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Danny Hamel KX500 "The Best There Was"

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I rode on the same minute as Danny at a National Enduro in Arizona a couple of months before he was killed.  At the time, I could usually hang with the AA guys for minute or two in a test section.  Danny would disappear in three turns, which was impressive.  Equally impressive was riding behind him in the timekeeping sessions, he would pick up lines that would miss some obstacle that I would be unable to match, even though I was right behind him trying to follow him.  It was a day full of "where is he going?- oh, damn, that was cool".

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Met Danny at the 1994 baja 1000 at the Team Green pre-running pits south of Mexicali maybe even in or near San Filipe, I can't recall, exactly. I was with Team Green B team racer and friend Davide Trolli.

Danny's pre-runner was a KX250 that was hammered from him and his big self, abusing the thing for course sighting. Rims were all dented and everything was just hard run.

He and the A team went on to win that year's B1K Mexicali to Mexicali route.

The guy just put out Mr. Nice guy vibes, he was a true gentleman racer and as we know fierce on a bike. As ISDE97 said he was also brilliantly fast in tight enduro stuff as well and always showed well in Tecate and other national enduros as well as ISDE comp.

On a side note, my friend "Dave" told me that he and Danny had more than once discussed the serious danger of their open course racing profession and directly about certain sections of the Baja Mexico courses. From what i understood/recall now one of the sections they discussed the following year was the area near Ensenada where he lost his life. Davide retired from open course high speed rally type stuff soon after, he lost many of his friends and peers in this, the most dangerous of 2 wheeled sports (rally/High Speed open course racing).  If you check the rally list of losses, he knew all those guys from mostly previous enduro comp years as well as the rally scene and was very close friends with Cavandoli who was killed in '94 in Tunisia. Brutal game.

Raise a toast to DH and salute the many pilots that have been killed, especially in the high speed offroad world. The list is long and filled with world class level racers. 

And if you have not watched grainy 1990s viddys of Danny in the Dez...... he was quite a phenom, riding a KX500 like a KX125......very impressive. 

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Destry Abbot KX500





The Kawasaki KX500 that Ty Davis, Danny Hamel and Larry Roeseler raced to the overall victory in the 1994 Baja 1000. They had an average speed of 69.895 mph over the 633-mile race. Photo by Laurette Nicoll




Larry Roeseler’s legendary status in Baja was cemented during his time as a factory Kawasaki rider in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. He and teammates Ty Davis and Danny Hamel rode this KX500 to the overall victory at the 1994 Baja 1000, which was the seventh straight win for Kawasaki at the 1000.

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