Flat track racer
Nicknamed the “Flying Flea” because he was 5’ tall and 100 pounds when he entered the scene, Tanner became one of the top riders of the late ‘50s to early ‘70s. In all, Tanner won more than 400 events, including seven AMA Grand Nationals, four at his “home” track Ascot Park plus the prestigious Springfield Mile. Tanner is the only rider to win Nationals at Ascot on two different bikes (BSA, Triumph). As a rookie Expert in 1958, he finished sixth in the title chase and runner-up in that year’s San Jose National Mile to inductee Everett Brashear and ahead of inductee Carroll Resweber. The following year, Tanner won the first-ever Ascot Grand National event. His Springfield Mile win came in 1964, besting inductee Dick Mann after a race-long battle. In 1966, Tanner secured his fourth Ascot National and finished third in Grand National points to inductees Bart Markel and Gary Nixon. Since retiring in 1972, Tanner has operated an Arai helmet distributorship. He was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 1999.