What's in a name?
One of our most asked questions is "Why do you call it the Penguin School?" The story goes all the way back to the early 70's
and is usually told while drinking beer.
....as told by Penguin founder Jerry Wood
"When Leif Gustavson (longtime friend, racer and mechanic), Joe Zeigler (Penguin co-founder) and I were under Dr. Bob Pepper's (an early mentor and founder of the AAMRR road racing organization) tutelage for grand prix racing. This included building, racing and prepping the TZ250 two-stroke bikes that were so popular at this time. Dr. Pepper explained that Castrol "R" bean oil was what to use for premix oil in these bikes. Joe told us that his information was more favorable to using synthetic oils. The motocross world had changed over, so why not roadracers as well. Dr. Pepper explained that when a roadracer seizes, as they were prone to do in those days, the rider often crashes at great speed and it hurts. (When a two stroke is wide open and has a problem, it's when you just roll out that it most often locks.)
The Penguin theory then came in to play. Penguins live on the ice and have to go into the sea to eat (usually herring or something similar). The problem is that there are often sea lions, sharks and other predators in the water. The Penguins handle this by all waddling around until one falls in. If he isn't eaten, the rest of the penguins jump in and eat the fish.
Roadracers, like anyone else, often follow the leader. So, in theory somebody, had to try the oil first.
Joe decided that he would be the first and jump in as we were sponsored by Spectro (who made the synthetic oil). His TZ (or TD2 in those days) locked up entering turn 7 at Bridgehampton and Joe broke a lot of bones after tumbling for a long way. Not one to be daunted in the day, he enlisted Joe Bolger to invent the Penguin hub. That device was fitted to the rear wheel and had a ratchet and a clutch so one could bump start the bike, but not lock the wheel. Joe also played with mixture ratios and eventually got the oil to work.
The Penguin name became part of our vocabulary and when we started the first track school in the nation back in 1973, the Penguin Racing School was the obvious name. When you add in the fact the Penguins cannot fly, we instantly had our first slogan, "Learn to Fly", which fit the mission of the school perfectly."