Jim Sumner: A Life-Long Racer
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- AMA Pro Racing dirt-track competitor Jim Sumner, 32, of Grafton, Wis., died Sunday, May 26, as the result of injuries sustained in a single-bike accident during practice for the Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois.
Sumner, national number 45, was part of a racing family deeply rooted in motorcycle competition. AMA Pro Racing extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Jim Sumner. Sumner is survived by parents and long-time AMA Congress representatives, Al and Judy, sisters, DD and Chris, and brother, Bert.
Sumner was a life-long racer following in his father's footsteps into the sport. He first earned his AMA Pro Racing license in 1986. Sumner never became a star on the AMA Grand National circuit; rather he was a journeyman racer who earned the respect of his fellow competitors by turning in some strong performances over the years. He was one of the riders in the series who raced for the sheer love of the sport. Sumner twice came back after suffering serious injuries, a testimony to how much he enjoyed racing.
Sumner's best AMA Grand National result was a 10th-place finish at the Springfield Mile in May of 1995. His biggest successes came in the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series (formerly called the Harley-Davidson 883 Dirt Track Series) where he earned 11-career top-10 finishes including his only national podium finish, a third on the Springfield Mile in September of 1993.
Sumner worked for and was sponsored by Suburban Motors, a Harley-Davidson dealership in Thiensville, Wis. He had been with the company for over 11 years.
Thursday, May 30
4:00 p.m. (CDT)
St. Philip Neri Catholic Church
5566 N. 69th St.
The family is requesting donations to the St. Philip Neri Catholic School, local animal shelters or the Steel Shoe Fund -- a benefit for injured dirt-track racers.