PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The American Motorcyclist Association is proud to announce the recipients of its 2018 AMA Awards. The six national awards, conferred by the AMA Board of Directors, recognize outstanding contributions in the world of motorcycling and acknowledge support of the AMA mission to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling.
The 2018 AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious of the awards and is presented posthumously to Tom White (1949-2017), a motorcycle racer and co-founder of White Brothers Cycle Specialties who went on the become a noted historian, philanthropist and the founder of the Early Days of Motocross Museum. White was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2014.
Other 2018 award recipients include:
AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award
Wearing AMA National No. 80 in flat-track competition from 1971 to 1976, 2018 AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Tom White co-founded White Brothers Cycle Specialties in 1975 and later created the World Vet MX Championship and the World Four-Stroke Championship.
"Tom White was one of the great people in motorcycling," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman following White's passing in November 2017. "In addition to his personal accomplishments on the track and in the business community, Tom was a wonderful person and a joy to be near."
White's lasting contributions also included the creation of the Edison Dye Motocross Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997, which recognizes annually those who have made the largest impact on the growth of motocross in America. The Early Years of Motocross Museum was White's pride and joy, which today features 160 historic motorcycles and related displays.
Even in retirement White was a fixture on the racing scene, announcing motorcycle races during the past several years at the weekly REM motocross series at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif. In 2017, White was honored with a monument along Glen Helen's Walk of Fame.
in addition to his many achievements, White donated untold hours of service to the AMA and as a board member of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, which oversees the Hall of Fame. For many years he was a stand-out announcer at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, an annual fundraiser for the Hall of Fame.
"The White family is truly humbled and grateful to be receiving this award on Tom's behalf," said Kristin Anderson, White's daughter. "The AMA was an organization Tom was proud to work diligently with. He had a deep love and respect for all of its members. Tom's passion for motorcycling ran deep and he would be truly honored to be receiving the AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award. Thank you to the AMA for extending this honor."
AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award
The recipient of the 2018 AMA Outstanding Road Rider Award is Steve Zurl, a lifelong political activist and the state membership adviser and public relations officer for ABATE of Pennsylvania.
The award is presented annually to recognize those who have contributed to the promotion of the motorcycle lifestyle and the protection of on-highway motorcycling.
In a 2015 interview for American Motorcyclist magazine, Zurl said, "I learned at an early age that complaining at the diner counter accomplishes nothing. Most of the state and federal legislators are unfamiliar with motorcycling or motorcycling issues, and look to riders for answers. I realized I needed to have open discussions with the legislators, take action and offer solutions."
Zurl has participated in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Motorcycle Safety Steering Committee meetings to tackle such issues as distracted driving, motorcyclist licensing and impaired riding. And he has joined other motorcyclists to address such issues as funding the state motorcycle safety program, reducing turnpike tolls, proper vehicle registration, passenger age restrictions, parking restrictions and equipment laws.
"It's a great honor to have my contributions to motorcycling recognized by my peers," Zurl said. "For many years, I worked alongside the members of the AMA and other motorcyclist rights organizations. I never wanted or expected anything more than to protect the motorcycling lifestyle - our lifestyle. I'm sincerely grateful and overwhelmed."
AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award
The 2018 AMA Outstanding Off-Road Rider Award, which highlights the achievements of those who have contributed to the promotion of the motorcycle lifestyle and the protection of off-highway motorcycling, recognizes Clif Koontz of Moab, Utah.
A New Jersey native and avid backpacker, Koontz made his way west and earned a degree in geology at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. There he discovered the area's rich off-highway riding opportunities. Later he landed a job with the National Park Service, working on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Motorcycling in the nearby Wasatch Mountains in Utah, he became active in making improvements along the southern Paiute ATV Trail.
In 2002, Koontz became a founding board member of Ride with Respect, a nonprofit dedicated to conserving shared-use trails and their surroundings. To date, the organization has performed over 18,000 hours of trail work and education on public lands. Koontz currently serves on the board of the National Off-Highway Vehicles Conservation Council and the OHV Advisory Council of Utah State Parks.
"I'm honored to accept this award on behalf of every contributor to service organizations such as Ride with Respect," Koontz said. "The AMA represents passion for all things two-wheeled. Riding on trails with great friends in even greater places has given me the greatest sense of vitality. Groups like Ride with Respect and the AMA have given me a means to give back. They are bridging gaps between street and dirt, urban and rural, even rider and non-rider."
AMA Bessie Stringfield Award
The AMA Bessie Stringfield Award recognizes efforts to introduce motorcycling to new or under-served markets, in memory of the accomplishments of AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bessie Stringfield.
The 2018 award recipient is Stefan Pierer, CEO of KTM AG. Since founding KTM Industries Group in 1987, Pierer has led the company to become the biggest European motorcycle manufacturer and the fastest growing brand in the U.S. market. For 2017, KTM reported 239,000 motorcycles sold, a 17 percent increase over 2016 during a period of industry stagnation in new motorcycle sales.
"I am humbled and honored to receive the 2018 Bessie Stringfield Award," Pierer said. "My gratitude goes to the AMA Board of Directors as well as all KTM staff worldwide for making this possible. We are delighted to see that our passion and dedication for motorcycling and our commitment to promoting the motorcycle lifestyle globally were awarded.
"We also understand our responsibility to protect the future of motorcycling as well as to make riding motorcycles safer, which we do through industry-leading, safety-enhancing technological features on our machines," Pierer said.
The company has invested heavily in electric motorcycle and scooter technology and is collaborating with German e-mobility/electric bicycle manufacturer PEXCO to attract first-time riders. And KTM's partnership with India's Bajaj Auto Ltd., started in 2007, has opened up a major growth market.
"The focus of our strategic partnership has been the joint development of street motorcycles in the entry-level segment of 125cc to 390cc, produced in India and distributed under the brands KTM and Husqvarna by both companies across the globe," Pierer said. "Thanks to this successful partnership, over 30 percent of our sales are now realized in emerging markets."
AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award
The recipient of the 2018 AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award, Scott A. Witt, M.D., medical director for the newborn intensive care unit at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, received national recognition for his heroic efforts to transport babies under his care during the devastating wildfires in Santa Rosa, Calif., in October 2017. Witt's actions were all the more notable because he accomplished them using his BMW R nineT motorcycle.
In an online article published by NBC News, Witt said, "I got called at 2 a.m. because the flames were getting close enough to the hospital so the staff thought that we'd have to evacuate... The intensive care unit already smelled with a lot of smoke and I wanted to move everybody to a parking lot without any fire in it... I feel like these babies are like my own babies. I just wanted to make sure I was there to help them."
There can be no doubt that Witt's unselfish actions honored the award's namesake, Hall of Famer Hazel Kolb, for activities that generated good publicity for motorcycling.
"I am truly touched and honored for being included in this group of good people," Witt said, who explained the nursing staff at the hospital were equally heroic.
"I think of the 'gentleman motorcyclist' idea as my standard of conduct while riding," he said. "So many of the motorcyclists I have met are kind, caring people who will go out of their way to help others, so I am glad that I was found promoting a better image of motorcycling. In this instance, the motorcycle was simply the only way I could have contributed to the evacuation the way I did. I think of mine now as an honorary emergency vehicle. Thank you so much for this award."
Friend of the AMA Award
This award is presented to one or more in the motorcycling community, including clubs, companies, sponsors and/or partners that have strongly supported the AMA mission and programs. The AMA Board of Directors selected five recipients for recognition in 2018: Don Amador, Kurt Caselli Foundation, Bryan Much, the Pennsylvania Trail Riders Association and Robert "Robbie" Robinson.
Don Amador is well known in the motorcycling community as the western representative of the Blue Ribbon Coalition, a position he took in 1995. In 2010, he started an OHV consulting business, Quiet Warrior Racing. His advocacy often parallels the interests of the AMA, and he has been an AMA booster for many years.
"This recognition from the AMA comes as a real surprise. It is an honor that is deeply appreciated," Amador said. "I consider the AMA an important friend as we have partnered together on a number of critical legislative initiatives and land-use planning efforts over the last several decades. I am proud of standing shoulder to shoulder with the AMA in defense of sustainable off-road recreation on federal lands at key hearings or meetings. I look forward to continuation of that relationship as we face new challenges in 2018 and beyond."
The Kurt Caselli Foundation, established in 2013, focuses on the safety of riders and racers in the world of off-road motorcycling. The nonprofit's three-part mission encompasses safety precautions for riders before, during and after a racing career. In addition, the foundation is a significant donor to the International Six Days Enduro rider support fund.
"Speaking for the Kurt Caselli Foundation team, we want to thank the AMA Board of Directors for this very meaningful award," said Nancy Caselli, treasurer of the foundation. "With continued dedication to our mission, which aligns so well with the mission of the AMA, we can make a difference. Kurt Caselli would be proud of us all.
"The third part of our mission is helping young adults pursue their educational goals leading to a career. We hope their career will enable them to keep motorcycles in their life and continue to ride for years to come!" Caselli said.
AMA member Bryan Much has been riding for 40 years, off- and on-road, and currently logs many miles on his bikes while providing GPS routes for others to go on their own adventures at Cannonshot. Much is serious about protecting motorcyclists' rights, helping create trails and serving on the Wisconsin Governor's State Trails Council and Off- Road Vehicle Council. In 2017, Much earned his AMA EAGLES certification and has been named state coordinator for AMA of Wisconsin, a volunteer position in the AMA State Chapters Program.
"Thank you for this special honor, I am proud of the AMA and what it stands for," Much said. "Advocating for motorcyclists, protecting riders' rights, and encouraging motorcycle recreation opportunities are important to us all. The strengths of the AMA include, for one, the many dedicated riders that work hard for our interests from the national through the local grass roots level. I am proud to be a member of this team and to have the opportunity to serve with so many others to achieve our goals."
The Pennsylvania Trail Riders Association dedicates its time and effort to sponsoring four annual dual sport events in the state. PATRA's mission is to ensure that the Seven Mountains and Shade Mountain motorcycle trails remain a legal trail system. Their work requires close coordination with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, state forestry officials, the state legislature and recreational, environmental and community stakeholders.
"PATRA is very honored to receive a 2018 Friend of AMA Award,'" said PATRA President Craig Mellott. "In April 1973, a very energetic guy named Wally Crawford decided to form an organization that would organize all the off-road riders and clubs that were scattered across the state. As you can see from our history, our mission is to ride, protect, and conserve the trail systems of the Bald Eagle State Forest. We are very proud to be considered a friend to the AMA and all those who enjoy the trail."
AMA Charter Life Member Robert "Robbie" Robinson was a lifelong rider who enjoyed motorcycling until his death in October 2017 at age 79, when he succumbed to a medical emergency while riding his Suzuki in Blackwater State Park near his home in Milton, Fla. In his youth, Robinson converted street bikes into dirt bikes before purpose-built off-road motorcycles existed. Later he competed in enduros, hare scrambles and motocross. His favorite event was the Gobbler Getter Enduro in Maplesville, Ala., in which he competed or attended every year since 1968.
Along the way he had a bike shop and two sons that both raced. It was a way of life, according to his son Troy Robinson.
"Dad always had street bikes as well and was a strong advocate for the AMA and proper safety gear, in spite of Florida being a no-helmet state," Troy said. "He, along with my younger brother Trent, hosted a yearly fun run, hare scramble and cookout to a huge turnout. His love of motorcycling helped inspire an entire new younger generation of riders half his age."
For more information about the AMA Board of Directors Awards Program, to see past recipients and learn how to submit individual's names for future consideration, please visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com/For-Members/AMA-Awards/Board-Of-Directors-Awards/board-of-directors-awards.