AMA Hall of Famer among innovative motorsports engineers of 20th Century
Pickerington, Ohio, Jan. 4—The American Motorcyclist Association offers its condolences to the family and friends of AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jerry Branch, who passed away on December 28 at the age of 94.
Branch is perhaps best remembered as one of the most innovative designers and builders of motorcycle racing engines in the second half of the 20th century.
John O’Keefe, Branch’s business partner for 43 years at Branch & O’Keefe Co., said Branch was still coming to the shop to work regularly until his passing.
Branch began working on motorcycles at a Memphis, Tennessee, Harley-Davidson dealership when he was in high school, eventually leaving to join the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He returned to work at the dealership after the war and developed a friendship with rock ‘n’ roll legend and Memphis resident Elvis Presley, who brought his Harley-Davidsons to the Memphis shop.
Branch moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s and began working as a tuner on Harley-Davidson racing engines. His success with Harley-Davidson projects led him to working with other motorcycle and automotive manufacturers including Ducati and Kawasaki, and he was involved in the formulation of the original AMA Superbike rules.
Branch authored several books about his work with cylinder head air flow. His innovations in engine design and performance were far reaching and helped usher in the Superbike era of racing.
He founded the company Branch Flowmetrics, which he sold to Mikuni in the late 1990s.
Branch was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2005.
For more information about Branch and his contributions to motorcycling, visit the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame website at www.motorcyclemuseum.org.