The American Motorcycle Association has announced eight new members added to its Hall of Fame for 2021.
Although the inductees are drawn from a wide background, there is one common theme among almost all the new members: They mostly have ties to racing. The only new Hall of Famer without a racing background is the late Nancy Davidson, wife of H-D’s longtime insider Willie G. Davidson. She was inducted into the AMA’s hall for her lifetime of promotion of motorcycling and support for the riding community.
Otherwise, the other seven new members all came from some sort of racing background, even if they weren’t racers themselves. For instance: country music singer Loretta Lynn is an inductee in 2021 because of her long support for motocross racing through the annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship held at her ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. While Lynn herself certainly has no #1 plate-winning history, her property has become one of the most important scenes in American dirt bike racing.
Ryan Villopoto also enters the AMA’s Hall of Fame for 2021, as perhaps the most famous racer in this year’s group. One of the winningest racers of all time in AMA Supercross and Motocross championships in both 250 and 450 classes, Villopoto thanked his family upon his induction, saying his success all started with his grandfather’s help.
Scott Plessinger, a top offroad racer from the ’80s and ’90s with GNCC and Hare Scrambles titles, was also inducted. Tommy Hays, an AMA flat track hero who died in an on-track accident in 1941, got the nod to the Hall. So did Gary Denton, on the strength of his eight consecutive AMA ATV Grand National Championship championships after switching from moto racing in the 1970s to ATV racing in the 1980s.
The AMA also remembered the people behind the race teams. Tuner/builder Kenny Tolbert was voted into the Hall for his work in prepping racebikes for Chris Carr and Jared Mees (themselves Hall of Famers), bikes that won scores of races and several 600 cc championships. According to the AMA, Tolbert’s bikes won 12 AMA Grand National Championships and 121 Grand National races.
Finally, longtime American Honda insider Dave Arnold also enters the Hall. Arnold worked for Big Red from the 1970s through 2013, and helped develop race programs in AMA Motocross and Supercross. The AMA says his work “contributed to 60 titles on Honda factory and factory-supported teams over the years, transcended race operations to production-level research and development, resulting in advancements in production motorcycles that impacted motorcyclists all over the world.”