Jerry Smith (motorcyclist)
Jerry Smith, (born November 26, 1927 and currently living in Hedrick, Iowa), was an American motorcycle racer from 1945 to 1999 who has been inducted into the Motorcycle Dealer's Hall of Fame. Smith is also a former professional Flat Track racer and author of the nonfiction book Into the Heart of Africa.
Smith competed in a variety of racing events from Flat Track races and long Enduro Runs to Demolition Derbies, closed circuit Sprint Car races, and many others. He kept racing into his mid-70s, winning championships and competing in treacherous enduro races such as the Colorado 500, which he rode 16 times until he was 72 years old.
In 1971 and again in 1972, Smith rode a touring motorcycle from Iowa to Colombia through Central America with his wife, Josefina Martinez Smith, on the back. During these expeditions Smith was placed in a Nicaraguan Jail in Managua and narrowly escaped the near total demise of Managua by earthquake that December. During that same trip, Smith and Josefina barely escaped an exploration of the Irazu Volcano and were held at gunpoint in El Salvador until Josefina convinced the gunmen she and Smith were of no threat. These were some of many motorcycle travels taken throughout the world earning Smith an award for one of the Highest Lifetime Mileage on a motorcycle. Every trip an adventure and every adventure was off the beaten path.
In 1975, Smith was one of three riders who went over 8000 miles diagonally across the continent of Africa on motorcycle, including the Sahara Desert and the Congo Jungles. During this journey, Smith became one of the few explorers to have seen an Okapi in the wild and managed to take three photographs of the Okapi. In chapter 32 of his book Into the Heart of Africa he describes the Okapi in detail. Smith describes the Okapi as having half its body with shiny black and white stripes (on its rear and legs) and stood approximately 5½ feet tall at the shoulder. He further describes this animal as a member of the giraffe family and states that he saw them located at about 2 degrees North and 27 degrees East in a valley in Zaire, and was told of more Okapi in the Virunda Mountains. Smith has one of his pictures of the animal on page 171 of his book and another on his website (registered with the United States Library of Congress, Catalog Card Number: 00-906603).
- Published Okapi citing and photographs
- African Pictures taken during Jerry Smith's Safari
- Jerry Smith, Featured Speaker
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