Hall of Fame controversy fueled by 'carelessness,' 'dereliction of duties,' says report

Publish Date: 
Jul 13, 2012

PICKERINGTON, Ohio - The AMA on Friday attempted to subdue escalating chatter on the Internet and reports that three former AMA Hall of Fame recipients had or were ready to return their medals in protest by issuing a report from Motorcycle Heritage Foundation chairman Jeffrey V. Heininger on the 2012 selection process, and why the award for famed racing mechanic Derek "Nobby" Clark was rescinded.

The Motorcycle Hall of Fame announced in mid-June that it would induct Clark into the 2012 class; however, a subsequent announcement issued the first week of July said that Clark would not be receiving the honor.

The report issued today places blame squarely on procedural error and the alleged failure of two committee chairmen to correct the error during the balloting process. Moreover, the report recommends that all activities and actions of all Hall of Fame committees should be suspended immediately, pending a task force investigation.

According to the report, Clark's name should not have been on the ballot, given that he did not receive enough votes from the seven-member Hall of Fame Road Race Committee. But his name was visible on the ballot, no one caught it (or those who knew reportedly did not reveal the error) and he subsequently received the third most votes, prompting the organization to announce that he would be inducted into the 2012 Hall of Fame.

"The Hall of Fame Road Race Committee met Jan. 17 and recommended two names for the ballot as a result of their deliberations and voting on the pool of qualified candidates that came before them," the report states. Clark was not one of the names submitted by the committee. "Clark's name appeared in a summary e-mail, sent Jan. 18, reporting the voting for all the candidates' names considered by the committee, which showed that Clark received two votes out of a possible 14...."

Clark's name, and other non-eligible candidates, appeared on the subsequent ballot due to a clerical error: "...the materials presented to the balloting committee for consideration for the 2012 ballot included all six names voted upon by the road race commitee -- four more than the two officially submitted..." This error, the report says, was not caught nor corrected during the staff review process.

"Subsequent to the committee deliberations and voting, two members of the road race committee sent emails on Jan. 18 to committee members suggesting that it would be 'brilliant if we could squeeze Nobby Clark in there somewhere,'" the report states.

No action was taken to correct the error or inform the balloting committee of the vote or the recommendations. "Therefore, the balloting committee acted without a full understanding of the road race committee's intentions," the report says.