Mert Lawwill, the AMA Grand National Champion of 1969, was one of the top professionals on the AMA national circuit during 1960s and 1970s.
Here are a few things you may not know about Lawwill.
1. Lawwill was born in Boise, Idaho, in 1940 but as a young man moved to California to pursue a racing career. He picked up sponsorship from the legendary motorcycle dealer and later AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Dudley Perkins.
2. Lawwill turned pro in 1963 and then, in 1964, earned a Harley-Davidson factory contract. He stayed with Harley for the rest of his career.
3.He won his first race, the famed Sacramento Mile, on Sept. 19, 1965. His parents were in the stands watching him race for the first time.
4. In 1969, Lawwill was voted the AMA's Most Popular Rider of the Year.
5. Lawwill is perhaps best known for being one of the featured riders of the early 1970s movie classic, “On Any Sunday.” The movie chronicled Lawwill's bid to defend his AMA Grand National title during the 1970 racing season.
6. He hung up his racing leathers in 1977 because of an inner-ear disorder that affected his balance.
7. Lawwill was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.
8. He went on to become a top motorcycle racing frame designer and builder.
9. Lawwill then used his years of knowledge as a motorcycle frame builder and turned his expertise to the rapidly growing sport of mountain biking. Lawwill's custom racing bicycles became highly prized by top racers around the world and his designs won numerous national and world titles.
10. At the request of a factory Harley-Davidson rider who lost his arm in a crash, Lawwill created a prosthetic hand to allow him to ride a motorcycle. That prosthetic became sought after by one-armed motorcyclists and bicyclists and is still available.