Interviews with Indiana motorcycle racing pioneers during the Indiana Motorcycle Expo at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Feb. 18, 2017
I had a chance to catch up with the three Team USA 2016 Motocross of Nations riders a couple of weeks ago at the final Lucas Oil Pro Motocross round in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and taped short interviews. The event is taking place this weekend at Italy’s Maggiora Motocross Park, the location of one of the America’s most dominant MX des Nations wins 30 years ago. That was the year that Rick Johnson, David Bailey and Johnny O’Mara each won their respective classes. O’Mara was the star of the event, finishing second overall in each of his motos on a 125. The 2016 American squad features Cooper Webb, Jason Anderson and Alex Martin. Find out their thoughts about the race in these short interviews with RiderFiles.com. — Larry Lawrence
Click on name to hear interview
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Fan Favorite Retires From Full-Time Competition
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (January 19, 2016) – MX Sports Pro Racing, organizers of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, along with its partners at NBC Sports, wish to congratulate 18-year veteran and fan favorite Nick Wey on a successful racing career. For nearly two decades Wey has spent his life traveling the world as a professional motocross racer and this season will mark the first time since 1998 that he will step away from full-time competition.
A native of Dewitt, Michigan, Wey ushered the famed “Michigan Mafia” group of talented motocross racers into the modern era. His charisma, relentless work ethic and perennial underdog status made him one of the sport’s most beloved riders while also embodying the character that made the Michigan Mafia such a respected fraternity in the racing world.
“Nick is one-of-a-kind and we can’t thank him for all of the years he spent not only as a frontrunner but also as an ambassador of the sport in general,” said Davey Coombs, President of MX Sports Pro Racing. “He gave it his all out on the track and remains one of the most humble and approachable riders the sport has ever seen. You couldn’t help but be a fan of Nick and I think that’s why it’s so hard to see him step away. He’s a true hero of the sport, not only for fans but also his fellow racers.”
After an epic amateur career that saw him win a then-record eight AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, Wey turned professional. He was signed to the famed Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, and quickly earned the AMA Rookie of the Year honors. One year later Wey took his lone Lucas Oil Pro Motocross win at the 1999 Spring Creek National in Millville, Minnesota, while competing in what was then known as the 125 Class. Throughout the course of the next several seasons, Wey would earn the overall runner-up position in the 1999 East Region 125 Class in AMA Supercross and a top-five overall in 125 Motocross before jumping to the premier division in 2002.
Once on the bigger bike amongst the sport’s elite, Wey quickly established himself as a key player for years to come, racing for multiple factory efforts satellite teams that produced numerous podium results, top-five championship finishes and the distinction of being a perennial contender. Three different times he finished AMA Supercross in the top five in the overall rankings (2003, ’04, ’06). All told, Nick Wey started 386 AMA Supercross and AMA Pro Motocross events, making him one of the most prolific competitors of all time.
After a major crash the summer of 2012 left him on the sidelines for an extended period, Wey finally returned in May 2013 and formed his own team, Mafia Moto Crew. He would continue operating his own team through the 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship before deciding to bring his career to a close in the days leading up to the start of the start of the current season.
MX Sports Pro Racing and all of the event promoters involved in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross wish the best of luck to one of the Michigan Mafia’s finest in his future endeavors and hope to continue to enjoy his presence at future races. Congratulations to Nick Wey and his entire family on a job well done.
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship begins on May 21 with the Hangtown Motocross Classic near Sacramento, California. Tickets for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship are available at www.ProMotocross.com.
For additional information, please visit ProMotocross.com. LIKE the Pro Motocross Facebook page and follow @ProMotocross on Twitter and Instagram for exclusive content and additional information on the latest Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship news.
MX Sports Pro Racing MX Sports Pro Racing manages and produces the world’s most prestigious professional motocross series – the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing. The industry leader in off road power sport event production and management, its mission is to showcase the sport of professional motocross competition at events throughout the United States. Through its various racing properties, partnerships and affiliates, MX Sports Pro Racing organizes events for thousands of action sports athletes each year and attracts millions of motorsports spectators. Visit www.mxsportsproracing.com.
AMA Pro Racing AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.
Ebook Available Now at Amazon
IOWA CITY, Iowa, January 7, 2016 – The superstars of the Monster Energy Supercross championship are put under the microscope in Scout’s Guide to Supercross 2016, the first in a series of NFL scouting guide-style ebooks dedicated to the in-depth analysis of motorcycle racers.
Inside SGSX16, the styles, strengths, and weaknesses of the world’s most talented supercross racers are broken down in excruciating detail. The technique, talent, and tendencies of the sport’s titans and would-be kings are ranked and dissected, with areas of advantage celebrated and vulnerabilities exposed.
Every ranking and scouting report is based upon information gleaned via exhaustive interviews with a number of leading supercross experts and insiders, including 450SX riders, team managers, mechanics, and journalists.
“I’m really excited to finally get this out in the world,” said author Chris Martin (https://twitter.com/ChrisMartinSBK). “Motorcycle racing journalism has been my life since the late ’90s. Actually, it was the only ‘real’ post-college job I ever had until I transitioned to more long-form writing a couple years back. During that time, I’ve had both a special operations book (Modern American Snipers (St. Martin’s Press)) and the first in a military science fiction series (Engines of Extinction) published, but I’ve been aching to get back to do some motorcycle racing journalism. The move away from the 365-day grind of breaking news and race reports finally put me in a position to properly attack an idea I’ve had for years. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it’s turned out. NFL, NBA, and MLB fans eat this sort of thing up, and I think supercross fans will too once they get a taste.”
The Scout’s Guide to Supercross 2016 (134 pages, $2.99) was designed with smartphones and tablets in mind. It features a clean layout to allow you to read quickly and easily on any device, whether you want to dig in and study its contents or simply use it as a quick reference guide while watching this season’s Monster Energy Supercross races live or on television. It is also available to be read in your web browser or in a separate application on your Mac or PC via Amazon’s free Kindle app.
Scout’s Guide to MotoGP 2016 and Scout’s Guide to MotoAmerica 2016 will be released in the coming months.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2015) – AMA Pro Racing is deeply saddened by the passing of Les Washbon. Washbon was a longtime Dunlop Tire Technician who worked very closely with AMA Pro Flat Track officials as well as several other motorcycle racing disciplines during event weekends over the course of his 15 year tenure with Dunlop.
Washbon also competed professionally in AMA Pro Flat Track from the early 1980’s until his retirement from racing in 1995. Washbon wore the National No. 90.
“Les was a racer through and through,” said Mike Buckley, Dunlop Vice President of Sales, Marketing, Research and Development. “He was a dedicated colleague and an integral part of Dunlop’s racing success for many years. He will be missed by the racing community, and the entire Dunlop family.”
“He was a great guy,” said ex-Dunlop engineer Jim Allen. “He was a hard working guy who loved being involved in any form of motorcycle racing. Above all, Les felt his first job at any race was to look out for the safety and well-being of any rider assigned to his care. He will be missed.”
Washbon passed away on Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 at the age of 54. His obituary can be found by clicking here. A Facebook page has been created in dedication to providing details of a future celebration of Washbon’s life. The Facebook page will be updated periodically and can be found by clicking here.
About AMA Pro Flat Track:
AMA Pro Flat Track is the world’s premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on AMA Pro Flat Track, please visit www.amaproracing.com/ft/, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or live stream the on-track action on FansChoice.tv.
About AMA Pro Racing:
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — 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.
“A strong future can only be built on a secure historical footing, and the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame is motorcycling’s custodian of that history,” said AMA Board of Directors Chair Maggie McNally, speaking at the ceremony. “It is the showcase of those who have built the foundation of American motorcycling. Tonight, it’s my honor to welcome six more of these amazing individuals into the Hall of Fame.”
Following the Hall of Fame VIP Reception, presented by Suzuki, attendees were treated to a video chronicling each inductee’s motorcycling accomplishments. Then each new Hall of Fame member was presented with a Hall of Fame ring, sponsored by Zero Motorcycles.
“With the greatest resolve, each of these icons has placed an indelible mark on motorcycling’s past, present and future,” said King, as he closed out the evening’s ceremony. “From their motorcycles that set and broke world records, to inventions and innovations that revolutionized an industry, to the stories of hard-fought victories, from the racetrack all the way to the halls of government, each member of the Hall of Fame is an enduring testament to the steadfast and unwavering ability to dream big — and never look back.”
The evening concluded with a roll call for all attending Hall of Fame members to join the class of 2015 on the stage. The tribute drew a standing ovation from the room.
The 2015 Yamaha AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Harley-Davidson, was held in conjunction with AIMExpo. The AIMExpo is a diverse powersports event that welcomes members of the industry, motorcycle media and consumers.
Sponsors of the event included title sponsor Yamaha, presenting sponsor Harley-Davidson, reception sponsor Suzuki Motor of America, ring sponsor Zero Motorcycles, and Hall of Fame Legend sponsor Motorsport Aftermarket Group. Platinum level sponsors included American Honda, BMW of North America, GE Capital and Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. Manufacturer Elite sponsors were GEICO Motorcycle, Husqvarna Motorcycles and KTM North America. Motion Pro was an Aftermarket Gold sponsor, and Motul and Rea & Associates were Aftermarket Silver sponsors. Service sponsors included AVIS/Budget, Chet Burks Productions and Federal Motorcycle Transport.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
AMA Motorcycle 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.”