If you’ve ever attended an AMA Pro Road Racing event, you might have marveled at how organized everything was in the paddock. Row after row of semis and trailers neatly parked, and no one fighting over who gets which spot on pit lane.
Not surprisingly, that kind of order doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of careful planning by AMA Pro Racing’s Operations Supervisor, Randy Stem. Randy’s work doesn’t end with the planning, though.
“With direction from Dave McGrath, I design where all the semis park and am responsible for moving everyone in. I also design the hot pit lane: where canopies go, and how much space they get,” Stem says. He adds, “Then after that I drive the safety car.”
Randy’s work with AMA Pro Racing comes from a lifelong love of both motorcycles and racing. Randy flirted with a career in racing once upon a time, but he says, “I got hurt twice on my dirt bike and spent a couple of weeks in the hospital. I didn’t want to get hurt again, and I realized that I’m not as fast as I thought I was! I realized that I could be there and be a part of it still.”
These days, Randy rides a 2005 Yamaha FJR1300 equipped with Galfer steel-braided brake lines and rotors. “I’m extremely happy; it’s a great upgrade. I’ve got the same rotors that Celtic Racing uses on their 600s for their racing,” Randy says.
The FJR is part of a long line of motorcycles that Randy has owned over the years. His first motorcycle was a 1969 BSA 250, and he has never really seen the necessity of owning a car. “When I met my wife 42 years ago, all I had was a bike. All I ride today is a motorcycle,” he says.
Randy commutes on his motorcycle every day and he is about to reach 56,000 miles on his odometer. He also enjoys touring on the FJR. For his 62nd birthday last year, Randy and a friend did a four-day tour of Colorado. The pair covered an impressive 1900 miles on the trip.
Randy’s love of motorcycles, and of racing, was instilled by his dad, who rode Harleys and Indians during the World War II years. Randy and his brother were often treated to nights at the flat track in their hometown of Portland, Oregon. Randy started riding himself at eight years old.
When he grew up, Randy took a fire rescue course at England’s famous Silverstone circuit. Later, he and his wife operated a fire rescue crew at a track in Phoenix, Arizona. Their great reputation eventually brought them to the attention of AMA Pro Racing.
Randy says he’s finally reaching retirement age, but he hopes that translates into more riding on his FJR and more work with AMA Pro Racing. “I love doing the AMA stuff and enjoy working the races, and I want to be more involved,” he says. Randy might have Galfer brakes, but he’s not stopping anytime soon.