PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Randy Renfrow, a three-time AMA national road racing champion and one of the most versatile racers of his generation, has died. Renfrow was recovering from injuries he sustained in a racing accident at Daytona International Speedway in March, when he fell down a staircase at his parents' home Tuesday and suffered a head injury. He died Friday morning, Aug. 9.
Renfrow, who began his professional road racing career in 1981, won the AMA 250 Grand Prix championship in 1983 and then went on to win the Formula One title in 1986 and the Pro Twins Series in 1989.
Renfrow was known for his ability to be competitive on any type of machinery -- from diminutive 250 Grand Prix bikes all the way up to AMA Superbikes -- and he excelled in nearly every class of professional motorcycle road racing. In all, Renfrow won a total of 17 AMA Nationals in four different classes, including a victory in an AMA Superbike race at Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, Calif., in 1990, as a member of the factory Honda team.
In addition to his skill on the track, Renfrow was also known for his grit and determination. He came back to racing after several serious injuries and always approached racing with the vigor and enthusiasm of someone new to the sport. "I've never seen a more determined rider than Randy," said Ron Barrick, AMA Pro Racing road racing manager who was Renfrow's mechanic during his Formula One and 250 Grand Prix championships. "Randy and I became friends through racing in the late 70s. We spent many years on the road going from event to event, experiencing the wide range of ups and downs that are always a part of racing success or failure. He gained the respect of his peers with his tenacious spirit as he continued to race at a high level, well after his peak championship winning years, simply for the thrill of the competition. He will be missed by everyone at AMA Pro Racing and by all of those that crossed paths with him during his long career."
Renfrow raced for more than 20 years and was one of the best-liked riders in the paddock. He tried to retire several times later in his career, but always came back to the sport he loved. The Daytona AMA 250 Grand Prix race was one of the races that Renfrow seemed to covet most. He earned five podium finishes in the race over the years, including twice as runner up, but he never could quite breakthrough to victory there. He was one of the fastest 250 Grand Prix riders in preliminary runs during Bike Week this March when he was involved in an accident in which he received the serious injuries. He seemed to be well on the road to recovery when he suffered the fall on Tuesday.