacity fuel tanks for long distance off-road racing and affordable quick fill gas tanks and leak proof dump cans.
IMS also supports organizations such as Rider Down. And Team IMS sponsors over 1,000 riders in all forms of motorcycle and ATV racing. And it all started with CH Wheat and a good idea.
Racer, business owner, sponsor, philanthropist, mentor and friend, he has done it all with courage, honesty, and a big smile. The Trailblazers congratulates CH Wheat as the 2015 Dick Hammer Award Recipient.