Frantisek (Franta) Stastny was born on November 12, 1927, Czechoslovakia, now Czech republic started sporting career on a pedal bike (even though he played hockey, competed in speed skating and ski-bob too).
He rode the motorcycle on the racetrack for the first time at the end of the nineteen forties. At a time it was not clear whether he will be doing mileage on the road in racing cyclist’s peloton or rather in a motorbike’s one.
In 1948 Frantisek bet on a new racing bike with the former cycling champion Jan Vesely at the start of the Peace Race in Warsaw that he will not give up his first international race, even when he qualified to the national team and came literally at the last minute. Franta was not a long distance runner. He rode on the track and up the hill races and his longest competition track race Prague - Cesky Brod and back measured in total of about 50 km. The first stage of The Peace Race (Závod Míru) measured 198 kilometers long and the second next day another 213 km...
He achieved countless victories in racing motorcycles; perhaps the most successful one was in 1961, when he finished second at the world championship in 350 ccm category...
The first champion of Czechoslovakia Franta Stastny won in 1956 and the last time he stood on the podium was in 1971. Although Franta Stastny is the most successful motorcycle racer of our (czechoslovakian) history as he used to win literally all over the world, there there were also times he did not achieve success in this period of fifteen years.
On home soil he won a big award nine times, but there was a dark side of his racing career too….total of 33 larger and smaller fractures, one foot was almost 5 cm shorter and a number of metal screws and plates in his body, how he liked to mention… like in a drawer in a hardware shop. “That’s my canine character when I crash somewhere to pieces, in the hospital no doctor is able to keep me because I look forward to being back on the bike”.
He had talent and quirky narrator, simple style Czech, impossible to describe, but when Frantisek Stastny began to talk and recall the stories with his bike there was no lack of a large audience. He presented motorsport on television, participated as a popular narrator of sport stories featured in the Prague theatre Rococo in the Darek Vostřel’s program. Darek never forgot to remind to everyone the ride Franta gave him from Podolí to Prague theater. Darek was severely stuttering on stage and could not catch a breath for very long time.
Together with his colleague racer and friend Gusta Havel, Franta Stastny was inextricably linked with the name of motorcycle brand Jawa. Even though during the best years of his racing career he could choose from many offers from around the world.
...but Frantisek’s credo was he would feel anywhere else as a stranger. He was just simple Czech guy who needed his friends around and familiar environment to perform his best and a place he could always return to after the race.
Franta Stastny died on April 8, 2000. He talked about his life as about one big happy, fulfilled sporting dream. And so neither the book, which was written about him, could not be named differently than Happy Frantisek (Happy František is a translation of his real name in Czech - Šťastný František).
Volně přeloženo dle textu Roberta Tamchyny.