Which bike, which issue?

John Patterson

Exactly a year ago I first met John, at my first Hodaka Days event in Athena, Oregon. John, being both a local and a Hodaka fan, had been many times before - every time I suspect! My first day at the event was spent riding a Hodaka in the inaugural Bad Rock Reunion Trail Ride.

Spectacular scenery through fields and mountains, the ride was thoroughly enjoyed by the fifty or so participants. John had spent many days leading up to the event, working out the best course. He succeeded admirably, it was a beauty!

The weekend after, I met up with John again at a vintage event at Washougal. I was meant to ride and had entered, but just couldn’t muster up enough energy after what had been a very tiring ten days in the USA, and I was going home the next day. So I gave my ride to John and he was thrilled (but then again he was always smiling, no matter the occasion, he was one happy chappy).

It was kind of weird at one point when I was photographing the race I was meant to be in, and the announcer saw me and said something like — “And there’s Ken Smith from VMX Magazine, taking some more shots of today’s racing….” And yet a minute or two later he was saying —“Ken Smith is doing well on that Hodaka in this race…”. Yep, John was wearing my gear as well. He did famously, winning the 100cc Intermediate class on the day, so of course, I insisted that he kept the plaque!

Just last Sunday, the 28th June 2009, John took his first laps at the Scrambles races at this year’s Hodaka Days. Before he went out for those laps, he went up to Paul Stannard and gave him that same plaque and asked Paul if he’d post it down to me, so I could have it for a while! Naturally, Paul said sure thing. John subsequently went out on the track and had a heart attack. While he was momentarily revived and taken to hospital, he died a short time later.

He was such a helpful, friendly guy. I’d only spent a few days with him a year ago but he certainly left an impression on me. He always seemed to be offering to help others do something or other, indeed, just before he passed away he was trying to make sure someone else got a reward that he’d won!

Here are two photos I took of John at that event at Washougal last year, showing him doing what he loved. Farewell John, and keep enjoying the ride.


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