Past Inductees

Each year, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame recognizes a new class of motorcycling heroes—men and women who have excelled in the sport or have changed the world of motorcycling for the better. The induction ceremonies are gala affairs, honoring the inductees with the adoration and respect that they so rightly deserve. Here, we list the inductees from recent years and summarize their accomplishments.

In addition, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony also highlights the careers of existing Hall of Famers, inviting them to participate in the ceremonies and reminding the motorcycling community of their accomplishments.

Class of 2017: Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio

On Friday, Sept. 22, the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame welcomed the members of the Class of 2017 at the 2017 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Harley-Davidson.

The ceremony, hosted by actor, motorcyclist and AMA board member Perry King and co-emcee Laurette Nicoll, inducted racer, team manager and publisher John Ulrich; Flying Machine Factory founder Don Emler Sr.; hare scrambles, GNCC champion and 1982 ISDE racer Ed Lojak Sr.; TV producer and filmmaker Peter Starr; and Supercross and World Motocross Champion Bob Moore.

Also honored as an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend was 2000 Hall of Fame inductee Bill Werner, the most successful flat-track tuner and mechanic of all time. AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend. AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends are existing Hall of Famers who are being recognized for their ongoing contributions to motorcycling.

John Ulrich

John Ulrich is a lifelong motorcyclist who has won races in five decades, co-founded and managed a racing team, founded and served as publisher of a motorcycle road racing magazine and started a charity to help keep track racers safe.

"I found something I love, and I stuck with it," Ulrich said. "I met a girl who would put up with me, had kids and built a career, started businesses, put the kids to work. I had a life based on and built around motorcycles, motorcycle racing."

Ulrich first competed in 1973. He won the 1983 and 1984 WERA National Endurance Championships and the 1996 WERA National Challenge Series 125cc Grand Prix Championship. He co-founded Team Hammer in 1980 and has led the team to numerous amateur and professional championships.

Ulrich is the founder and publisher of Roadracing World & Motorcycle Technology magazine, the leading periodical covering the sport of American road racing.

He founded and operates the Roadracing World Action Fund, a nonprofit that advocates track safety, promoting the use of soft barriers to prevent racetrack injuries and providing education on the value of adequate pre-race practice, rider training and proper racetrack preparation.

Ulrich served on the AMA Board of Directors for many years. In 2017, following his retirement from the board, he was presented the AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest award bestowed by the AMA board.



Peter Starr

Peter Starr is a motorcycle racer, TV producer and filmmaker whose work includes dozens of productions about motorcycles and motorcycling -- bringing the message that motorcycles are fun, exciting, practical and liberating to countless riders and non-riders.

"Certainly I am not up here because of my racing prowess, as anyone who raced against me can attest," Starr said. "But having raced internationally in the early 1960s did stand me in good stead for the part of my motorcycling career that brought me here tonight.

"In my book, Taking It To The Limit-20 years of Making Motorcycle Movies, I credited everyone I could remember who helped in the making of any of the 40-plus motorcycle films I made," he continued. "For me it was a very exciting and satisfying part of my life, and I am grateful for being honored in this way."

Born in Coventry, England in 1942, Starr started riding motorcycles at an early age and turned his love for bikes into a four-year stint working for Triumph in the early 1960s. He raced Ariels, Nortons and a Triumph T100.

After moving to the United States in the mid-1960s, Starr spent six years as a rock-and-roll DJ and two years as a record producer before turning back to motorcycles as a filmmaker. His first film, "Bad Rock," was about the International Six Days Enduro qualifier in Oregon.

Starr's most famous film was "Take it to the Limit," which won Gold and Silver Awards at the Chicago and Houston International Film Festivals.



Ed Lojak Sr.

By 1982, Ed Lojak Sr. had enough racing success for an entire career.

That year, the 22-year old was the overall champion of the AMA Hare Scrambles National Championship Series and the Grand National Cross Country Champion for the third straight season. He also was the top American at the 1982 ISDE when the United States team finished second in Czechoslovakia at what many consider one of the most difficult ISDEs of all time.

"They say the greatest honor is the respect of your peers, and for that I am grateful," Lojak said.

After thanking the two uncles who started him off in motorcycling, Lojak added: "I share this award with you tonight."

For his many accomplishments, the AMA also honored Lojak with the 1982 AMA Amateur Athlete of the Year Award. It was a career-defining moment, but Lojak was hardly done. He would go on to win two more overall championships in the AMA Hare Scrambles National Championship Series and an impressive six more GNCC titles.

No other rider has more than five overall motorcycle titles in the GNCC series, which also features ATV classes.





Don Emler Sr.

When Don Emler Sr. started racing motorcycles in 1967, he just wanted to make his bikes go faster than everyone else's. But when his competition saw the difference between their bikes and Emler's, they wanted to tap into that performance.

By 1973, Emler was spending more time on other racers' bikes than he was on his own. So, he decided to plunge into the tuning business full time, launching the Flying Machine Factory in his Southern California shop.

"A special thanks to Tom White for instigating this award and to all of my friends along this great ride, all those that have worked with me, and, most importantly, thanks to my family," Emler said. "This is a great event that keeps the nostalgia of the sport we all love."

During FMF's early years, the company focused on the Southern California motocross scene, as Emler strived to provide the best performance equipment for the area's up-and-coming pro racers. His efforts quickly paid off, and FMF earned a reputation as the region's top independent shop.

Early FMF customers included AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Danny LaPorte and Marty Smith.

Under Emler's guidance, FMF developed into one of the world's leading off-road exhaust system manufacturers, and its chrome-plated two-stroke systems were increasingly common on America's motocross tracks throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

FMF Racing supported the off-road racing market, building specially tuned exhaust systems for woods riding that were used by AMA Hall of Famers such as Rodney Smith and Randy Hawkins during their championship years.

Today, FMF is one of the premier motorcycle aftermarket exhaust suppliers in the world. Its brand is recognized by riders and racers alike who proudly display the company logo in events everywhere.

Emler remains active, as well. From the boardroom to the design table to the dyno, he has continued to find ways to coax a little more power from motorcycle engines through advanced exhaust systems and other accessories.



Bob Moore

From the time he was in his teens, Bob Moore had one goal in mind for his racing career: Win a world championship.

Moore started riding mini-bikes as a child, tossing his bike in the back of his father's truck, going from track to track and racing. His father, once an amateur racer, owned a motorcycle trailer business, so Moore was always around bikes.

"He got me into the dirt," Moore said. "We had some property, as well, so every day after school I would ride my (Honda) MR50 till dark."

His perseverance and determination led to a highly successful mini-racing career. But when it came time to move up to a larger bike, Moore faced a challenge.

Moore's dad told him he was too small to compete on a 125 and it was "time to give it up."

"I don't know if he said that as motivation or to get me to face reality," Moore said. "But I said, 'You know what? I'm going to show you.'"

In September 1984, Moore bought a 125 and began winning immediately. He turned pro and signed a $5,000 contract with Suzuki.

Moore won the 1985 AMA 125 West Coast Supercross Championship and decided it was time to head for Europe and chase a world title.

During the next nine years, Moore snagged 28 individual moto wins in the 125 and 250 classes. He was runner-up three times in that championship: 1990 and 1991 in the 125 class, and 1992 in the 250 class. Moore also won three German national championships: In 1989 and 1990, he was the German Motocross Champion, and, in 1990, he took the Indoor German Motocross crown.

Then, in 1994, Moore achieved the goal he set so many years earlier: He won the FIM 125cc World Motocross Championship.

After retiring from racing, Moore stayed close to the sport by managing the FMF Honda motocross team and co-founding Road 2 Recovery, a charity created in 2000 to support injured AMA professional motocross and Supercross racers.

Today, Moore works for Wasserman Media Group, serving as executive vice president of motorsports, action sports and Olympics and works with MotoGP racers.



Hall of Fame Legend Bill Werner

In the AMA Grand National Championship paddock, Bill Werner is legendary. He's considered to be the greatest flat-track tuner and mechanic of all time.

"A mechanic's success is ultimately tied to the rider. I've worked with some of the best," Werner said.

Werner, as a factory mechanic for Harley-Davidson, tuned motorcycles that carried 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. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.

Now, Werner can count among his accolades the status of AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend.

Hall of Fame Legends are Hall of Famers whose accomplishments transcend their categories in impactful ways. In addition to Werner, Hall of Famers who have been honored as Legends include Mark Blackwell, Dick Burleson, "Willie G." Davidson, Roger DeCoster, Torsten Hallman, Bob Hannah, Mert Lawwill, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts and Malcolm Smith.

"People often ask me when I will finally retire," Werner said. "I don't have the answer to that yet. I'm currently working with Dave Zanotti and the Bauman brothers. We were the first non-Indian Motorcycles team to win a national this year. Initially, you get into racing for the sheer competition of it, but my participation now has more to do with the science of it. I'm more intrigued by the modifications and how they work in a racing environment. It's kind of a science experiment that never ends."



Class of 2016: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.

On Thursday, Oct. 13, the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame welcomed the members of the Class of 2016 at the 2016 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction, presented by Husqvarna Motorcycles.

The ceremony, hosted by actor, motorcyclist and AMA board member Perry King, inducted race frame designer and builder Jeff Cole, Championship road racer Miguel Duhamel, designer and creator of the Indian Scout Charles Franklin, racer, tuner and mechanic Chris Haines, desert racer Jack Johnson, professional dirt-track racer Ronnie Jones, team manager for several Hall of Fame careers Dennis Mahan and pioneer for women riders Gloria Struck.

Also honored was 1999 Hall of Fame inductee and winner of eight consecutive AMA National Enduro Championships Dick Burleson as the 2016 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend. AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends are existing Hall of Famers who are being recognized for their ongoing contributions to motorcycling.

Jeff Cole

Jeff Cole was a brilliant fabricator known for faultlessly translating rider feedback, whether highly technical or casual commentary, into geometric expression. In many ways, his revolutionary frame designs changed the racing landscape.

His company, C&J Precision Products, built racing frames that recorded countless AMA Grand National victories and championships since 1970, including 20 AMA Grand National Championships in a 22-year span. His designs also proved to be successful in road racing, motocross, international enduro and desert racing.

"I'd like to thank the AMA and the entire motorcycle community that brought me to this place," Cole said. "I'm terribly humbled by this honor."
In his induction speech, Cole talked about the challenges of building racing frames and how he ultimately gravitated toward dirt track. He thanked the industry for supporting his business efforts and thanked his wife and family for "allowing me to do what I loved."



Miguel Duhamel

Miguel Duhamel was the AMA road racing paddock's most dominant rider in the 1990s and early 2000s. The charismatic Canadian, who was as fast as he was popular with fans, lit up the record books throughout an era that saw some of the fiercest competition ever in the AMA road racing ranks.

At the height of his career, Duhamel was the winningest AMA Superbike racer in history with 32 class wins. He captured the Superbike crown in 1995, won the Daytona 200 five times, took five AMA Supersport titles and two AMA Formula Xtreme titles on his way to amassing 86 career AMA wins.

"I want to thank everybody at the AMA and who's part of the AMA who helped put me here," Duhamel said. "That's the dream that you have when you start — to be here.

"The first time I road raced," he said, "I wasn't impressed, but the first time I was able to drive around a corner, I thought, 'Wow! This is something!'"

Duhamel recalled several moments throughout his career, including famous ones, such as his devastating crash at Loudon, N.H., in 1998 and his monumental effort to win two classes at the Daytona, Fla., season opener the following year. He also talked about private interactions with fellow racers that demonstrated the tight-knit nature of the community.

"I had great people helping me all my life, including my family, my AMA family and my whole racing family," Duhamel said. "No matter how much you don't get along with someone on the track, you are always a family off it."



Ronnie Jones

Riding as a privateer, Ronnie Jones collected 10 AMA Grand National Championship wins and 32 podium finishes from 1980 through 1995. He finished in the top 10 of the series in 11 consecutive seasons and scored Grand National points in 21 consecutive seasons. Jones also scored wins in three of the four dirt-track disciplines of short track, TT and Half-mile, and just missed scoring a Mile victory several times, finishing in the runner-up position five times.

"Thanks to all who voted for me, and thanks to the AMA for shepherding the sport I love," Jones said. "I fell in love with motorcycles as a young boy, and it's a love affair that has lasted my whole life."

Although Jones retired from full-time competition after the 1999 season, he continued to race select events through 2014. During his most recent campaign, he set a record by scoring AMA Grand National Championship points 35 years after his rookie Expert season.

Jones talked about the memories he's made racing motorcycles and the friendships he's made. He thanked everyone who supported his career with "sweat, money or advice." He remembered his parents and thanked his late brother and fellow racer David.

"I know you were with me on each lap," said Jones, referring to his brother. "Knowing that, I wanted each one to be one hell of a ride."



Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson won his first Nevada State Championship title in desert racing at age 10, but his formal career was launched a decade later. Johnson was first overall in the 1973 Mint 250, 1975 Mint 400, 1976 Mint 400, 1978 Cherry Creek Hare and Hound and in the 1979 Baja 500, where he was also first in the solo "Iron Man" class.

"This is such a great honor, to be selected for the Hall of Fame," Johnson said.

Johnson also won first overall at the Baja 1000 with Larry Roeseler in 1978, 1979 and 1980, and in 1982 with Al Baker. He consistently won his class in the Baja 1000 from 2001 through 2007. He also was a two-time International Six Days Enduro medalist, winning gold in 1981.

Johnson thanked his dad, who taught him how to ride and work on his bike, and his mom for "patching him back together when he made mistakes."

Johnson also acknowledged fellow 2016 inductee Chris Haines, whom he credited with putting together a number of great teams that included Johnson.

Speaking of those teams, Johnson said "the best thing about life and motorcycling is the great people you meet along the way."



Dennis Mahan

Motorcycles tuned by Dennis Mahan were part of some of the greatest racing careers in American motorcycling. Mahan-tuned BSAs, Yamahas, Can-Ams and Kawasakis have won championships and set records in dirt track, road race, motocross and land-speed over several decades.

Mahan's start was in dirt track, where he built the BSA Gold Stars on which AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Gary Nixon began his career. Nixon's first pro victory was on a Mahan-tuned BSA in 1961. In 1969, Mahan built and managed Yamaha USA's first factory race teams in dirt track, road race, motocross and snowmobiles, while also tuning Yamaha engines for competition. Mahan built the 250cc factory road racer that sported Nixon's No. 1 plate.

"Standing on this stage tonight in front of all my heroes is just overwhelming for me," Mahan said. "I've been fortunate in my 58 years of motorcycling to work with some really great companies. Without their support, I wouldn't be here today. This is the culmination of a great career, and I can't thank everyone enough."

Perhaps his crowning achievement in motocross was seeing his bikes sweep the top three spots in the 1974 AMA 250cc National Motocross Championship with AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Gary Jones, Marty Tripes and Jimmy Ellis.

In 1977, Mahan moved to Kawasaki Motors USA, where he mentored future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend Wayne Rainey. Mahan also built factory Kawasaki dirt-trackers for future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Eddie Lawson, and helped develop the production KZ1000 Eddie Lawson Replica street bike in 1983.



Gloria Tramontin-Struck

Born in 1925 in an apartment attached to her family's motorcycle shop in Clifton, N.J., Gloria Tramontin-Struck is the reigning matriarch of the women's riding community. A member of the Motor Maids since 1946, she embodies the mission of the organization by riding her Harley-Davidson to events such as the Sturgis motorcycle rally and Daytona Bike Week from her New Jersey home.

"I'm now 91 years old, still ride two wheels, always will," Tramontin-Struck said at her induction into the Hall of Fame. "As a 70-year member of the AMA, I sincerely thank all who voted for me."

Tramontin-Struck thanked her late brother Arthur, who introduced her to riding, and her daughter and longtime riding partner, Lori Struck-DeSilva. She also thanked the Motor Maids, the iconic women's motorcycling organization that she's been a member of since 1946.

n her lifetime, Tramontin-Struck has ridden in all 48 continental states several times over, as well as in Europe. In the 1950s, she earned continental notoriety by completing a high-profile adventure ride in Canada from Toronto to Montreal.

"I find motorcyclists to be the most caring, giving and patriotic people on Earth, and I'm proud to be one of you," Tramontin-Struck said.



Hall of Fame Legend Dick Burleson

As an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend, Dick Burleson joins some of American motorcycling's greatest achievers.

From 1974 to 1981, Dick Burleson won eight consecutive AMA National Enduro Championships, a record so extraordinary that it may never be broken. In addition to his incredible domestic record, Burleson also won eight consecutive gold medals in the International Six Days Trials (now called the International Six Days Enduro).

While Burleson's first sport was motocross -- in 1970, he was the AMA's national motocross champion due to rules in place prior to the establishment of a national motocross series—among American off-road racers, Burleson is one of the all-time greats.

"Championships are won from opportunity, dedication, training, preparation and true love for the challenge of the trail and overcoming the mental aspects of the competition," Burleson said. "Perfection is unattainable. Success is about overcoming problems, finding solutions, not being perfect. This is one of the all-time lessons I learned in my career and life."

Burleson also congratulated the members of the Class of 2016.

"It's an honor and a responsibility to be in the Hall of Fame," he said. "We must represent the sport and help promote motorcycling, the greatest family sports there is."



Class of 2015: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.

On Saturday, Oct. 17, the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame welcomed the members of the Class of 2015 at the 2015 Yamaha AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Harley-Davidson.

The ceremony, hosted by actor, motorcyclist and AMA board member Perry King, inducted dirt tracker Alex Jorgensen, road racing champion John Kocinski, longtime Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. race team manager Keith McCarty, entrepreneur and industry patron John Parham, off-road racing champion Rodney Smith and former Harley-Davidson CEO Richard Teerlink.

Also honored was 1999 Hall of Fame inductee and three-time world road racing champion Wayne Rainey as the 2015 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend, presented by MAG. AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends are existing Hall of Famers who are being recognized for their ongoing contributions to motorcycling.

Alex Jorgensen

Alex "Jorgy" Jorgensen exemplifies the talent, skill and diverse abilities that are trademarks of the greatest AMA Grand National competitors in history. Of the handful of riders who have wins in all four dirt-track disciplines -- short track, TT, half mile and mile -- Jorgensen is the only rider who achieved the feat in his first four Grand National wins, while competing on four different motorcycles -- Can-Am, BSA, Norton and Harley-Davidson.

Jorgensen's career boasts a number of special wins. He is the last rider to win an AMA Grand National on a Norton or BSA, both wins coming at Ascot. He earned Can-Am its first AMA Grand National win. 

He also logged the first AMA Grand National victory on Rotax's four-stroke single at the Ascot TT. From 1982 to 2004, the Rotax engine would dominate the highest levels of short-track and TT competition. Along with Gary Scott, Jorgensen holds the record of most AMA Grand National wins at Ascot with six.

"I'm very honored to be here tonight," Jorgensen said. "I want to thank all of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers who voted for me. I'm so lucky that I raced motorcycles. It allowed me to meet so many people I wouldn't have. I want to thank the AMA for giving me this chance. It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life."


John Kocinski

John Kocinski, who began racing as a teenager, won the AMA 250 Grand Prix Championship in 1987, 1988 and 1989 and took the 1989 600 Supersport win at Daytona International Speedway. In 1990, in his first full season with Team Roberts, he won the 250cc World Championship in Europe, claiming eight pole positions and notching seven wins on tracks he had never seen before. In 1997, he won the World Superbike championship, scoring 10 wins on a Honda RC45, the bike's crowning world title. 

Kocinski went on to record 18 AMA 250 GP wins. During his career, he raced on teams that included AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame members David Aldana, Erv Kanemoto, Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey, including Team Roberts assembled by Kenny Roberts. He officially retired from racing in 2002. Kocinski was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the Road Racing category. 

In his induction speech, Kocinski talked about his long career and how it all began with a spark of inspiration, witnessing legendary tuner Bud Aksland work on a Yamaha TZ250 at Daytona in 1982. 

"I really can't thank Bud enough for everything he did for me," Kocinski said. "I would like to thank the AMA for being a world-class federation and giving me a place to hone my skills. I want to thank my family for their sacrifices." 


Keith McCarty

Keith McCarty's first job as a motorcycle mechanic was for U.S. Suzuki in 1973 for rider Mike Runyard. In 1975-76, he wrenched for AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Tony DiStefano, winning two 250cc AMA National Motocross Championships. When the motocross schedule didn't conflict, he worked with the Hall of Fame duo of Erv Kanemoto and Gary Nixon in road racing. 

In January 1977, McCarty began his long career with Yamaha as the mechanic for AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend Bob "Hurricane" Hannah. McCarty has remained in Yamaha's racing division ever since, working as mechanic, supervisor, department manager and, most recently, division manager for all of Yamaha's U.S. racing activities. 

McCarty, who lives in Orange, Calif., is known not only for his technical knowledge, but also for inspirational prowess and organizational acumen that transcends racing disciplines, making him not only an asset for Yamaha but also a valued member of the motorcycling community. 

"I want to congratulate the other inductees tonight," McCarty said. "I want to thank my Yamaha family. The thing about being in a family is being certain that someone has your back no matter what, though wins and losses. I'm so proud to be a member of the AMA and to receive this honor tonight." 


John Parham

John Parham opened his first shop with a partner in 1975 in his hometown of Anamosa, Iowa. Four years later, he branched out with his wife Jill, starting J. Parham Enterprises. This company came to be known as J&P Cycles. By the 1990s, J&P Cycles had grown into one of the largest motorcycle accessory mail order companies in the world. 

Parham stayed on board to run J&P Cycles after selling it to Motorsports Action Group in 2001. At that time, he also focused additional energy and resources on preserving motorcycling history. In 2001, Parham relocated the National Motorcycle Museum to Anamosa, where it has continued to thrive and grow into one of the world's foremost motorcycle museums. 

"J&P Cycles was successful because of all of our wonderful employees," Parham said. "Everyone's goal was to provide the best customer service that we could, no matter whether it was to the retail customer, your fellow employees, or the companies we did business with. I wish to thank all of our employees past and present." 


Rodney Smith

Rodney Smith started riding motorcycles in the hills of Northern California with his family in the '70s. From there, he blossomed into a local motocross standout and then an international contender. Smith accepted an offer to race in Brazil in 1985 and won five Brazilian national championships. He then moved to the world level and finished third in the 1988 Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme 250cc World Motocross Championships before returning to America in 1990. 

Back in the United States, Smith turned his focus to off-road racing, where he became one of the most dominant riders of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Smith won 13 AMA-sanctioned national championship series, including five Grand National Cross Country titles, three AMA National Hare Scrambles titles and five AMA National Reliability Enduro Championships. He also excelled in the International Six Days Enduro, winning multiple gold medals, competing on the premier U.S. Trophy Team and twice earning top-American honors. 

"From Day 1 when I was a kid, we were just an average family riding dirt bikes," Smith said. "I never thought in those days, that it would come to this. What a great honor. I never thought I would be up here being inducted into the Hall of Fame."


Richard Teerlink

Richard Teerlink was part of the executive team responsible for Harley-Davidson's financial turnaround in the late 1980s. As president and CEO, Teerlink helped establish the company's new mission, values, objectives and strategies. His approach included working closely with employees at all levels of the organization, as well as with union leaders. In addition, he believed a participative approach with dealers, suppliers and riders would lead to the development of mutually beneficial relationships. 

Teerlink joined Harley-Davidson in 1981 as chief financial officer. That year, the company posted an operating loss of $15.5 million on revenue of $210 million. When Teerlink retired as chairman and CEO in 1999, Harley posted operating profits of $416 million on revenue of $2.45 billion and held nearly 50 percent of the U.S. market for 650cc and larger motorcycles. 

"Joining Harley-Davidson as chief financial officer was a life changing experience," Teerlink said. "As CFO and later as CEO, I was able to meet customers face to face, and share the experience and the camaraderie of the open road. And through the Harley Owners Group, my wife and I have had the opportunity to build relationships with riders, customers and friends from all over the world. To be admitted to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame is an honor beyond belief." 


Hall of Fame Legend Wayne Rainey

Wayne Rainey was the top World Championship 500cc Grand Prix rider of the early 1990s, winning three consecutive World Championships riding for Yamaha in 1990, 1991 and 1992. In addition to his accomplishments on the world level, Rainey was also a star of AMA Superbike racing during the 1980s, winning that title in 1983 with Kawasaki and again for Honda in 1987. 

Following a career-ending injury while leading the Italian Grand Prix in September 1993, Rainey, who also was in the points lead for a fourth straight title at the time, returned to the sport the next year as a team owner and manager. Rainey retired from that role following the 1998 season. 

Today, Rainey is the president of MotoAmerica, the AMA and FIM North America championship road racing series. Rainey was the motive force behind the creation of the new series, serving as both its inspiration and most prominent advocate, insisting the series was necessary to prepare today's American road racers for success on the world stage. 

Rainey treated the attendees on a heartfelt ride through his life, recounting his career from the time he started racing to his U.S. championships to his world championships, his injury, his return as a team owner, and finally his commitment to MotoAmerica. 

"I want to thank the AMA for originally inducting me in '99," Rainey said. "It's pretty cool that everybody here tonight is connected through motorcycles. Anything is possible. To my son, Rex, when you go through the challenges of your life, I hope you see how I dealt with tough times and let that guide you." 



Class of 2014: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.


The seven members of the Class of 2014 were recognized for their achievements and contributions to motorcycling during the 2014 American Honda AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Harley-Davidson Motor Company, at the Chapin Theater in the Orange County Convention Center on Oct. 17 in Orlando, Fla.

During a ceremony hosted by actor, motorcyclist and American Motorcyclist Association board member Perry King, the new inductees are: race tuner and innovator Byron Hines; motocross pioneer Pierre Karsmakers; Tom White, acclaimed motorcycle collector, former nationally ranked racer and founder of White Brothers Cycle Specialties; George Barber, founder of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and the Barber Motorsports Park; national off-road racing champion Scott Summers; AMA motocross champion and current Supercross/motocross team manager Mike LaRocco; and legendary tuner, engine builder and team owner Rob Muzzy.

Also honored was AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend William "Willie G." Davidson. Willie G. is the grandson of Harley-Davidson founder William A. Davidson and is responsible for many of the innovative motorcycle designs that ushered in a new era for the iconic company.


Pierre Karsmakers

Pierre Karsmakers was one of the first European motocross champions to bring his expertise to America. A three-time motocross champion in his native Holland, Karsmakers came to the United States to gain wider exposure and attract the attention of the Japanese motorcycle makers.

Racing for Yamaha in 1973, Karsmakers won the 500cc motocross national championship series, scoring 2,659 total points. The second-place racer scored 1,427. Karsmakers also was winner of the inaugural AMA Supercross Championship in 1974. He retired from racing in 1979.

"I came to America in the early '70s, after I had gotten an offer from Yamaha to race for them in the national motocross championships," Karsmakers said. "Together we were pretty successful. I had a great time racing and working in America, although in motocross there are many ups and downs, like everybody knows. I hope that I was a good example for the young American motocross riders, and that we all made motocross stronger and more popular over here."



Byron Hines

Byron Hines is one of the most successful engine builders in motorcycle racing. As a tuner, Hines has won in the 1970s, '80s, '90s and 2000s. He has won in drag racing and road racing on brands as varied as Yamaha, Ducati and Harley-Davidson.

He found early success as a young tuner in the 1970s when he joined forces with motorcycle drag racer and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Terry Vance. The pair earned national drag-racing championships into the 1980s, along the way leveraging their on-track achievements into the successful aftermarket company Vance & Hines.

The company branched into road racing in the 1980s, becoming one of the top AMA Pro Superbike teams, winning individual races as well as class titles, including the 1990 AMA SuperSport Championship with rider David Sadowski. His totals include 23 NHRA national drag racing championships, 130 national drag racing wins and scores of ET and top-speed records.

In the late 1990s, they switched to Ducati and experienced further success with Anthony Gobert and Ben Bostrom at the controls. Today they compete in, and sponsor, the AMA Pro Racing Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Racing Series, part of the AMA Pro Road Racing program.

"Throughout my career, motorcycle drag racing has been my primary focus, but I've always had interest in all forms of motorcycle competition," Hines said. "Along the way, I've had the opportunity to meet and work with some outstanding individuals and some great race teams. I would like to thank everyone for the support on this very special occasion. It's once in a lifetime achievement, and I deeply appreciate the honor."



George Barber

George Barber is arguably the world's most prolific collector of motorcycles. He is the founder of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and creator of the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Barber's early interest in motor vehicles manifested itself in Porsche racers during the 1960s, when he wrenched his own cars and notched 63 first-place finishes. But he became intrigued with motorcycles, especially the variety of ways different designers and engineers chose to solve similar problems.

He began collecting motorcycles and decided to open a museum when the collection reached about 60.

Today, the world-renowned Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum holds a collection of more 1,400 motorcycles, with more than 700 on display at any given time. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people visit the 830-acre Barber Motorsports Park that includes a 2.38-mile roadracing track.

Barber was unable to attend the ceremony. Brian Slark, an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame member and Barber museum's technical director, accepted the award on Barber's behalf.

In an acceptance speech video, Barber thanked those who contributed to his museum and invite the motorcycling community to visit and enjoy both his collection and track.



Scott Summers

Scott Summers raced Honda XR600Rs to nine AMA national off-road racing championships by racing his way -- on a motorcycle that most others appreciated for its proficiency in wide-open desert racing.

Although Summers acknowledged that the XR600R had a weight disadvantage compared to the much smaller two-strokes ridden by his rivals, he noted that the Honda's smoother power delivery and torque gave him a performance edge with his riding style.

Summers won the 1990, 1991 and 1992 Grand National Cross Country championships against riders on much lighter and more agile motorcycles. After a three-year GNCC dry spell, Summers reclaimed the AMA national No. 1 plate in 1996 and successfully defended his title the following year.

Summers also won AMA Harescrambles National Championships in 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1995. In addition, he collected three gold medals competing for the U.S. team at the International Six Days Enduro.

"I have to admit though, 95 percent of what got me here tonight is luck. My story is all about luck," Summers said.

Among the "lucky" aspects of his life, Summers listed: being born in America, having parents and a grandfather who were motorcyclists, being part of a family with the financial means to support his endeavors, and earning the trust of his parents.

"Now all of these things don't just happen to everybody in the world," he said. "I didn't know it at the time, but at 7 years old, I was already on my second dirt bike and I had won the dirt bike family lottery.

"I'm so grateful though to have lived this life that I have. What I realize now, more than ever before, is that I have been blessed with an amazing amount of luck. We lived the dream."



Tom White

Tom White is an acclaimed racer, founder of White Brothers Cycle Specialties and a lifetime advocate of motorcycling and the sport of motocross.

White first tasted motorcycling at the age of 15. By the time he was in his early 20s, White was ranked among the top 100 motorcycle racers in America, earning AMA National No. 80. Soon after, he founded White Brothers Cycle Specialties in 1975, which became one of the top off-road motorcycle accessory companies in America. When White sold the company in 2000, the firm listed more than 30,000 products.

Today, White feeds his passion by racing motocross, working as a race announcer, and serving as owner and curator of the Early Years of Motocross Museum in Villa Park, Calif., which features 160 motorcycles and related displays.

White's lasting contributions also include the Edison Dye Motocross Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes the person or persons who have made the largest impact on the growth of motocross in America, and creating the World Veteran MX Championship and the World Four-Stroke Championship, which has become the World Two-Stroke Championship.

"How does a kid that couldn't even make it around the block on a Honda 50 without hitting a parked Cadillac end up in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame?" White said. "I'm not sure, but I know how it makes me feel! I want to dance, jump for joy, hug every friend that helped me along the path, and I want to ride my motorcycle -- well, motorcycles, as I have a few.

"I want to cry and pray -- with lots of thanks to give to my parents for paying to fix the friend's Honda 50 and still allowing me to buy a motorcycle."

He continued: "This is special for me because it comes from my peers in the industry and existing Hall of Famers. I am humbled to think that my heroes, these great people of the sport, believe that I'm worthy of this acknowledgement of my life and career."



Mike LaRocco

Mike "The Rock" LaRocco competed for 19 years on the professional circuit, collected 228 Supercross starts, and then added national championships in AMA 500cc Motocross, AMA 250cc Motocross and a Supercross world title.

LaRocco began his professional racing career in 1988 at age 17 and retired in 2006 as the elder statesman on the circuit. He won Supercross races in three decades in two classes, 125cc and 250cc, but said the 1994 AMA 250 Motocross National Championship meant the most to him.

His retirement in 2006 came after a broken wrist made him question his future in the sport. Since 2010, LaRocco has managed the GEICO Honda Supercross/Motocross Team, which has won a title each year he has been involved.

"It's an honor to be up here," LaRocco said. "I've had a great time in my career."

LaRocco thanked his parents for guiding him "in the right way."

"This is an honor and I appreciate it," he said.



Rob Muzzy

Rob Muzzy is a top tuner, engine builder and race team owner whose successes stretch across seven decades.

Muzzy got started in drag racing during the 1950s and raced dirt track as a novice in Southern California. He always built and tuned his own race engines, which often were the quickest on the track, and other riders began asking him to build engines for them.

During the 1980s, Muzzy built and tuned engines for the Kawasaki and Honda racing teams. The Kawasaki team scored AMA Superbike championships in 1981, 1982 and 1983.

In 1984, Muzzy moved to Honda as crew chief for the team that won the AMA Grand National Motocross Championship. From 1985 through 1987, Muzzy-tuned machines won the 125cc AMA National Motocross Championship, the Daytona 200 and the AMA Superbike Championship.

Winning with Muzzy as crew chief or tuner were Hall of Famers Eddie Lawson, Ricky Graham, Scott Russell and Doug Chandler as well as Ron Lechien, Miguel Duhamel, Rickey Gadson and numerous others.

In January 1988, Muzzy re-opened his own business, producing engines and exhaust systems for racers.

Later in 1988, Muzzy teamed with Kawasaki to build a race bike and hire a rider. He recruited Russell and Chandler, who subsequently finished first and second in the 1990 AMA 750cc Supersport Championship. Chandler also won the AMA Superbike Championship that year.

Kawasaki then asked Muzzy to run its FIM World Superbike team. He accepted, and the team won two world championships.

Muzzy Performance Products is still operating in Bend, Ore., and Team Muzzy is still racing.

"My love for two-wheeled vehicles started 60 some years ago, when my cousin Doug let me ride his Whizzer," Muzzy said. "Doug also taught me later how to paint my own Whizzer using a garden sprayer.

"I raced for many years myself before realizing what I liked most was wrenching and tuning. I have been blessed with a long and rewarding career."



Hall of Fame Legend William "Willie G." Davidson

The grandson of Harley-Davidson founder William A. Davidson, Hall of Famer William "Willie G." Davidson helped craft what is perhaps America's most enduring motorcycle motif, the V-twin-powered cruiser. He also played a critical role in the rebirth of America's largest motorcycle company, contributing a long list of innovative designs that ushered in a new era for the iconic company.

Davidson was elected to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.

Davidson, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in graphic arts and then attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., joined the design department at Harley-Davidson in 1963.

From the outset, Davidson's designs broke convention. Among his earliest projects was the FX Super Glide. The Super Glide was one of Harley-Davidson's factory customs, a production motorcycle with styling cues that reflected the custom motorcycles being built in shops across the country at the time. Today, the Super Glide is considered to be a milestone in the history of Harley-Davidson. The original FX led to many variations that would produce some of the company's best-selling machines.

In addition to his work at the design table, Davidson was a savvy businessman. He was one of the 13 company executives who raised the funds to buy Harley-Davidson back from conglomerate AMF in the 1980s. He played a crucial role in laying the foundation for Harley-Davidson to become one of the most successful, profitable and fastest-growing corporations in the United States over the next three decades.

Davidson reminisced about his lifetime in motorcycling, sharing anecdotes and coaxing smiles and laughter from the audience. He told of putting a leather jacket on the pope. And he said his involvement in buying back the company in the 1980s was "one of the happiest times in my life."

Davidson said he enjoys being "one-on-one with the riders," many of whom have become close friends. But, in closing, he turned to motorcyclists' rights.

"Freedom is everything," he said. "When I write 'Ride Free, Willie G.,' that's everything.

"Motorcycling has been a very exciting life for me," he said. "Ride free, all of you!"


Class of 2013: Green Valley Ranch, Las Vegas, Nev.


Six legends took their places among motorcycling's best and brightest Friday, Oct. 18, at the 2013 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Husqvarna.

Hosted by actor, motorcyclist and AMA board member Perry King, the event honored the Hall of Fame Class of 2013: AMA Supercross and Motocross Champion Ricky Carmichael; AMA and desert racing champion Danny Hamel; racer, promoter and motorcycle industry icon Norm McDonald; AMA Road Racing Champion Randy Renfrow; and motorcycling fundraisers and Ride For Kids founders Mike and Dianne Traynor.

In addition to the class of 2013, the induction ceremony celebrated the outstanding careers of two existing Hall of Famers as Hall of Fame Legends: Mark Blackwell, a pioneering American motocross racer, six-time AMA championship race team manager and industry executive; and Torsten Hallman, a four-time FIM World Motocross champion who was instrumental in introducing the sport of motocross to America and later founded the Thor brand.

Ricky Carmichael


Ricky Carmichael has more combined AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross National wins than any other rider in history. From 1997 to 2006, Carmichael won a championship series title each year.

Known as the Greatest of All Time, Carmichael has re-written the record books in the sport of AMA Motocross. In 2002, Carmichael recorded the first perfect season in AMA motocross history by earning 24 straight moto victories for 12 overall wins in the premier class -- a feat he repeated in 2004. When he retired, he had 150 AMA National wins.

"The first people I want to thank are my parents, for the sacrifices they made so that I could race motorcycles," Carmichael said. "I love this sport, and I love giving back to this sport because I don't think it gets the recognition that it deserves. I also want to thank my sponsors for always sticking with me. Without them, this sport wouldn't be where it is today. Thank you."


 

Danny Hamel


Danny Hamel accomplished much as an off-road racer: five-time AMA Hare and Hound national champion, multi-time Baja 1000 and 500 overall winner and more. Between 1977 and 1995, Hamel was the only rider ever named both as the AMA Amateur Athlete of the Year and AMA Amateur Sportsman of the Year in the same year.

Hamel died in June 1995 while racing the Baja 500 when a car strayed onto the road that was part of the course and Hamel collided with it. Hamel was represented at the event by Team Kawasaki Manager Mark Johnson and Mike Hodges, Hamel's mechanic.

"To describe Danny as an individual we could use many words: fun loving, intelligent, caring, humble, good teammate and true professional," Johnson said. "I believe that one of Danny's greatest assets of which he and I talked many times about was his relationship with his family. On behalf of the entire Hamel family, Danny's friends, fans and followers, thank you for this award honoring Danny Hamel."

Added Hodges: "I stand center stage giving tribute to Danny with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart but couldn't be prouder. Danny, today is your day to savor as well as the rest of the inductees, for it is your accomplishments that brings us together once again. I love you, brother."


 

Norm McDonald


Norm McDonald has been an ambassador for motorcycling his entire life as a racer, promoter, teacher, sponsor and advocate for motorcyclists' rights and safety. In 1957 he opened K&N Motorcycles -- a motorcycle shop -- with Ken Johnson. By 1965, they created K&N Engineering and in 1966 the K&N Air Filter was introduced. Over the years McDonald sponsored hundreds of racers, with more than 30 of them going on to the national level.

"What a great honor to be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame with such a special group of people: Ricky, Randy, Danny, Mike and Dianne," McDonald said. "I want to thank the ones that made this possible by putting the package together and getting me nominated: my sons and daughter-in-law, Cindy, and all of the people that voted for me. Thank you."

Hall of Fame Legend Malcolm Smith was hired as a teenager by McDonald, and presented McDonald with his Hall of Fame ring in an emotional tribute.


 

Randy Renfrow


Randy Renfrow began his pro road racing career in 1981. He won the AMA 250 Grand Prix championship in 1983, the AMA Formula One title in 1986 and the AMA Pro Twins Series championship in 1989.

Renfrow was known for his ability to be competitive on any type of machinery, from diminutive 250 Grand Prix bikes all the way up to AMA Superbikes, and he excelled in nearly every class of professional motorcycle road racing. In all, he won 17 AMA Nationals in four different classes.

Renfrow died in 2002 in a non-racing accident. Renfrow was represented at the event by his brother, Shawn Renfrow, and his mechanic, John Lassak.

"Every person inducted into the Hall of Fame, regardless of category, has been blessed with a tenacious spirit to achieve their dreams and goals," Shawn Renfrow said. "Randy was no different. He was a determined competitor who never let injuries, obstacles or defeat curb his appetite for racing. But it was not Randy's racing accomplishments that have left an enduring impression on me. It was his genuine love and care that he had for the racing community that I admired most."

"Randy was one of the finest human beings I know," Lassak added. "Not only was he a fierce competitor, he was also a gentle and caring person."


 

Mike and Dianne Traynor


Mike and Dianne Traynor co-founded the Ride for Kids motorcycle charity program and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. They began the Ride for Kids in 1984 to raise funds for childhood brain tumor research.

With over $70 million raised since 1984, motorcyclists have helped the PBTF become the world's largest non-governmental source of funding for childhood brain tumor research. Mike Traynor died in 2009 and Dianne Traynor died in 2012.

The Traynors were represented at the event by their sons.

"Mike and Dianne were proud to call themselves motorcyclists," Sean Traynor said. "Unfortunately, both Mike and Dianne have passed on. But I think it is very fitting that this year, being the 30th anniversary of the Ride for Kids, that they are inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame. On behalf of Mike, Dianne and my brothers, I would like to say thank you. I know that they would have been very proud and humbled tonight to be in such great company. God bless."


 

Hall of Fame Legend Mark Blackwell


Mark Blackwell, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000, was honored in a special Hall of Fame Legends ceremony, sponsored by Victory Motorcycles. Blackwell was a pioneering racer in American motocross, a six-time AMA championship race team manager and a well-respected executive in the motorcycle industry.

Blackwell won the American 500cc motocross champion in 1971 and started off the 1972 season with a win at the Daytona motocross. After his racing career, Blackwell managed the Suzuki Race Team to six AMA championships, did product development for a number of MX-related companies, and then went on to work in management for Suzuki, Husqvarna and Victory.

"Thanks to the AMA and the Heritage Foundation Board for this prestigious honor, and for raising the bar in terms of the class of this event -- you have raised the bar every year and we are certainly a long way from the tent in the AMA parking lot 13 years ago," Blackwell said. "And a very special thanks to the sponsors who have stepped up to help make this a great event and hopefully, a big inspiration for the future leaders of our sport and industry."


 

Hall of Fame Legend Torsten Hallman


Torsten Hallman, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000, was also honored as in Hall of Fame Legend ceremony sponsored by Bike Week Radio. Hallman was a four-time World Motocross Champion when he came to the United States in the late-1960s as part of the effort to popularize both the Husqvarna motorcycle brand and the sport of motocross. Hallman's incredible talent on a motocross bike was a revelation to American fans and racers.

Hallman's talents were not limited to the track. He also was a savvy businessman and founded a riding apparel company: Thor. The company's early designs and innovations heavily influenced the look and function of motocross riding gear for decades to follow. Today, Thor is one of the biggest names in motocross apparel.

Hallman was unable to attend due to last-minute direction from his doctor. His prepared comments were read by King.

"I am very pleased and honored to receive this Hall of Fame Legends Award!" Hallman wrote. "I am extremely thankful! It means a lot to me and it brings back some great memories. I am greatly honored to share this special moment with my wife and many of my old friends."


 

 

Class of 2012: Red Rock Resort & Spa, Las Vegas, Nev.


Seven historic figures took their places among motorcycling's greatest legends Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, at the 2012 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by KTM. The ceremony was part of theAMA  Legends Weekend, powered by Paul Thede's Race Tech, held at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa.

 

Rod Bush


The late Rod Bush helped establish and grow KTM North America and served as company president from 1987 until his death in 2005.

Born July 6, 1955, in Huntington, W.Va., Bush rode his first hare scrambles in 1970 and three years later opened a Penton dealership in Parkersburg, W.Va., with his father. In 1976, Bush started working for Penton Imports as a sales representative. In 1978, Bush left Penton Imports to help form KTM America, later KTM North America, with Jack Lehto.

Bush took the position of KTM North America president in 1987 when the company was selling about 2,500 motorcycles a year. When Bush died in 2005, KTM North America sold approximately 28,000 units annually and had 140 employees.

Bush was represented at the induction ceremony by his wife Cheri Bush and daughter Stacy Bush.

"It is with tremendous pride and joy for our family to see Rod be inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame," said Cheri Bush, after she accepted Rod Bush's Hall of Fame ring on his behalf. "The outpouring of love, support and friendship that is in this room is unbelievable. Rod would have been so honored and humbled to receive such recognition from his peers."

Rod Bush in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Derek "Nobby" Clark


Derek "Nobby" Clark's was a member of winning race teams that claimed 17 FIM world titles in multiple displacements from the 1960s through 1980.

For 25 years, Clark was one of the world's leading motorcycle race mechanics. In addition to the Grand Prix world titles, earned in classes ranging from 50cc to 500cc, he helped win three Daytona 200s, one Daytona 100, four Imola 200s and eight Italian championships working with some of the greatest motorcycle racers in history.

Clark, born Sept. 29, 1936, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia). not only excelled at the highest level, tuning for some of history's greatest racers, but also worked with racing's most memorable personalities, including Hall of Famers Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini and Roberts.

"I would like to thank everybody who supported me for the Hall of Fame," Clark said. "It's a pleasure to be honored in this way. I've very humbled to be here tonight. I've been privileged to have motorcycles in my life."

Derek "Nobby" Clark in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Ty Davis


Ty Davis, born April 5, 1969, in Hesperia, Calif., is one of the most-versatile off-road motorcycle racers in the history of American competition. He has won amateur and professional titles in motocross, hare scrambles, AMA Supercross, AMA National Hare & Hound and AMA National Enduro. He has won the Baja 1000 four times and has been the top American rider at the International Six Days Enduro six times.

Davis, the AMA Athlete of the Year in 1995, won the AMA National Enduro Championship in 1995 and 1999 and the AMA Hare & Hound National Hare & Hound Championship in 1997, 1998 and 2002.

Although Davis, who currently runs Zip-Ty Racing Products, is mostly remembered as an off-road racer, one of his most high-profile titles was in 1990, when he won the AMA 125cc West Regional Supercross Championship over future Hall of Famer Jeremy McGrath.

"I feel that I am a pretty lucky guy," Davis said. "I have experienced a lot and seen a lot and have been with, and met, some of the biggest names in our industry. I would like to thank the AMA and the voting staff for honoring me as a Hall of Famer, and I want to thank my friends and family for being here tonight."

Ty Davis in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Jimmy Ellis


The heyday of Can-Am's factory motocross campaign is forever connected to the outstanding career of Jimmy Ellis. Born Oct. 19, 1955, in Middletown, Conn., Ellis started racing in New England in the 1960s, and by the time he joined the Can-Am factory team, he had won seven New England championships.

In 1974, riding the works 250 Can-Am, he finished third for the 250cc national title, collecting two overall wins. In 1975, Ellis won the AMA Supercross 250cc championship by sweeping the four-round series, punctuated by a dominant victory in the high-profile finale at the L.A. Coliseum.

Ellis continued to give Can-Am top finishes through the 1977 season, after which Honda snapped him up for its U.S. factory team. Ellis was a contender on the national circuit for a few more years-finishing second to future Hall of Famer Bob Hannah for the 250cc national championship in 1978. He transitioned into retirement during the 1981-82 seasons.

"I want to thank the AMA and the Hall of Fame, Jeff Smith, Tom White, Mom and Dad, my family, my partner Vicky," Ellis said. "Being on this podium is like winning the Los Angeles Coliseum Supercross in 1975! Thank you!"

Jimmy Ellis in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Sue Fish


Sue Fish was born Nov. 9, 1958. Her father, who competed in dirt track and hare scrambles, taught her how to ride when she was 11. By 14, she started racing, winning her first race that year.

At age 19, Fish advanced to the AMA Pro Racing national circuit. In addition to dominating the female ranks, having won the 1976 and 1977 Women's National Motocross Championships, Fish, who currently lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., was one of the first women motocross racers to hold a professional racing license from the AMA and compete regularly against men.

Known by the nickname, "The Flying Fish," she raced in the AMA 125cc National Motocross Championship. Fish put her talents to work on the big screen as well, working as a Hollywood stuntwoman. Her credits include "Terminator" and "Footloose." She also traveled as part of Evel Knievel's stunt show in Australia.

"It is a surreal experience to be recognized for simply doing what I love," Fish said. "And to this day, feel most passionate about riding and racing motorcycles. I would like to thank my family and friends for giving me support I needed to able to have pursued my dreams. I am humbled to be among my heroes and the legends of our industry."

Sue Fish in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Brian Slark


Brian Slark, who was born in London, England, on Feb. 2, 1938, was a moving force in the creation of a vibrant motocross-racing community in the United States in the 1960s.

Slark helped organize motocross tracks, promoting the sport by teaching famous people-including then-teen heartthrob Bobby Darin-to ride motorcycles and importing and building Rickman Metisse and Cheney motocrossers.

Slark later helped the late-Dave Mungenast, who is a member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, create a motorcycle museum in St. Louis. Slark also helped create the world-class Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Ala.

"First and foremost, I would like to thank my wife, Dian, who is always supportive and buys me motorcycles, how cool is that!" said Slark, as he accepted his honor. "I'd also like to thank Bud Ekins, for giving me the opportunity to come to this wonderful country; Nick Nicholson, who gave me motorbikes to ride and inspired me to ride the ISDT; Dave Mungenast Sr., a mentor and a friend; and last but not least, George Barber, who gave me the opportunity to be part of creating a world-class museum."

Brian Slark in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Al Wilcox


Born in Trenton, N.J., in 1919, the late Al Wilcox began riding motorcycles in 1936 and began racing in 1947, but he is known to most of the racing community as the iconic race starter "Airborne Al."

Wilcox's race career spanned 19 years-from 1947 to 1966. Not only did he do well as a speedway racer for four years, but Wilcox also finished well in TT, dirt-track and even hare scrambles races over the course of his long career.

Wilcox, who passed away in 2011, began flagging races in 1959 and increased his flagging duties after ending his racing career. He flagged the famed Daytona 200 motorcycle race for many years with AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame flagger Duke Pennell. He became known as "Airborne Al" because of his unique flagging style that involved jumping up in the air at the end of a race.

Wilcox was represented at the induction ceremony by friend Roger Lyle.

"During his racing career, Al went to the starting line over 3,000 times," Lyle said, as he accepted the honor on Wilcox's behalf. "He was the 'starter to the stars' for 52 years. Al Wilcox touched the lives of everyone who had the pleasure to meet and speak with him about his passion for motorcycles and the racers who put it on the line. "

Al Wilcox in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Hall of Fame Legend Mert Lawwill


In 2012, the induction ceremony honored famed national dirt-tracker Mert Lawwill as an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend. Hall of Fame Legends are existing Hall of Famers who are invited back to the induction ceremony to be recognized yet again for their notable accomplishments.

Lawwill, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998, was one of the top professionals on the AMA national circuit during the 1960s and 1970s. He was the 1969 AMA Grand National champion and "On Any Sunday" chronicled his bid to defend his title during the 1970 racing season. By the time Lawwill hung up his racing leathers in 1977, he had amassed an incredible 161 career AMA Grand National finishes during his 15-year racing career.

Lawwill went on to become one of the top motorcycle racing frame designers and builders. He then used his expertise to create custom racing mountain bikes that won numerous national and world titles, as well as prosthetic devices to enable amputees to ride motorcycles and bicycles.

Lawwill thanked a number of people who contributed to his career, particularly Malcolm Smith, Bruce Brown and Steve McQueen, telling a story about a time he crushed his hand seemingly beyond repair and McQueen helped him find a doctor and paid his medical bills to have it fixed.

"I also want to thank everyone who came out tonight," Lawwill said. "I really appreciate being recognized as a Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend."

Mert Lawwill in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Hall of Fame Legend Malcolm Smith


Off-road racing icon Malcolm Smith was also honored as an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend this year. Hall of Fame Legends are existing Hall of Famers who are invited back to the induction ceremony to be recognized yet again for their notable accomplishments.

Smith, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998, was a pioneer in off-road motorcycling. He earned early fame for his accomplishments in the Baja 1000 and for his gold-medal winning rides in International Six Day Enduro competitions.

His reputation extended beyond the motorcycling community when he appeared in "On Any Sunday." The scenes of Smith and Lawwill play riding with popular actor Steve McQueen showed non-motorcyclists across the country just how fun motorcycling could be. The movie helped launch an explosion in the popularity of off-road motorcycling in America.

Smith went on to become a successful businessman with his Malcolm Smith Motorsports motorcycle dealership in Riverside, Calif. Today, Smith is also revered as one of the leading charitable supporters in the motorcyclist industry.

In accepting his honor, Smith thanked a number of people who had an impact on his career, including Bruce Brown, who produced "On Any Sunday."

"I had no idea that Bruce was making the most timeless motorcycle movie ever and I would have such a big role in it," Smith said. "Thank you again, Bruce!

"Many, many more people have helped me in my life. I can't thank them all or we would be here all night," Smith said. "I'll leave you with one thought. What would your life had been like if you hadn't discovered motorcycles."

Malcolm Smith in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Class of 2011: Red Rock Resort & Spa, Las Vegas, Nev.


Five outstanding motorcyclists took their place in history Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, at the 2011 AMA Visa Card from Capital One Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by KTM, held here at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa.

Phil Schilling


Phil Schilling was one of motorcycling's most accomplished journalists and an expert race tuner who set the early mark for Ducati motorcycle's on-track success in America.

Schilling was teaching at the University of Wisconsin when Hall of Famer Cook Neilson asked him to become managing editor of Cycle Magazine. Schilling and Neilson developed Cycle Magazine into the gold standard of motorcycle periodicals in the 1970s. Schilling and Neilson were not just successful at the editor's desk. In 1977, they entered a Ducati in the Daytona 200 and gave Ducati its first AMA Superbike win in the United States.

Schilling was joined on stage by Neilson, who read Schilling's comments on his behalf.

"Thank you to the American Motorcyclist Association for this tremendous honor and to all those who nominated me, wrote letters on my behalf, and voted for me," Neilson read. "I am humbled and proud beyond words to be in the company of so many of motorcycling's great talents and industry leaders and my fellow Hall of Fame classmates.

"I have been fortunate in my life to do exciting work that I love alongside people I love and admire. Cook's and my success at Cycle Magazine and on the racetrack was due in large part to the talent and hard work of an army of people, who share in this honor and deserve our gratitude."

Phil Schilling in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Stu Peters


Stu Peters is one of the most prolific and enduring motocross promoters in the history of the sport in America. Peters' company, the Continental Motosport Club (CMC), has been promoting motocross races since 1968.

Although Peters has expanded beyond his Southern California base, his early start and subsequent success in what became a hotbed of motocross competition in the 1970s, 1980s and beyond, established his presence in the national consciousness of American motocross.

Peters, who raced motocross professionally in Europe in the 1950s, was already actively running local events when the AMA approached him to promote two rounds of the 1970 Trans-AMA Series, which became the sport's first national championship series in the United States sanctioned by the AMA and recognized by the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme), the world governing body for motorcycle sport.

Today, CMC Racing has grown into one of the largest motocross racing organizations in the country.

"Most of all, I'd like to thank my family for holding up the fort," Peters said. "I also thank the Hall of Fame for honoring me with this great award for doing something I loved to do and would have done anyway."

Stu Peters in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Fred Fox


Parts Unlimited founder Fred Fox built a small business into the largest aftermarket motorcycle, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle and personal watercraft accessory distributorship in the world.

Fox founded Parts Unlimited Distributing in 1967 to distribute motorcycle parts and accessories to dealers. Today his umbrella company, LeMans Corp., is based in Janesville, Wisc., and it employs more than 1,000 people in operations spread across the U.S. and in Europe. Parts Unlimited serves the "metric" side of motorcycling, while Drag Specialties serves the American V-twin industry. The company's own brands include Thor Motocross, Moose Off-Road, Icon and Z1R Helmets.

Fox elevated motorcycling and the sport of motorcycle racing nationally by creating a state-of-the-art distribution system that got parts to dealers quickly and by sponsoring motorcycle racing series as well as amateur and professional racers. His sponsorship dollars also supported various races and series to help grow the sport.

"I'm honored to be here," Fox said. "This business means so much to me. I'm still enjoying working every day. I still go in early and leave late, but it's the employees who do all the hard work. I really enjoy this industry. It's been good to me."

Fred Fox in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Norbert Schickel


Norbert Schickel was an innovative designer and builder in the early years of American motorcycle manufacturing. As the founder of Schickel Motor Co., Schickel was part of the motorcycle design boom that occurred in the United States between 1905 and 1915.

Schickel unveiled his first motorcycle at the 1911 Chicago Motorcycle Show, and Schickel Motor Co. began producing motorcycles in 1912 in Stamford, Conn. The company sold more than 1,000 motorcycles.

Schickel's vision and designs were evident in his two-cycle motorcycles that he developed. He also helped popularize the twist grip control and had a patented "spring fork front suspension" and "fly wheel magneto."

Ken Anderson, Schickel's grandson, accepted the Hall of Fame honor on his grandfather's behalf.

"If Norbert Schickel were here today he would be thrilled by his selection and would take great pride in knowing that his designs and innovations were worthy of Hall of Fame recognition," Anderson said. "It is a great honor for me to represent my grandfather here tonight. Norbert Schickel's selection to the Class of 2011 is a dream come true for our family and attending his induction is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to celebrate his achievements."

Norbert Schickel in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Doug Polen


Doug Polen was a dominant national and world champion roadracer in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Polen had a series of strong winning performances in motorcycle roadracing in the United States and abroad, including winning 45 of 51 Suzuki Championship Series events in 1991 and earning the World Superbike title by 150 points. He was the Suzuki GSX-R National Cup champion in 1986, Japan Formula 1 and Formula 3 National Champion in 1989, AMA Pro Twins National Champion in 1991, World Superbike Champion in 1992 and 1993, AMA Superbike Champion in 1993, and World Endurance Champion in 1997 and 1998.

"Being recognized with so many iconic people is touching, and to see my career made permanent as part of the Hall of Fame is really something," Polen said. "I'll always have that. I'm truly honored to be inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame."

Doug Polen in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Hall of Fame Legend Roger DeCoster


Roger DeCoster's name is practically synonymous with the sport of motocross, and he is generally recognized as the best-known MX racer in the first 50 years of the sport.

When DeCoster was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999, his racing accomplishments were simply remarkable: five 500cc Motocross World Championships, numerous 500cc Motocross Grand Prix victories and four Trans-AMA Motocross Championships.

He also was a member of six winning Belgium Motocross des Nations teams, was a Gold Medalist in the International Six Day Trial (Enduro) and earned numerous national championships in his native Belgium, including a national Trials title.

DeCoster continued to find success after his racing career. He was the manager of the first U.S. team to win the Motocross des Nations in 1981, and managed many U.S. teams at the prestigious event over the years to the present day.

Today, DeCoster is in charge of KTM's Supercross and motocross efforts in the United States. His stature is such in the world of motocross that he is often simply referred to as "The Man."

"I have to thank America for welcoming me," DeCoster said. "First was Bud and Dave Ekins. I met them in Germany in 1964, and it was the beginning of a great journey in America. We have come a long way from when I was inducted in 1999 in the AMA parking lot under an E-Z Up. This is a fantastic event."

Roger DeCoster in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Hall of Fame Legend Kenny Roberts


Perhaps more than any other competitor, Kenny Roberts has put his stamp of dominance on American and World roadracing, both as an AMA National Champion, a Grand Prix World Champion and then as a Grand Prix team owner.

In recognition of his outstanding achievements on both the American and world racing circuits, Roberts, who was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998, was honored as a 2011 Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend.

"King Kenny" Roberts won his first-ever AMA Grand National race in 1972 and went on to win 33 AMA Nationals in dirt-track and roadracing, including the prestigious Daytona 200 three times.

A two-time AMA Grand National Champion, Roberts moved to the world stage and became the first-ever American to win a 500cc Grand Prix motorcycle racing world championship in 1978. In the following years Roberts dominated the World Grand Prix circuit, and by the end of 1980, he had captured three consecutive World 500 Grand Prix titles.

Retiring from full-time racing at the end of the 1983 season, he formed his own World 500 Grand Prix team. In 1990, Team Roberts' rider and future Hall of Famer Wayne Rainey won the World 500 Grand Prix title, and teammate John Kocinski took the World 250 Championship -- bringing the team a rare 500 and 250 championship season.

"I have to thank the AMA," Roberts said. "I did what I did, and that's what we do. We ride motorcycles. I do this because I'm a motorcycle person, and this room is full of motorcycle people. To honor me like this in front of motorcycle people is very important to me."

Kenny Roberts in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Class of 2010: Red Rock Resort & Spa, Las Vegas, Nev.


Nine motorcycling legends took their place in history Friday, Nov. 19, 2010, at the 2010 Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by JT Racing, held at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa.

Eyvind Boyesen


Boyesen, inducted for his enormous contributions to motocross engine development, tragically passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 17, just two days before the ceremony. His sudden death, the result of illness, was marked by a moment of silence and remembrance at the event.

Perry King read comments prepared by Boyesen's son, Dag Boyesen, who was going to speak in honor of his father at the event.

"Early on, I saw my father's commitment to new ideas, spending countless hours in the basement porting cylinders," Dag Boyesen wrote in his remarks. "His perseverance and belief that anything was possible guided his world.

"Beyond all the accomplishments and success, there is another Eyvind Boyesen. I know I speak for our family and friends when I say that Eyvind Boyesen was a person's person. His spiritual faith, his love for his wife and his happiness showed me how to love and dream and how to appreciate life," read King.

Boyesen founded Boyesen Engineering in 1972 in Lenhartsville, Pa., and built a worldwide reputation as a two-stroke engine expert. In addition to his reed-valve innovations, Boyesen was also known for a special porting technique that has been used in motorcycle, snowmobile and watercraft two-stroke engines. He also refined methods of water pump design and developed enhanced accelerator pump operation used in four-stroke carburetion. Boyesen held more than 40 patents for the aftermarket motorcycle industry, and his company continues to thrive today.

"I will say that my career has been balanced by my ability to do what I truly love," Eyvind Boyesen said when his 2010 induction was announced in June. "To this day, I will always remember the first time I saw a motorcycle. It was magical."

Eyvind Boyesen in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Don Castro


Castro joined the professional dirt-track ranks as an Expert in 1970, riding both dirt-track and roadrace motorcycles for Triumph. He finished his rookie season fifth in the standings. For 1973 he was picked up by Yamaha and accomplished what many consider to be his greatest victory: winning the San Jose, Calif., half-mile against the likes of Scott, Lawwill, Palmgren, Roberts and other extremely talented racers. Castro went on to win another National the next year: the 250cc roadrace at Daytona, defeating teammate and race favorite Roberts.

Castro retired from the sport in 1976.

In accepting his award, Castro acknowledged the help he received during his career.

"I couldn't get up here all by myself," Castro said. "I had a lot of great help. I was lucky enough to have two factory rides, one from Yamaha and one from Triumph. I'd like to thank my peers for voting for me, and I'd like to thank everybody for coming out."

Don Castro in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Larry Coleman


Coleman's interest in fast, grand-prix-style sidecar racing came when he was a U.S. serviceman in Europe in the 1970s. Upon returning to the United States, he raced a Kawasaki 500 H1-based sidecar with Wendell Andrews, and was a success in both AFM and AMA racing. The pair won two AMA national championships in 1976-77. Then, teaming with Mark Bevans as passenger, Coleman won the 1979 AMA national championship.

For the 1980 season, Coleman built up a Yamaha TZ750-based bike that was one of the most advanced machines of its type and helped advance the cause of sidecar racing in the United States. After retiring from racing in 1981, Coleman worked in the motorcycle industry, ultimately starting his own marketing and public relations consultancy.

In his acceptance speech, Coleman cited the importance of teamwork to his success.

"I would like to thank the Hall of Fame for the honor of being a member of the class of 2010," Coleman said. "The different disciplines of the AMA are well represented by this group of inductees. From racing to product development, political action to business development. This group is a very good representation of the patchwork quilt that makes up the AMA.

"Regardless of the type of racing, it takes teamwork to become successful," Coleman continued. "Any success in racing, business, or any aspect of our sport is only as good as the team that you are able to assemble to make things happen."

Coleman continues to add to his legendary status in the sport. This summer, he set a land-speed record at the AMA Racing Land Speed Grand Championships.

Larry Coleman in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Clark Collins


In 1987, Collins created the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), which is a national non-profit organization dedicated to protecting responsible recreational access to public lands and waters. Collins and the BRC have come to be nationally recognized by public land agencies as authorities on responsible motorized recreation. He served as executive director of the organization until his retirement in 2004.

Collins thanked those who have supported the BRC when he accepted his award.

"In the words of a friend who I've gotten to know over the years, Malcolm Smith, 'This is really neat,'" Collins said. "I really want to thank you all, collectively, for helping me with the BlueRibbon Coalition. You've helped us make it mean something, and I'm proud of the relationship between the BlueRibbon Coalition and the AMA because teamwork is what makes it work."

Today, Collins continues to serve the off-road recreation community in Idaho as president of the Idaho State ATV Association.

Clark Collins in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

David Emde


Following in the footsteps of his father, Floyd, and brother, Don, both Daytona 200 winners and Motorcycle Hall of Famers, David's versatility became obvious when he began racing in the early 1970s. After starting in dirt-track, he switched to roadracing in 1975, competing alongside some of the fastest roadracers ever: Kenny Roberts, Steve Baker, Gary Nixon and others.

Emde's breakthrough came at the famed Laguna Seca Raceway, when he beat Roberts in a heat race, then finished second to him in the main. David's 1977 AMA 250cc Roadrace Championship was marked by nine wins in a hard-fought competition. He also raced Superbikes and proved himself adept at endurance racing, setting in 1978 what was then the fastest qualifying time for the famed Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race in Japan.

David Emde died in a street motorcycle crash in 2003.

"Several years back, David shared me with me his dream of being inducted into the Hall of Fame along with his father Floyd and brother Don," said David's sister Nancy, who along with David's son Brian accepted the award on the late Emde's behalf. "This is such a great honor. Thank you very much for making his dream come true."

David Emde in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

John and Rita Gregory


Under the Gregorys' leadership, JT Racing sponsored just about every big-name motocrosser of the 1970s and '80s, including AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Joel Robert, Roger DeCoster, Marty Smith, Ricky Johnson, David Bailey, Bob Hannah, Johnny O'Mara, and Jeff Ward. They brought revolutionary nylon motocross pants to the United States, created a variety of innovative products including jerseys, pants and chest protectors, and were masters of marketing in the creation of their global business.

Speaking at the event, Both John and Rita Gregory said they were honored for the induction and used the occasion to recount many great memories they have of their careers in the sport.

"I am so surprised and honored to be recognized among this group," Rita Gregory said. "I am sincere in my heartfelt thanks to all those who remembered me. I always considered myself the ghost of JT. I was usually the one who stayed home and minded the business and the kids while John went off to the races. You know, though, it takes a team, and while John and I started this, it took a team to make it successful."

Added John Gregory: "Most of the people we worked with over the years, there's just no way -- there's just no way -- to express our appreciation for everything they did. The bottom line here, is people make the world go 'round."

John and Rita Gregory in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Bruce Ogilvie


Ogilvie, who grew up attending TT scrambles with his father, Donald, began racing in his teens. He soon became one of AMA District 37's most accomplished desert racers, and set out to tackle one of motorcycle competition's most challenging events: Baja. Ogilvie developed into a master Baja racer, collecting victories in the San Felipe 250, the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000 over four decades. Ogilvie was the only racer in history to win the Baja 1000 overall in four different decades, getting his last win in 2003 at the age of 51.

While still competing, Ogilvie branched into management. In 1984 he was hired by American Honda, where he coordinated the company's off-road racing efforts, served as senior test evaluator for American Honda's Product Evaluation Department, and developed some of the most impressive racing talent of the next generation.

Ogilvie passed away on April 13, 2009, following an extended illness.

Bruce Ogilvie's son, Nick Ogilvie, accepted the award along with Bruce's wife, Marcia Ogilvie, and his daughter Isabella.

"For me, he was the ultimate dad," Nick Ogilvie said. "He taught me how to ride and live. I only had 14 years with him, but my memories will last a lifetime."

Bruce Ogilvie in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Mitch Payton


Payton is arguably the most successful motocross and Supercross team owner of all time. His privateer teams have won more championships than any other -- 26 since 1991.

Payton's parents, James and Norma Payton, introduced him and his brother, James Jr., to motorcycling at a young age. By the time he was 10, Payton was competing in family enduros and a few years later was racing competitively in AMA District 37. In 1977, at the age of 17, Payton was one of the district's top desert racers and won the 125 class in that discipline. Unfortunately, the next year Payton's racing career was cut short by injury.

Instead of allowing discouragement to turn him away from motorcycling, Payton refocused his efforts on the business side of the sport. At 18, he bought and ran a local Husqvarna shop. His skill and reputation as a tuner grew, and his parts were being used by some of the biggest motocross teams of the mid-1980s. Then, in 1991, Honda asked Payton to run its 125 team. Payton accepted, and over the next 19 years, racing other brands as well, his teams won more championships than any other.

In his acceptance speech, Payton recognized all the employees, mentors, racers and friends who helped him throughout his career.

"We're all here because we all love motorcycles," Payton said. "I started riding with my mom, dad and brother. It was something I was really passionate about and wanted to do every day. Then, when I got hurt at 17 and couldn't ride anymore, I had some really good friends in my life at that time. When I was 18 years old, we bought a Husky shop that was losing money. Now, 32 years later, here we are as Pro Circuit, and we have a very successful race team.

"I feel real fortunate and really lucky to have achieved more in my life than I thought was possible," Payton continued. "I couldn't have done it without all my friends. Friends are the most important thing."

Mitch Payton in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »

 

Hall of Fame Legend Bob "Hurricane" Hannah


Also honored at the event was Bob "Hurricane" Hannah. Hannah, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999, was recognized as a Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend. Hall of Fame Legends are existing members of the Hall of Fame who are invited back to the induction ceremony so their accomplishments can once again be recognized among industry leaders.

Hannah's immense popularity helped the sport of motocross grow by leaps and bounds in the late 1970s. He has seven AMA National Championships to his credit, and was one of only two riders in the history of AMA racing to win championships in 125 and 250cc motocross and Supercross competition.

"I was having breakfast this morning, and I was just kind of reflecting back and thinking about the guys who couldn't be with us tonight," Hannah said. "David Emde, Bruce Ogilvie -- one of the greatest off-road racers of all time -- and Eyvind Boyesen. Boyesen and I had a heck of a relationship. We both loved motorcycles, and we both loved making things better."

Hannah went on to single out several others in motorcycling.

"I know a lot of people in here, and I like a lot of people in here, and I know most guys don't look at their buddies and say they love them, so I'm going to do it," Hannah said. "John Penton, I love you. Bevo Forte, I love you, too. Keith McCarty is here. I love you, McCarty."

Bob "Hurricane" Hannah in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame »