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Motorcycle Hall of Fame: John, Rita Gregory

Motorcycling News

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce the fifth and sixth members of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2010: John and Rita Gregory.

The Gregorys, whose industry-leading JT Racing USA created innovative motocross gear for two decades, will be among the legends of motorcycling honored at the 2010 induction ceremony at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas this Nov. 19.

"John and Rita began selling MX socks out of the back of their car at California motocross tracks," said AMA Director of Operations and Hall of Famer Jack Penton. "From that humble beginning, they built JT Racing into the dominant force in motocross apparel in the country and influenced MX apparel makers who followed."

Under the Gregorys’ leadership, JT Racing sponsored just about every big-name motocrosser of the 1970s and ’80s, including AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Joel Robert, Roger DeCoster, Marty Smith, Ricky Johnson, David Bailey, Bob Hannah, Johnny O’Mara, and Jeff Ward. They brought revolutionary nylon MX pants to the United States, created a variety of innovative products including jerseys, pants and chest protectors, and were masters of marketing in the creation of their global business.

Hall of Famer Broc Glover, one of the leading racers in American motocross and one of JT’s sponsored riders, is a member of the Hall of Fame Motocross/Supercross committee that recommended the Gregorys.

"They changed how motocross riding gear was manufactured and marketed," Glover said. "They brought style to the sport and sponsored powerhouse riders. They were the industry leaders, and set the benchmark for other apparel companies. JT is the company that others judged themselves against.

"The Gregorys brought in the first vented clothing. Their ideas were innovative," Glover continued. "For me, on a personal level, I wore a set of pink gear. There was the DayGlo that David Bailey wore, the ALS helmet. They designed the V1000 and V2000 chest protectors, nylon pants and synthetic gloves — they were innovative. They had a lot of cool stuff."

John and Rita Gregory said they are thrilled to be named to the Hall of Fame.

"I had a lot fun doing that," John said. "I met a lot of nice people, saw a lot of nice places, and I had a great crew. It wasn’t just Rita and me. It was a bunch of other incredible people, too."

Said Rita: "I must say that I am very honored to be included in this as a woman in the industry, and I would very much like to thank all of those who felt me worthy of this nomination."

John fondly recalls working with the riders to sell JT Racing products.

"We probably owe nearly all of our success to our riders," John said. "I have to give them a lot of the credit. I told (then-Yamaha factory rider) Hannah I had a big overstock problem with yellow and blue pants. Yamaha colors were yellow, black and white. He wore the yellow and blue pants at a Supercross on a Saturday night. By Wednesday we didn’t have any in stock."

The Gregorys join 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 and dirt-track racer Don Castro. More inductees will be announced soon.

The Class of 2010 will officially be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame this Nov. 19 as part of the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend.

In addition to the induction ceremony, the weekend includes the 2010 AMA Concours d’Elegance on Saturday, Nov. 20, featuring some of the country’s most impressive original and restored classic motorcycles.

The AMA Racing Championship Banquet closes out the weekend on Sunday, Nov. 21, where AMA Racing amateur champions of all ages will be recognized for their 2010 accomplishments

The event will be held at the Las Vegas Red Rock Resort, a world-class spa, hotel and casino, featuring a range of entertainment, dining and family-friendly attractions.

The facility’s expansive ballrooms will provide a stunning backdrop for the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend, which is certain to be memorable for the 2010 inductees, champions, families, friends and fans. More information is available online at RedRockLasVegas.com.

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