Donald A. Vesco
|Died||December 16, 2002 (aged 63)|
|Occupation||Motorcycle racer and businessperson|
|Known for||Motorcycle land-speed record and wheel-driven land speed record|
Don Vesco (April 8, 1939 – December 16, 2002) was an American businessperson, motorcycle racer, and multiple motorcycle land-speed record and wheel-driven land speed record holder. He set 18 motorcycle and 6 automobile speed records during his life.
His accomplishments recognized by the American Motorcyclist Association include winning the United States motorcycle Grand Prix 500 cc class in 1963, operating a California motorcycle dealership that sponsored up to 60 racers at a time, and setting a number of motorcycle and automobile land speed records.
His motorcycle land speed records were set in 1970 at 251.66 miles per hour (405.01 km/h) in a twin-engined streamliner "Big Red", becoming the first person to ride faster than 250 mph; in 1975, when he pushed past the 300-mile-per-hour (480 km/h) milestone for the first time with "Silver Bird"; and in 1978 at 318.598 miles per hour (512.734 km/h) in a twin-turbo powered streamliner "Lightning Bolt", a record that stood for 12 years.
In 2001, just a year before he died of prostate cancer, he set the FIA wheel-driven land speed record of 458.440 miles per hour (737.788 km/h) in a turboshaft powered streamliner called "Turbinator".
In addition to his own land speed record vehicles, Vesco had a consulting role in other streamlined vehicles. One was Max Lambky's Vincent-engined Lambky Liner streamliner. Another was the "Project 200" streamliner designed by his business partner, Matt Guzzetta, and speed tested by Vesco at El Mirage Dry Lake. Project 200 both competed in the Craig Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge, and in 1983, performed an American coast-to-coast transit without refueling, sponsored by Motorcyclist magazine.
Vesco also designed aftermarket motorcycle accessories including extended range gas tanks for offroad motorcycles sold through Don Vesco Products, which also had a line of motorcycle fairings called "Rabid Transit" designed by Guzzetta.
Vesco's "Big Red" #11 streamliner is part of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum collection. His #14 streamliner, with a fiberglass body molded around a 22-inch aircraft drop tank, powered by twin supercharged Yamaha XS650 SOHC engines, is on display at the National Motorcycle Museum in Iowa. The "Project 200" fuel efficiency contest streamliner was on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum as of 2011.
Notes and references
- Setright 1979, p. 91.
- Glick 2002.
- New York Times 2002.
- Don Vesco at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame
- Setright 1979, p. 187.
- Lambky 2007.
- Youngblood 2011.
- Renvall 1983.
- DeWitt 2008.
- Vetter 1982 "He [Matt Guzzetta] learned how to get streamlined working with LSR record holder, Don Vesco."
- Belair 1976.
- Fisher 1996.
- Carruthers 2004.
- Youngblood 2008.
- National Motorcycle Museum 2013.
- Speed records
- Setright, L.J.K. (1979), The Guinness book of motorcycling facts and feats, Guinness Superlatives, ISBN 978-0-85112-200-7
- Glick, Shav (December 18, 2002), Obituaries: Don Vesco, 63; Held Speed Records for Cars, Motorcycles
- "Don Vesco, 63, Record-Setting Motorcyclist", The New York Times, December 20, 2002
- Carruthers, Paul (2004), Don Vesco Motorcycles – Class of 2004, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
- 300 MPH chapter, Bonneville 200 MPH Club, retrieved 2014-09-12
- Youngblood, Ed (January 12, 2008). "Current news: New at the National Motorcycle Museum (USA)". Ed Youngblood's Moto History. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
- 1970 Vesco Engineering Yamaha Twin Streamliner, National Motorcycle Museum, c. 2013
- Other projects
- Belair, Fernando (February 1976), "Tank buyer's accessory guide", Cycle World: 40–43
- Vetter, Craig (1982), "Craig Vetter Fuel Economy Run Gallery of Winners", Craig Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge website, archived from the original on 2016-03-04
- Renvall, Björn (January 1983), "Nu satsar Don Vesco på ekonomimotorcykeln" [Don Vesco now (working) on economy motorcycle], Allt om MC (in Swedish)
- Fisher, Jackson (June 1996), "High rollers: meet the long riders", Cycle World: 44 (Rabid Transit fairing)
- Lambky, Max (November 2007), 1990-1992 First Streamliner
- DeWitt, Norm (October 1, 2008), "Coast to coast without refueling? It's been done. (NEXT GAS: 2443 MILES)", Motorcyclist, archived from the original on March 8, 2016 – via HighBeam (subscription required)
- Youngblood, Ed (November 30, 2011), "How Matt Guzzetta crossed America on one tank of gas", Ed Youngblood's Motohistory, retrieved 2014-09-19
- Phinizy, Coles (November 1975), "Flat out on the flats", Sports Illustrated, 43 (19): 38
- Cameron, Kevin (November 2001), "Bonneville: The quest for speed between salt and sky", Cycle World, 40 (11): 125–132
- Jerry Garrett (January 2002), "458.440 mph: the Vesco brothers claim the highest speed record that hot rodders covet most", Car and Driver: 124
- Paul Carruthers (April 2003), Don Vesco, 1939-2002, Cycle World, pp. 88–89
- Noeth, Louise Ann (2005), Who the #$!% is Don Vesco? (PDF)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Don Vesco.|