"Motorcycle racing is one of the most diverse motorsports in the world, and sidecar racing is further evidence of that," said AMA director of operations and Hall of Famer Jack Penton in a press release issued today by the association. "One of the best ever at this unique and exciting discipline is Larry Coleman -- a three-time champ who really took the sport to new levels."
"I'm really in awe," Coleman told the AMA. "I've been to Pickerington, and read all the names on the wall. Being in the company of those people is such an honor. I don't think there's any finer honor than to be judged by your peers, and this is just amazing.
"The attraction for me is the teamwork," he added. "The guys who rode with me in those championships, Wendell Andrews and Mark Bevans, are as much a part of this as I am. They say that motorcycle racing takes 100 percent effort, and on a sidecar, it takes 200 percent."
Said Don Rosene, chairman of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame selection committee: "I first met Larry Coleman in the mid-'70s while I was selling HiPoint Accessories and he was selling Kal-Gard. I wasn't aware at that time that he was an AMA National Sidecar Champion. I heard it from someone else -- he never mentioned it to me. Humble, indeed. Now, almost 40 years later, Larry is still setting records in a sidecar, only this time it's in a straight line, at very high speeds, on the salt at Bonneville."
Coleman, a life-long motorcyclist, became interested in grand-prix-style sidecar racing back in the 1970s while stationed with the U.S. military in Europe. After returning home, he raced a Kawasaki 500 H1-based sidecar with Wendell Andrews, and found success in 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 a Yamaha TZ750-based bike that was one of the most advanced machines of its type and helped advance the cause of sidecar racing. After retiring from racing in 1981, Coleman worked in the motorcycle industry, ultimately starting his own marketing and public relations consultancy, representing Kal-Gard lubricants, among others.
Many in the industry, along with the enthusiast community, know Coleman from his years providing technical and product guidance to consumers at The Factory/Marketplace exhibit areas within the International Motorcycle Shows.
Coleman joins previously announced members of the AMA Hall of Fame Class of 2010: championship team owner Mitch Payton, AMA 250cc roadrace champion David Emde, off-road rights activist Clark Collins, dirt-track racer Don Castro, and off-road gear pioneers John and Rita Gregory.
Courtesy AMA; posted by Mary Slepicka