johnsmith01 johnsmith01 On January - 2 - 2011

It was just after World War II when he first rode a motorcycle. Then just 16 years old, he had a neighbor with an overriding interest in dating Pettiti’ s sister. In exchange for Pettitis approval of the romantic pursuit, the neighbor lent the teenager his ride. “Oh yes, I remember it clearly,” Pettiti says now, some 54 years later. “I snuck out on my neighbors Cushman Road King. I took it around the back roads of Hayward, California and I was free…Once I rode that Cushman scooter I was hooked.”

Several years later, Pettitis military service would interfere with his love of the open road. He was shot in the war, contracted polio and eventually lost the use of one leg. Pettiti tried flat-track racing but had difficulty learning to slide with one leg taped to the bike. Then he discovered karting, an eye-opening that would eventually result in nearly 40 years of competition and more than 500 trophies. “You might say I was a competitive son of a bitch. To me, first was the only thing that mattered. Anything else was the next loser,” he said.

That same competitiveness has surfaced throughout his business career, too, which has included stints with major motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycling publications, karting magazines, and as the owner of dealerships selling Triumph, Norton, Yamaha and Ural. Since 1999, Pettiti has been a Royal Enfield Dealer and has worked with the company to try and improve the product and enhance quality in the manufacturing process.

“Our best dealers are small, independent and some are in unlikely places,” Mahoney said. Many of them try to help us improve the product. Jim has an engineering background so he has been particularly helpful.

Pettiti’s advice to others with an interest in a Royal Enfield dealership of their own? Be ready to throw yourself into the venture head first.

“You had better like to work and you had better like the bike. You had better be able to live it, breathe it, eat it and sleep it to be successful, Pettiti warned. You don’t just set the things on the showroom floor and take the money. You have to make it work. You have to be dedicated. You’d virtually better tattoo the name on your underwear. I can tell you from years and years in the business that a customer recognizes instantly if a dealership is populated by motor heads, whose passion is the machine and who are genuinely interested in the bikes. You’d better also throw in your social life. We like to think of all our customers as our friends and they are always welcome here.”

John

Categories: Motorcycle Tour

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