October 09/03- Ken Maely died of a heart attack at age 78.
Most people outside of the racing community aren't aware of Ken Maely and his contribution to the sport of motorcycle racing but non the less he played a huge role in the sport.
Ken was known as the "Steel Shoe King" for his hot shoes that he made for years. He started making shoes as a racer out of need. He built a good business out of it with his shoes being worn buy all the great racers that came through the dirt track and speedway ranks, guys like Kenny Roberts and many others that went on to be world champs in their own right.
Maely was also a huge supporter of young rider development. He built a training facility on his "Hot Shoe Ranch" in Corona Calif. I had the honor of visiting the ranch in '97, meeting Ken and experiencing his hospitality. He seemed so happy to greet people to his place and he truely loved motorcycle racing of all kinds.
He fought a long legal battle to keep his property form developers when he stood to make millions form it. When asked why he said " if I sell, where will the kids go to learn to ride".
Ken Maely was a great piller in the racing community and a great man. He once said " when I sell a hot shoe to someone, I don't get a new customer, I get a new friend".
Rest in peace Ken.