- Post by: mcalibrary
- January 12, 2024
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The Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame has always been very proud of the diversity of those selected during its 39 years of existence. In addition to the usual football, basketball, baseball, track and field, and wrestling, the hall has also honored bowlers, paddle boarders, boxers, race car drivers, speed boat racers, golfers, and media representatives. The class of 2017 will find the first Motocross rider in John Savitski.
Back in his prime, they used to call Johnnie “The Polack.” Well, at least that’s what his longtime mechanic, Bevo Forti, and his old teammate Bob Hannah used to call the Atlas, Pennsylvania-born rider. Savitski, a 1974 Mount Carmel Area High School graduate, first found prominence on the national scene as a privateer Bultaco rider. – A privateer was what they recognized as those who were not funded by sponsors. – He then began working his way up through the ranks as a DG Yamaha rider with direct support from Yamaha. He consistently found himself in the top ten in the 250 Nationals, and even appeared on the cover of Motocross Action in September of 1978, as well as many other Motocross publications.
From 1974 through 1979, Savitski was regularly ranked in the top ten nationally in the 250 class and is generally considered to be the most successful pro to ever come out of central Pennsylvania. Savitski posted at least 30 top ten finishes in races from Pocono Raceway to Houston to Irving to Omaha and Anaheim. John then went on to work on super cross tracks for a long time, following the circuit as a contractor and building tracks for the likes of Rick Johnson and Jeff Stanton. In 1999, John was hired to come up with a design extending an old Indiana stock car track for Podium One.
John founded Stadium Dirt Designs in 1984 to fill an international need for experienced track builders within the motocross industry. A fourteen-year race veteran, Savitski’s first-hand knowledge of the industry and on-the-job perseverance soon made him an invaluable asset to track building crews around the world. His expertise has been used on the Bologna Sports Arena; Bologna, Italy, Scandinavium Dome; Goteborg, Sweden, Palau Saint Jordi; Barcelona, Spain, Parc des Princes; Paris, France, National Exhibition Center; Birmingham, England, Kawasaki Stadium; Tokyo, Japan, Aloha Stadium; Tokyo, Japan, Rose Bowl; Pasadena, California, Orange Bowl; Miami, Florida, and Three Rivers Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Although it has been a long time since he raced, John likes to show up at events in the hope that he may get involved once again in building tracks. John actually rode in an invitational race around eight years ago in a similar format to an “old-timers” all-star game. The sport has taken its toll as Savitski has broken almost every bone in his body during his grueling career. He is comfortably back in Elysburg running Stadium Dirt Designs and realizing the good fortune Motocross has brought to him. He is the father of one son, Jared, who runs a transportation company in the Philadelphia area.