For Hometown News
DAYTONA BEACH -- You've probably heard the Rue, Ziffra and Caldwell name on television, radio and by word of mouth throughout Central Florida, and know it's synonymous with motorcycles.
If you attend the races at the Daytona Beach International Speedway, you can see the popular name splashed across two motorcycles the firm is sponsoring.
It's just a way for the firm to "get back to its roots," according to founder John D. Rue, a motorcycle aficionado who was recognized in the early '80s as "the motorcycle attorney," not only because he represented motorcycle riders in accident cases, but because he also rode motorcycles.
"Back then, I was developing a motorcycle community here," he said. "I felt that bikers had a bad image and by promoting racing as a sport it became a family thing. It was more of a safety issue then, and I just wanted people to know that motorcycle riders had the right to be on the road, too."
During the 110th anniversary of Harley-Davidson, the Port Orange-based personal-injury firm will sponsor the no. 77 bike driven by 19-year-old Eric Stump of OPR Level 10 Racing in the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series on Friday, March 15. The following day the firm will sponsor the no. 37 bike driven by 49-year-old John Ashmead of Peter Brady Racing and OPR Level 10 Racing in the 72nd Daytona 200 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike races.
Mr. Rue, who created John D. Rue Racing in the '80s, said the firm was so involved in motorcycle racing back then that he and a few others went to Japan to race some experimental bikes named Suzukis. "We actually brought Suzukis back to Daytona Beach for racing," he said.
One rider who accompanied Mr. Rue to Japan was Paul Schwemmer, who later was sponsored by the firm for more than a dozen years when he raced in the Daytona 200 in the '80s and '90s. The two eventually drifted apart after Rue became interested in racing cars in New Smyrna Beach.
"We reconnected a few years ago," Rue said. "Paul called me, we talked about the old days and he said he was getting back into racing with his OPR Level 10 Racing team."
Schwemmer said working with John Rue again has been "like old home week."
"It's great to have John back with us, especially for the 110th anniversary of Harley-Davidson," he said. "We're all just tickled to death to have him back on board with us and because of that, and our talented riders, we have good expectations this year."