John Clark Gable is the long awaited son of Clark Gable, reigning then, and now, as the "King of Hollywood," voted so by tens of millions of movie fans.
John's mother, Kay Williams, was Clark Gable's fifth wife and the proud couple was anticipating the birth of their baby boy when the screen legend suddenly passed away of a heart attack, weeks before John Clark was born.
His legendary father's death shortly before his birth thrust John into the national spotlight. He and his mother were on the covers of LIFE and LOOK magazines, and luminaries like Louella Parsons, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Benny and many others wanted to be seen at his famous Christening ceremony in Encino a few months later.
Clark Gable loved fast cars, beautiful women, and his fans loved him. John Clark Gable has enjoyed many of the attributes of his famous dad, but instead of acting to create his legacy, he has chosen to do it far from the spotlight; in fact, he's been a pioneer in the sport of off-road racing. From motorbikes to trophy trucks, he's taken victory laps.
Today he's at the pinnacle of his career as he now races in multiple categories and is well known on the off-road circuit.
Since an early age, John Gable has found refuge in speed and off-road racing.
Even at a very early age, John Gable knew he wanted to be a racer. After his godmother helped him get his hands on a real motorcross bike, he raced friends around the same paths his father, Clark Gable, once walked with Carole Lombard and later with his mom, Kay Williams. John is pictured here on one of his first motorbikes, caught jumping small hurdles on his mom's Encinco, California ranch.
Already a legacy in the sport.
John Clark Gable may have never known his legendary father but he certainly knows about him. The one thing the younger Gable and his father would have had in common is their mutual affinity for motorsports. Clark Gable regularly attended races and played a race car driver in the motorsports classic, “To please a Lady” John never knew until recently that his father also enjoyed riding his motorcycle off road. “ My Dad rode his Triumph in the dirt back in the days when there wasn’t even such a thing as dirt bikes.” So it is rather ironic that as early as age five, off road motorcycles were how John first acquired his taste for racing. “My mom tried to discourage me from racing but I just knew it was in my blood.” It is of little surprise, therefore, that when his first auto racing win came on Father’s Day 1993, the moment held special significance and inspiration. “When I found out that my father’s second love was auto racing it became a special bond that I have with his memory.”
John Gable’s first organized races were on motorcycles when he was seventeen. He had already been riding for twelve years and was even offered a factory ride from Yamaha at the age of eleven. “Yamaha told my mother that I had done things to their bikes that they had never seen done before.” Much to his dismay, his mother declined the offer on his behalf. John nonetheless fell in love with daredevil riding at a very young age. He spent his youth on the twenty two acre Gable Ranch in Encino, California where he was afforded the luxury of practicing every day in his own backyard. It was there that his love for riding grew into an insatiable craving for mechanical speed. It was clear, early on, that racing was his passion.
After racing motocross throughout his late teens, he moved up to off road trucks in his early twenties. His first truck race was very memorable. “Lining up in a class 8 pickup at the 1983 Barstow Classic, at age twenty three, alongside the legendary Parnelli Jones was very exciting to say the least.” The highlight of his truck racing career, however, came in 1992 when he drove a Ford sponsored, Class 7 unlimited Ranger, solo, for twenty three hours straight, to a 2nd place finish in the prestigious Baja 1000, ahead of Parnelli and Roger Mears.
Although Gable’s love for off road will always bring him back to the desert, he would one day like to participate in a more commercial form of racing. The desert is where he cut his teeth but he has also worked hard to become proficient on the ovals and road courses. He not only participated in the Russell Pro Mazda series, but drove Formula 3 in Mexico for the Galicia team. More recently he has participated weekly in District 37 desert motorcycle racing.
“Because of my father’s legacy, I’m sure I will always have a few irons in the fire in the movie industry, but my true love is racing. I have been doing it seriously for a long time. So if I end up doing a few films to sponsor myself, then I’ll do it that way. I’m not ruling anything out. But as far as racing goes, I’ve got the driving talent to race professionally and I have the desire. One way or another, I will race. I have to. It’s my passion. It is what I live for, and I think if my father hadn’t been a movie star, he would have been a race car driver himself.”