Craig Vetter invented aerodynamics for motorcycles. The Selma, Alabama native created the Windjammer fairing nearly a decade before motorcycle manufacturers started selling faired bikes of their own. The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee was critically injured when his motorcycle struck a deer this week.
American Iron and Old Bike Journal publisher and editor-in-chief Buzz Kanter posted the following message from Craig Vetter’s wife Carol on his Facebook page today:
It’s impossible to overestimate Craig Vetter’s contributions. After he graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a degree in industrial design, he developed motorcycle bags and fairings for the newly introduced class of heavy touring motorcycles, specifically the Honda Gold Wing and BMW R75.
Vetter saw an opportunity to develop an aerodynamic fairing that would protect the rider from the wind and the weather, increasing the time they could spend in the saddle. His Windjammer fairings were wildly popular until bikes started to come from the factory with fairings in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
In 1969, Vetter worked with British motorcycle manufacturer BSA on the X-75 Hurricane, a bike that was eventually produced in 1973 as a Triumph, after BSA folded.
Vetter began racing in the mid-1970s, but largely left racing after a crash in 1976 at Road Atlanta aboard a Yamaha RD350.
He also designed racing wheelchairs at a time when not many people had much to offer physically challenged athletes. Jim Knaub propelled one of Vetter’s wheelchairs to a first place finish and a world record time at the 1982 Boston Marathon.
Vetter was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999. A more extensive history of Vetter’s accomplishments is available at http://www.craigvetter.com/