AMA inducts five into Hall of Fame, names a new ‘Legend’

Image: AMA

COLUMBUS, OH – The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame inducted five new members and honored a current member as a Hall of Fame Legend Sept. 22 at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Harley-Davidson, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The event was held in conjunction with the 2017 AIMExpo.

Inducted were John Ulrich, Don Emler Sr., Ed Lojak Sr., Peter Starr and Bob Moore. Bill Werner was also honored as an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend.

The following is sourced from an AMA announcement issued over the weekend:

John Ulrich
Ulrich won races over five decades, co-founded and managed a racing team, founded and served as publisher of Roadracing World & Motorcycle Technology magazine, and started the Roadracing World Action Fund nonprofit to advocate track safety.

“I found something I love, and I stuck with it,” Ulrich said during the ceremony. “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 served on the AMA Board of Directors and previously received the AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest award bestowed by the AMA board. He received his Hall of Fame ring from fellow recipient Larry Coleman.

Peter Starr
Racer, TV producer and filmmaker Starr, whose work includes dozens of productions about motorcycles and motorcycling, said, “Certainly I am not up here because of my racing prowess, as anyone who raced against me can attest. 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.”

Starr’s Hall of Fame ring was presented by fellow recipient Cristine Sommer-Simmons.

Ed Lojak Sr.
By 1982, Ed Lojak Sr. 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 U.S. team finished second in Czechoslovakia at what many consider one of the most difficult ISDEs of all time. Also, no other rider has more than five overall motorcycle titles in the GNCC series, which also features ATV classes.

“They say the greatest honor is the respect of your peers, and for that I am grateful,” Lojak said during the ceremony. He thanked the two uncles who started him off in motorcycling.

AMA Hall of Famer Scot Harden presented Lojak with his Hall of Fame ring.

Don Emler Sr.
Emler started racing motorcycles in 1967 and a few years later launched the Flying Machine Factory (what would become FMF Racing) 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.”

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.

Emler received his Hall of Fame ring from Hall of Famer Jeff Fredette.

Bob Moore
Moore started riding minibikes as a child. His father, once an amateur racer, owned a motorcycle trailer business. “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.”

When it came time to move up to a larger bike, Moore faced a challenge. His 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. 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, 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.

Moore received his Hall of Fame ring from Hall of Famer Danny LaPorte.

Hall of Fame Legend Bill Werner
Bill Werner is considered to be the greatest flat-track tuner and mechanic of all time, AMA said.

“A mechanic’s success is ultimately tied to the rider. I’ve worked with some of the best,” Werner said during the ceremony.

As a factory mechanic for Harley-Davidson, Werner tuned motorcycles that carried Gary Scott, Jay Springsteen and Scott Parker to 13 AMA Grand National Championships. When Springsteen set the record for all-time AMA national wins, Werner turned the wrenches. Werner 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. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.

Hall of Fame Legends are Hall of Famers whose accomplishments transcend their categories in impactful ways. “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.”

Dick Burleson, the 2016 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend, presented Werner with his Hall of Fame Legend honor.

In addition to presenting sponsor Harley-Davidson and dinner sponsor Suzuki Motor of America, supporters of the induction ceremony included platinum sponsor Nationwide, manufacturer elite sponsors American Honda and GEICO, aftermarket gold sponsors Dunlop, Motion Pro and Wells Fargo and aftermarket silver sponsor Motul. Also supporting the event were KTM North America, Husqvarna and Kawasaki.