Hall of Famer Spotlight: Oscar Lenz
January 9, 2023
By Keaton Maisano
Born Jan. 9, 1894, Oscar Lenz’ legendary racing career made him an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer and January’s Hall of Famer Spotlight.
Better known as the “Old Jack Piner” for his association and success with Michigan’s Jack Pine Endurance Run, Lenz won his first Jack Pine in 1923 — the inaugural running of the event, which at the time took the form of a three-day, 800-mile off-road event. The Michigan native proved his win was not a fluke as he went on to win the event six more times through 1936.
Following his successful 14-year run, Lenz became the chief organizer of the Jack Pine Endurance Run and laid out the 500-mile course from the late 1930s and into the ’60s. Each year, the task took two weeks of sunup to sundown work.
Prior to his involvement in the Jack Pine, Lenz helped lay out his local Bay City, Mich., endurance run. In 1916, he opened a Thor and Henderson dealership before picking up Harley-Davidson a year later.
During World War I, Lenz served as a motorcycle mechanic instructor while maintaining his dealership.
Lenz remained intertwined with the Jack Pine in his later years, hosting a dinner on the night before the Jack Pine. Despite moving to Florida in retirement, Lenz always returned to Michigan for the Jack Pine.
Lenz passed away in 1972 at the age of 78. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.