Gary Mathers joins AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce the next member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2009: accomplished racing director Gary Mathers. Mathers — who produced 48 championships in road racing, dirt track, Supercross and motocross for Honda and Kawasaki — will be among the motorcycling heroes honored at the 2009 induction ceremony at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas this Dec. 5.
"Motorcycle competition is the most thrilling sport in the world, and few individuals have had as much behind-the-scenes success on the modern racing landscape as Gary Mathers," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. "Whether it was identifying talented racers before their time, or helping mold those racers and their teams into champions, Mathers was a master at his craft."
Added Don Rosene, chairman of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Committee: "AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame racers such as Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and Bubba Shobert had one thing in common: Gary Mathers. Mathers’ racing teams with Kawasaki and later with Honda dominated the ’80s. He led and guided racers in all aspects of professional motorcycle racing. His dominance was unheralded, and he is well deserving of membership in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame."
Mathers’ keen eye for talent discovered Lawson and Rainey while Mathers was with Kawasaki. Both riders would graduate from his tutelage to become 500cc Grand Prix World Champions. Mathers then moved to American Honda Motor Co., where over the course of 16 years he would produce a total of 48 championships in dirt track, motocross, Supercross and road race, including Honda’s satellite teams. With Mathers at the helm, Honda won two championships every year except for one.
"I never thought anything like this would happen," Mathers said. "When I got the call, I couldn’t believe it. This is a really great way to top off a career."
Mathers said that he looks back to his second year with Honda in 1986 as one of his most successful.
"We were involved in nine different championships in dirt-track, road racing, motocross, ATV racing, all of it, and we won all of them that year," Mathers said. "The only time I took off that year was the Fourth of July and Christmas day. I wanted to win those championships so bad… I learned a lot of things over the years, but the main thing is, it’s the people. The manufacturer gives you the budget, but you still need the best people you can get, and I had them from my administrative assistant on up. You surround yourself with good people, and then you just let them go. That’s it."
Mathers is the seventh member announced for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2009. He joins off-road racer Randy Hawkins, suspension pioneer Gilles Vaillancourt, off-highway rights activist Mona Ehnes, industry entrepreneurs and technological trailblazers Geoff and Bob Fox, and longtime motorcycle safety proponent David Hough.
Mathers, and the other members of the class of 2009, will officially be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame this Dec. 5 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Impressive even by Las Vegas standards, with an 84-foot guitar marking the entrance and all the glitz and memorabilia that fans have come to expect at Hard Rock Café locations around the world, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has been recently renovated with new rooms, a new convention space and a new concert venue. Ticket information will be announced shortly on the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum website at MotorcycleMuseum.org.
Located on the park-like campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum honors individuals who have made lasting contributions to protecting and promoting the motorcycle lifestyle. Its members include those who have excelled in racing, road- and off-road riding, pushed the envelope in motorcycle design, engineering and safety, and championed the rights of riders in both the halls of government and the court of public opinion.
The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Committee includes 11 members in addition to the chairman. There are 10 committees, each representing a different aspect of motorcycling. Five represent various racing disciplines, and five represent non-racing interests.