Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tibor Sarossy

Life has weird twists and turns in it.

I met Tibor Sarossy a few years back when I started contracting with the Board of Elections. I encountered him again last year in one of the training classes I was teaching. He was a complete trip. Fairly unreasonable, stubborn and argumentative would be three adjectives I would use to describe him. A great volunteer who actually added more conflict than help to the overall mix.

Regardless, he was a devoted citizen and participant who worked hard to promote democracy and the rights of others. And no one deserves to be run down in the street.

And yes, he told everyone he met that he was on the Tonight Show way back when for having driven a motorcycle cross country in some 40 hours without stopping because it was true.

Mr. Sarrossy owns the world record for traveling from New York to Los Angeles by motorcycle! He accomplished this in 45 hours, 41 minutes in 1968. Riding a BMW model R69S, Sarossy made four fuel stops, never slept, fainted twice and averaged 58.7 miles per hour all the way across.

Like I said, he was a trip.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm sure he told you about riding the BMW across the county in record time. He probably never told you that this record was suspect, and not documented, or that he had a LONG history of shady dealings selling motorcycle parts and cheating people, to the point that vintage motorcycle clubs used to print warnings when he would start selling under a different name.

Anonymous said...

I used to deal with Tibor in the 70's and 80's for BMW parts. He was a hustler and a colorful guy, but never tried to cheat or rip me off. His river of interest was the vintage BMW motorcycles and he tried to scrape out a living dealing parts and pieces.
Good guy, sorry to hear that he met his end on the road. Oh yeah, he would brag about this famous trip cross country, it sure was real in his mind and probably had a germ of truth to it.

Anonymous said...

To the first comment, Tibor's record setting trip was meticulously documented, he was, as people who knew him know, extremely particular with certain details. He stopped at Western Union offices in NY and LA before and after the trip to document his start and end time. After his record breaking trip he was offered an engineering job and trophy cup by the BMW corporation. BMW in Munich also made a large poster of him accepting the trophy and it was posted in BMW motorcycle shops across the country and in the Munich headquarters. The photo was also printed in BMW motorcycle magazines as part of a BMW advertising campaign (this page is often available for sale on ebay). He declined the job by BMW because they started integrating plastics into their motorcycles and quirky as he was he felt that was a perversion of a classic bike.
Guinness Book will not publish the record because it involved breaking the speed limit and they do not publish records which break laws.
Tibor was certainly an eccentric guy but this trip is absolutely true and the record stands to this day.

Anonymous said...

Ripped me off. I've never forgotten the name. I sent him the money for anR50/2 seat cover and he never sent it despite many attempts to get the thing. Karma took a long time but he finally reaped his.

lesterleland said...

I knew him personally, as we both are of hungarian decent and we both drove taxi cabs in Cleveland. He was pure genius held a motorcycle record. It was so chocking to hear of his death. Such is fate for this wonderful kind soul. R.I.P.

Anonymous said...

He was a genius...and very polished in character....something most Americans lack....never once ripped me off when buying parts for my 1971 R60/5....rubbed people the wrong way due to his high intelligence that usually made people look stupid....was nice as long as you did not call him a Hungarian....he was a MAGYAR...