Our Norsemen family suffered a great loss with the passing of founding member Al Mathwig January 1, 2020.
Al Mathwig passed away after his battle with cancer.
Mathwig, Alan E. "Al", age 79 of Bloomington. Passed away January 1, 2020. Member of Pipefitters Local Union 539. Founding member of the Norsemen Motorcycle Club. AMA District 23 Board Member and AMA Congressman. Preceded in death by brother Noel and parents Warren and Gladys. Survived by wife of 57 years Gerry; children Kelly (Rob) Martinson and Todd (Tammy) Mathwig; grandchildren Alex (Marissa), Joe (Heather), Zach (Jess), Travis, Ally; great-grandchildren Jeremy, Eli, Grace, Ivan, Ava. Memorial service Wednesday January 8 at 5:30pm with visitation 4:00-5:30pm at Cremation Society of MN, 7110 France Ave So, Edina, MN (952)924-4100. Memorials preferred to be given to cancer causes in memory of Alan
To those who knew him well, Al was a teddy bear. To those who did not know him well he could be more of a grizzly bear. He was the hardest working man one could ever envision. Whether it was at his job as a pipefitter or working on a motorcycle event his dedication was unparalleled. His family and motorcycles gave him the most joy. His wife Gerry was his greatest supporter and love of his life. His children Kelly and Todd and their families were loved beyond measure. He was dedicated to racing, riding, promoting, and supporting motorcycles. He was our patriarch, our rock, our hero, our husband, our dad, our grandpa our great-grandpa. Our hearts ache for our loss but rejoice in the amazing life he led. Few people have the passion for life that Al had. He put 110% into everything he did. He always said “you are only on this mud ball once”, which was his way of saying, make the most out of your life and give it all you’ve got. We think he aced it by leading an incredible life. He zeroed his final check.
We will all miss seeing him at monthly meetings and at the races and hearing all his stories.
Cremation Society of Minnesota
7110 France Avenue S
Wednesday January 8, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.
Visitation at 4:00 p.m.
Below is an interview Cory Kleven did with Al several years ago for FlattrackMN.
“Ren′aissance man′, n. a man knowledgeable or proficient in more than one field.”
If you were to ask Al Mathwig, he probably wouldn’t admit to being a “renaissance man”. He’d just tell you that he loves riding motorcycles.
His love for motorcycling began in the form of Enduro racing in 1958. By 1960, he was racing half-miles all over the Midwest. That year, at a race in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, he bought a Harley-Davidson KR 750 from Al Burke for 450 dollars.
“Back in those days, we could go to anywhere from 25 to 32 half-miles in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. Sometimes on a weekend, there were 3 races, you know, Saturday, Saturday night, and Sunday. You could leave home with 35 bucks in your pocket, get in your El Camino, go race all weekend, and come home with 50 bucks in your pocket, enough to buy 2 new Pirelli tires, some oil, and a couple of spark plugs, and you’re off again.”
In 1964, Al bought a BSA Hornet form Barney Larson. “I raced that at a bunch of TT’s around the states, and that’s the one I won 14 straight races in a row with. I mean, it was just one of those magic years. It was just a fun time.”
Al rode at all of the famous tracks of the day like Peoria, Springfield, Columbus, and Louisville. Twice he finished 3rd at the Old Time Charity Newsies. In 1968, he rode in the first ever National at the Houston Astrodome. He also had the honor of being the only Minnesotan during that era to carry a National Number, #53.
In 1970, Al hung up his hot shoe, and focused on enduros. He received some support from Husquvarna, rode some qualifiers, and even qualified for the 1972 ISDT (although he was unable to attend the event). Then in 1974, he got the phone call we all dream about: He was offered a spot on the Can-Am Factory Racing Team.
“In 1974, I got the Can-Am ride. I told Jeff Smith, “I’m 35 years old! You don’t want me to do that!” And he said, “Well yeah, we do. All we want you to do is win the State Enduro Championship” which I did.” Al continued riding for the team until July 1976, when he was hit by a car during an enduro in Merrill, Wisconsin. He was severely injured, and unable to ride for the next 14 months. Even so, he had already clinched the 1976 Championship, thus keeping his commitment to Can-Am. Al continued riding enduros through 1988.
Al’s involvement in dirt track and enduro is impressive. But there’s more; lots more:
• In 1959, he and a handful of others founded the Norsemen Motorcycle Club
• In 1963, he rode the Amateur National Road Race at the Daytona Motor Speedway
• Participated in founding District 23
• From 1971-1974, he was a partner of A.M.R. with Marlyn Klunder
• Served as liaison with the Department of Natural Resources Grant-in-Aid program, working to provide and maintain off-road trails
• 1988-present A.M.A. Congressman
These days, Al spends much of his time with his wife, Gerry, at their farm near Mora, Minnesota. If he’s not up there watching his grandchildren riding around, you’ll probably find him somewhere between Alaska and Mexico, touring or Dual-Sport riding. “I figure I have10 more good years of riding left in me. At least, I hope so!”
A person can accomplish quite a bit in 10 years. Especially if you’re Al Mathwig, a Minnesota Legend."
Al Mathwig is the lead commentator for Mike Pohl's documentary "Endless Sunday", the story of Enduro.