Don, with Jim Rathmann, from Don's personal photo collection.
From Feb 1961 issue of "The Karter", the official GKCA publication, just after Don's being elected GKCA President (edited):
Don, a 33 year old attorney practicing in Pasadena, was first introduced to karting at its birthplace, the Pasadena Rosebowl. In the summer of 1957, he took a few unsteady laps on an old straight axle kart, and from that moment on his concern with karts has been one of the most important factors in the growth of the sport.
Prior to karting, Don was an avid sportscar and acrobatic flying enthusiast and competed in the early days of sportscar in unusual Javelins. His interest in sportscars and European Grand Prix racing has had an influence on the development of karting along road racing lines rather than dirt ovals.
Don's first kart was the Drone Special. It was a big 15-inch 2-cylinder opposed affair out of a target drone. The kart had been built by Roy Desbrow, and in that day, its 9 hp with gobs of torque was an impressive machine. It was considered the ultimate in karting. During the late '57 and early '58 Eastland days, Don was the man to beat in C class. Both his skill in driving and the meticulous care of his equipment kept him a consistent winner.
Don's wife Marlene also was an avid karter. Driving Don's big Drone, her coordination and deft throttle foot made her a hard person to beat when it was her turn at the wheel.
As karting progressed, Don was called upon more and more to help with various clubs and legal problems and advice on running events. Probably one of the most impassioned speeches ever delivered in karting was given by Don at a meeting of the West Covina city council when karters were threatened with being booted out of Eastland because they allegedly made too much noise. The basis of his appeal was that the pleasure karting brings to so many families certainly overshadowed the discomfort the noise might bring to a few. Because they had activities only twice a month, it seemed improper that the city should deprive so many of its residents from enjoying karting. With the conclusion of his speech, the gallery broke into cheers, and the council could do little but let karting continue.
Don was the designer of the famed Azusa track and also has continued with his activities in course design with many of the top tracks in the country being given the Boberick touch. ...
...During the early 1959 season, Don was active in the American Kart Manufacturer's Association and constantly was protecting the interests of the club and the consumer. As AKMA grew, more and more traveling was required, and despite much opposition from certain manufacturers whose idea of karting was strictly how much money they could make and the heck with the karter after he bought his kart, the GKCA continued to be the dominant influence in AKMA's rules.
Karting is indeed fortunate that Don is a member of the sport. No one can deny that, in his post as president, his decisions are based on actual behind the wheel karting experience. The many problems that faced sportscar racing fortunately were avoided in forming the GKCA rules and regulations. Don, of course, is the first to admit that not everything has been perfect within the GKCA, but he works hard toward that day in the not too distant future that the GKCA becomes the largest automotive racing club in the world.
...Next time you see Don, stop and say hello. There is a good possibility that if Don weren't a karter you wouldn't be either.
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