Industry race honors son of champion motorcyclist killed by DUI driver

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The annual Connor Penhall Memorial Cup in the City of Industry honors the son of champion motorcycle racer and "CHiPs" actor Bruce Penhall. (KABC)

They are some of the top motorcycle riders in the area.

"We have the top 16 guys in the United States available to ride here tonight," said Kelly Inman - the City of Industry race director.

But it's not about who is on this track.

Rather, it's about who's not here.

"It's such a life-changer for us. Connor was a big motor sports enthusiast. He loved Baja racing. He loved the Speedway bikes," said Bruce Penhall, Connor's father.

Bruce Penhall was Connor's dad. He won the World Speedway Championship in 1981 and '82.

Many remember him riding a motorcycle as cadet officer Bruce Nelson on the 1980s hit show CHiPs.

"I'm older now, and fortunate I was to be given that opportunity," Penhall said.

For 12 straight Wednesday nights, Speedway Motorcycle racing takes center stage in the City of Industry.

But this past Wednesday was the 4th Annual Connor Penhall Memorial Cup.

"It's a struggle every day. What I tell people - it doesn't get easier, it gets softer," Penhall said.

Connor was working for his dad's construction company on a closed freeway. That's when a drunk driver drove through a closure and killed their then 21-year-old son.

"It's very difficult to take family photos. It's difficult on our kids. They struggle with this every day as well," said Penhall.

This track will host another 11 races on Wednesday nights.

But this memorial race and the Penhall name filled this City of Industry arena.

'We look at is as some kind of therapy. I used to say, I want to help just one person. I've gotten a little greedy, I want to help 10 people," Penhall said.

He's not racing any more. But he's using a family tragedy to help others.

Bruce Penhall is still a champion at heart.
Related Topics:
sportsmotorcyclesDUICity of IndustryLos Angeles County
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