PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Each year at the ceremony inducting a new class into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, an existing Hall of Fame member is honored as an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend. For 2017, the recipient of that honor is Bill Werner, the most successful tuner and bike builder in AMA Grand National Championship history.
"No one knows more about building a winning flat-track bike than AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bill Werner," said Ken Ford, chair of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation Board of Directors. "Werner-built Harley-Davidson XR750s have won more AMA Grand National Championships and more races than any other machine, and his mechanical brilliance has elevated not just those racing his bikes, but the competitiveness of the sport itself.
"We are very honored to recognize Mr. Werner as our 2017 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend," Ford said.
Werner, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000, will be honored Sept. 22 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, alongside the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends are Hall of Famers whose accomplishments transcend their categories in impactful ways. In addition to Werner, the roster of Hall of Famers who have been honored as Legends includes Mark Blackwell, Dick Burleson, "Willie G." Davidson, Roger DeCoster, Torsten Hallman, Bob Hannah, Mert Lawwill, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts and Malcolm Smith.
"First of all, I would like to congratulate the current class of inductees who are being welcomed into this prestigious institution," Werner said. "As for me, I am thrilled by this honor. It is quite unexpected. Typically, racers get most of the attention and deservedly so, and being selected as a tuner is very flattering."
Werner-tuned motorcycles include those that powered Hall of Famers Gary Scott, Jay Springsteen and Scott Parker to a total of 13 AMA Grand National Championships. When Springsteen set the record for all-time AMA national wins, it was Werner turning the wrenches. It was Werner who built Parker's motorcycles when he later broke Springsteen's mark. Werner is easily the winningest tuner in AMA Grand National racing history, with more than 150 wins to his credit.
Werner has garnered many honors over the years, including AMA Mechanic of the Year a remarkable 13 times, and he won the inaugural AMA Pro Racing Award of Mechanical Excellence in 1996.
Werner retired from Harley-Davidson in 2004, but he continues to stay active in professional American Flat Track competition as owner and tuner of the Bill Werner Racing team, which has pioneered the development of the Kawasaki EX650 in AMA Grand National Championship competition.
"The bulk of my career, I was working with Harley-Davidson Motor Company, and I was provided great equipment and the support of a great organization to build and maintain championship-winning race bikes," Werner said. "In many ways, the bigger challenge for me has been converting a street bike, the Kawasaki EX650, into a winning machine."
Reservations for the induction ceremony may be made now at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/induction. Tickets, which include a reception, dinner and the induction ceremony, are $130 per person, or $120 for AMA Life Members. Current AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers can attend for no charge. All proceeds support the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable organization that hosts induction ceremony.
The Class of 2017 includes FMF Racing founder Donnie Emler, off-road racing champion Eddie Lojak Sr., world motocross champion and Road 2 Recovery founder Bob Moore, racer and filmmaker Peter Starr and racer, team owner and publisher John Ulrich. They will be honored along with Werner, now an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend.
The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place in conjunction with the American International Motorcycle Expo, an event that brings together consumers, dealers, manufacturers and the world press in one location for global product launches, demo rides, motorcycling seminars and more.
The American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation welcomes industry support of the induction ceremony, which supports the inductees, honors their achievements, recognizes the impact of their accomplishments and spotlights motorcycling's deep roots in America. Contact Steve Gotoski at (951) 491-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about becoming involved.