June 24, 2024

Trails

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Rider Spotlight

Flat Track Racer Charles “Chuck” Grover

Charles Edward Grover
November 13th, 1915 – March 26th, 1993

Chuck Grover was born in Marlette, Michigan, the son of Floyd and Gertrude Grover. Chuck had four sisters and he was raised in Michigan. On June 27th, 1936, Chuck married his sweetheart Viola Bouley. On April 26th, 1938, Chuck and Viola would welcome daughter Charlotte (his only child) into the world. He was a family man and motorcycling was a big part of the Grover family life.  His passion for the sport even found its way to his grandson, Chuck Kelly who also was a skilled rider.  Chuck started racing for Dick Beane in 1938 and became a professional racer within a couple of years. He worked a factory job at Mueller Brass for many years and in the later part of his working career he worked as a construction worker. Although he always worked a regular job, he also worked on motorcycles on the side, and of course he also raced professionally. At some point in his career, he also had some small dealerships with Harley Davidson, then later a Norton and Ducati dealership, and later a partnership in a Honda Dealer for a short time. 

When daughter Charlotte grew up, she married Neil Kelly of Port Huron. Neil fit in with the Grovers well as he was also a motorcycle enthusiast. Charlotte was quite a skilled motorcycle rider herself, just like her Mom. Neil and the Grovers were all members of the Sunset Riders Motorcycle Club in St. Clair County Michigan. Chuck and Neil raced together on a Harley Davidson non-studded sidecar bike and seldom ever lost a race for many years. The family all rode motorcycles together on the road for different events and Chuck and Neil both competed in several different types of motorcycle racing. At different times, both Chuck and Neil had performed daredevil feats such as riding a motorcycle through a flaming wooden wall or as it was called “smashing through the flaming wall of death.” 

Although Chuck never won a National Race, he had some podium finishes including a 2nd place at Shreveport and a 3rd, a 4th, a 5th, and a 6th place finish at the famous Springfield Mile Championship. He also won some very big Non-National Races like Dayton several times and the Michigan State Championship and established himself as one of the top Dirttrack Racers in the world.  Chuck was a factory Harley Davidson team racer from 1941 to 1953. Like many top racers of his time, Chuck missed out on racing Nationals during some of his prime years because of racing being shut down during World War II. He was considered to be an expert mechanic and did all of the mechanical work on his own bike and occasionally for other racers as well. After his professional flat tracking career was over, he was a champion non-studded ice racer for many years and was considered by some to be the greatest non-studded ice racer of all time. 

Chuck was also an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Port Huron Motorcycle Club. He was heartbroken when he lost his wife in a motorcycle accident in 1975. Retiring from the workforce in 1977, Chuck made his own homemade trike motorcycle and enjoyed riding it around and would even take it to Florida every year. He remarried eventually to second wife Sarah, and he continued to enjoy being a motorcycle enthusiast and is said to have even rode his motorcycle with his dog Corky.