From the 1990s through the early 2000s, Ty Davis was arguably off-road motorcycle racing’s most versatile champion. Winning at national-caliber events from the tight enduros of the East to the wide-open spaces of the desert in the West, Davis racked up AMA national championships.
Here are a few interesting tidbits about Davis, who was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2012.
1. Born in Bakersfield, Calif., in 1969 and raised in Hesperia, Calif., Davis was encouraged by his father to start riding at an early age. He didn’t want to race but when he finally tried racing at the age of 12 he was hooked.
2. His dad wanted him to race motocross so he didn’t do much desert racing as a teen.
3. Davis was a top regional amateur motocrosser, winning the Golden State National Championship in the 250cc Pro Class in 1987 and then the 125cc and 250cc TransCal Series championships in 1988.
4. His most high-profile title came at the 1990 AMA Supercross 125cc West Region Championship, when he beat future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer and soon-to-be Supercross star Jeremy McGrath.
5. The season he won the 1990 AMA Supercross 125cc West Region Championship, Davis raced two production motorcycles he owned and drove his own van to the races.
6. Davis pointed out of the 125cc class and had to move to the 250cc class in 1991.
7. He says mentally he wasn’t ready to race in the 250cc class. So he accepted an offer from ATK to race the White Brothers Four-Stroke Nationals after the Supercross season. He won the 500cc and 600cc titles and then competing in the famed Baja 1000 desert race.
8. The first year he raced the Baja 500 for ATK the pit crew failed to change his air filter. He lost the race by 17 seconds but ATK gave him win-bonus money anyway because of the filter screw up.
9. Davis moved to Kawasaki in 1993 and was on the winning Baja 1000 team four times, from 1993-96, but didn’t win individually, so he decided to race the AMA National Enduro Championship.
10. Davis earned Kawasaki its first overall AMA National Enduro Championship in 1995.
11. He won again in 1999 aboard a Yamaha, giving the tuning fork company its first overall enduro title. By now, Davis was also winning in the desert, claiming the AMA National Hare & Hound Championship in 1997, 1998 and 2002.
12. Davis’ success wasn’t limited to the race course. In 2001, while still actively competing at the highest levels, Davis started Zip-Ty Racing Products to develop and sell specialized parts for off-road race bikes.