Adams chose Renfrow for the team because he fit, literally. Adams conceived the Commonwealth Honda RS850 as a 4/5-sized motorcycle in order to capitalize on one of the laws of physics which states that decreasing mass increases speed. They wanted a 4/5-sized rider, which didn't allow for many choices. "Randy Renfrow was at the absolute head of the queue, that being the time. What I left unsaid there is that rider not only had to be 4/5 in size, but had to have 6/5 the heart, and 6/5 the desire. [Renfrow] may have been small in stature, but he was large in desire and competitive ability."
Adams was a student of the sport and had watched as Renfrow beat Honda's Wayne Rainey for the final Formula One Championship in 1986 by being scrupulously organized and unwaveringly focused, all while racing on a shoestring budget. More than once the team ran out of money. Somehow, they persevered. He'd also seen Renfrow win the 1983 250 Grand Prix title. Renfrow had to be talked into the twins ride because he wanted a Superbike seat. The twins title led to a ride on the Commonwealth Honda RC30 in 1990. In his first full year on the Superbike, he finished second to Kawasaki's Doug Chandler, winning the final Superbike race at Willow Springs. It would be the final win of his AMA career, though for all the wrong reasons.
Testing the RC30 the following winter at Willow Springs, Renfrow hit a dip in turn eight and fell off, his right hand severely mangled when it was caught up in the machine while sliding along at 140mph. Renfrow's thumb was so severely damaged that a decision was made a few days later to cut off the big toe on his right foot and graft it onto his hand. The surgeon told him it may not work; Renfrow could end up without a thumb and without a toe. As it turned out, there was enough of a nub left of the thumb that it did work. To most other people, it might not seem important-but Renfrow obviously thought it was necessary.
"God almighty, can you imagine cutting your toe off to have it grafted onto your hand?" Adams asks. "Toughness isn't a corollary of size, it's a corollary of heart, and this guy is so tough and so full of grit that I've just never known anybody like that. Whenever I think I've got a hard time and I'm suffering, the memory of Randy Renfrow rears itself in my conscious so I can dissuade that thought."
Eleven surgeries later, one of which lasted close to 12 hours, Renfrow made his return to racing in 1992 at Daytona on a self-sponsored 600. Against a crowded factory field, he finished third. Dunlop's road racing boss Jim Allen, one of Renfrow's oldest friends, said, "I remember seeing him in the winner's circle. I was just crying. He'd gotten on the box."
Renfrow was determined to keep racing and did, though never with his earlier success. In a career that spanned nearly 20 years, he was always near the top. In 2001, he entered four MBNA 250 GP races, finishing on the podium at Daytona and VIR, while adding a fourth and a sixth. He was the only rider to race against Kenny Roberts and both of his sons, Kenny Jr., and Kurtis. In 1998, he saw that Kurtis was being a little wild on the track, and asked that a message be relayed to his father to slow him down. Roberts the elder, who'd noticed the same tendency in his youngest son, was grateful for the message.
"Randy, he's one of those caring guys," Plumb says. "He's not your typical racer. When I was doing the twin, we were kind of low on manpower. He had a good relationship with Dunlop. He'd always take the tires over to Dunlop, and that helped me out. One of those professional guys that always had something good to say, and never picked on you, never made you feel like you were a slug, always made you feel good about what you were doing."
"I wish I had the pulse of him a little bit better," Adams says. "Randy was one of those guys that kept a lot inside, too. Having worked with him for three years, there was an awful lot that I wish I knew, that I didn't know. I guess you can say that about anybody once they're gone."
In the end, Adams says, "A little piece of immortality goes with professional sports if you excel. For the survivors, that's nice. There's always someone who's going to look at the record book; somebody to look at for a retrospective, somebody to read about in the program. They'll show that in a former generation this or that happened, and, voil, there's our star. Your accomplishments will outlive you. To me, that's a comfort for knowing Randy: that his accomplishments will stay in the history books when I'm gone."