Class of 2018
Donald E. “Skip” Eaken
Donald E. “Skip” Eaken was a motorcycle racing tuner who worked with several AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame racers and won several AMA-sanctioned championships in road racing and flat track during his more than 30-year career.
Eaken’s teams won Grand National Championship and AMA Superbike races with several motorcycle brands, and he was part of the Honda factory flat track team that won three straight AMA Grand National Championships from 1985 to 1987 and an AMA Superbike title in 1988.
Born March 14, 1944, in Lodi, Ohio, Eaken competed as an amateur before he found a part-time job working at a motorcycle shop.
In 1972, Eaken and his boss decided to build a flat track racer—Eaken’s first foray into motorcycle building and tuning. This experience resulted in a Grand National victory in 1983 with future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Ted Boody riding an Eaken-prepped Harley-Davidson.
Then came Eaken’s big break: Honda racing manager and future Hall of Famer Gene Romero asked Eaken to join the team for the 1984 season, where Eaken worked with future Hall of Famer Bubba Shobert. The pair won three straight AMA Grand National Championships and an AMA Superbike title on factory Hondas.
When Honda scaled back its factory-supported flat-track racing program after the 1988 season, Eaken started his own team. In 1989, Eaken riders finished third and fourth in the championship standings. In 1991, he won the Springfield Mile with future Hall of Famer Ricky Graham at the controls. He also won the Du Quoin Mile in 1994 and 1995 with rider Davey Camlin.
In 2010, Eaken wanted to develop Kawasaki’s 650cc parallel-twin engine for flat track racing. Eaken worked on the Kawasaki project until his death in 2012. The motorcycle he helped develop claimed its first national championship in 2016.