Huge ride and service set to honor Don Tilley; time changed

Tilley with Kyle Petty at Victory Junction
Tilley with Kyle Petty at Victory Junction
Tilley drove the '63 Dodge, #81, in the 1965 Daytona 500
Tilley drove the '63 Dodge, #81, in the 1965 Daytona 500

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - If love could be measured in decibels, it's likely that the outpouring for Don Tilley will be one of the loudest on record.

"Don was a wonderful man, if you ever knew Don or talked to him, just like talking to a regular Joe, you know," friend Gary Watt told WBTV.  "He just done so many good things for the motorcycle world, I'm one of thousands of people that loved him."

On Sunday hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts will take to two wheels for a ride to honor the late owner of Tilley Harley-Davidson in Statesville and Salisbury.

Tilley died last week when he lost control of his bike while riding with his wife in Buncombe County.  Robinette Tilley remains hospitalized in Asheville.

Don Tilley was well known for his business, but also for his heart.  Tilley was quite literally a driving force behind former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty's charity Rides Across America for the last twenty years.

Those rides raised funds and awareness for Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp, and other charities.

"Don taught me how to ride long distance, love Harleys & most importantly how to be a friend," NASCAR driver Petty tweeted.

In his earlier days Tilley worked for Kyle's father, Richard Petty, and even drove a few NASCAR races between 1964-66.  Tilley piloted a '63 Dodge in the 1965 Daytona 500.

On Sunday a memorial service will be held in Statesville High School's stadium, many of those attending will be riding motorcycles from the Tilley dealerships in Salisbury and Statesville and will arrive with a police escort.

Bikes will leave from the Salisbury dealership at 3:30 pm, and from the Statesville dealership at 5:00 pm.  The service will begin at 6:30 pm.

On Monday, September 8, a private service will be held for family and friends at St. Philip Apostle Church in Statesville.

The family has asked that all donations and memorials be made to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC, 27317.