Rider, team manager, promoter
California’s “Flying Burritto” (sic) left his mark on motorcycle racing in at least three ways. The Mexican-American began as a rider, competing in the AMA Grand National Championship from 1966-81 for Triumph and Yamaha. In 1970, at 22, Romero became the youngest Grand National champion and snagged AMA’s Most Popular Rider Award. In 1975, he captured motorcycle racing’s biggest prize, the Daytona 200. Over his career, Romero won 12 nationals across every platform: miles, half-miles, road courses and TTs. In 1979, his victories in the Transatlantic Trophy races helped the Americans defeat the British. In the mid-‘70s he’d become one of the first riders to attract sponsors from outside the motorcycle industry, including Busch Beer, Ocean Pacific and stuntman Evel Knievel. After retiring in 1981, Romero became team manager of Honda’s dirt track program, helping propel inductees Ricky Graham and Bubba Shobert to four straight Grand National titles (1984-97). In the ‘80s, he helped keep the sport alive as a flat-track promoter. Romero was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 1998.