An enthusiastic crowd was on hand Thursday, July 8, at the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, for the dedication of the new main-floor gallery and the opening of the new exhibits, "30-Year Ride: Honda’s Ohio-Made Motorcycles," and "Dirt-Track! All-American Racing."
Following a VIP tour and brunch, the noon ribbon-cutting ceremony officially ushered in a new era at the Hall of Fame.
"Our main-floor gallery takes the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame to a new level," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman.
"We are shining a spotlight on the incredible men and women who have shaped the history of motorcycling. Their stories are as inspiring as they are fascinating, and help visitors and fellow motorcyclists fully appreciate the sport and lifestyle of motorcycling."
The new main floor gallery features eight areas, each representing a segment of motorcycling for which men and women are inducted into the Hall of Fame: Ambassadors and Industry, Design and Engineering, Dirt-Track, Leadership and Rights, Motocross and Supercross, Off-Road, Roadracing and Specialty Competition. Each area tells the story of a specific Hall of Fame member.
Introduction of the new gallery was accompanied by another Hall of Fame first: the opening of an exhibit showcasing 30 years of significant Honda motorcycles manufactured in Marysville, Ohio.
"I am deeply honored to represent the many Honda associates who manufactured some of the world’s greatest motorcycles here in Ohio for 30 years," said Jan Gansheimer, the purchasing division manager for Honda of America Mfg., who served as plant manager of the Marysville Motorcycle Plant from 2007 to 2009.
The event marks the beginning of a full weekend of activities at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 9-11 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Long-hailed as the largest motorcycle swap meet in North America, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days also features a full slate of activities that includes vintage motorcycle racing, a vendor midway and seminars conducted by industry notables.
The 2010 Marque of the Year is Husqvarna, and racing legend Malcolm Smith will be on hand as this year’s grand marshal. Smith is a multi-time off-road champion who was catapulted to fame after appearing in the 1970s film "On Any Sunday" with actor and fellow motorcyclist Steve McQueen.
"Today’s Hall of Fame event was the perfect kickoff for this weekend’s activities," explained Jeffrey Heininger, acting chairman of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, the organization responsible for raising funds for the non-profit Hall of Fame.
"All proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the Hall of Fame, which in turn helps us preserve and promote the tremendous legacy of motorcycling for future generations."