LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Seven historic figures took their places among motorcycling’s greatest legends Friday, Nov. 16, at the 2012 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by KTM. The ceremony is part of the American Motorcyclist Association Legends Weekend, powered by Paul Thede’s Race Tech, held at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa.
Hosted by actor motorcyclist Perry King, the event honored the Hall of Fame Class of 2012: the late Rod Bush, KTM North America president and industry visionary; world championship roadracing tuner Nobby Clark; off-road racing champion Ty Davis; 1975 AMA Supercross Champion Jimmy Ellis; pioneering female motocrosser Sue Fish; world-class bike restorer Brian Slark; and the late iconic race starter Al Wilcox.
In addition to the class of 2012, the induction ceremony recognized the outstanding careers of two existing Hall of Famers as Hall of Fame Legends: 1998 inductees Mert Lawwill and Malcolm Smith. Harley-Davidson Motor Co., honored Lawwill’s recognition, while Tucker Rocky/Riders’ Choice sponsored Smith. Troy Lee Designs honored filmmaker and Hall of Fame member Bruce Brown, the director of the 1970 film “On Any Sunday,” which featured Lawwill and Smith.
Kawasaki Motors Corporation, U.S.A. was the sponsor for the dinner that preceded the gala ceremony. Jeffrey V. Heininger, chairman of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, which oversees the Hall of Fame, welcomed a sold-out crowd to the dinner and ceremony, voicing appreciation for their support.
“Tonight, we induct some of motorcycling’s best and brightest into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame,” Heininger said. “Those of us gathered here tonight strive to make the Hall of Fame the best it can be: An institution of excellence that mirrors the remarkable accomplishments of our inductees.”
The 2012 inductees were honored with videos chronicling their careers, induction speeches and the presentation of their official Hall of Fame rings, sponsored by Zero Motorcycles. In addition to the honorees, several luminaries from the world of motorcycling participated in the ceremony.
“We’re a community that embraces the past, honors the men and women who have brought us to the present, and races ahead to an exciting future — largely unknown to us now — and we do it all with a zest for life that is second to none,” said King. “Tonight we recognize a group of men and women who have been an important part of that evolution, the Hall of Fame Class of 2012.”
The AMA Legends Weekend, powered by Paul Thede’s Race Tech, continues on Saturday, Nov. 17, with the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Dave Mungenast Memorial Concours d’Elegance bike show, featuring some of the country’s most amazing restored and original motorcycles.
Also at the event, the boards of directors of the AMHF and the AMA held a joint meeting to discuss the Hall of Fame balloting process.
The boards heard a report from a task force made up of Motorcycle Industry Council Chairman Larry Little, Ray Mungenast of the Dave Mungenast Classic Motorcycle Museum and Mungenast Automotive Group in St. Louis, and Ken Ford, a member of both the AMA and AMHF boards. The task force evaluated the current balloting process, and submitted a report with recommendations for the boards to consider going forward.
The late Rod Bush helped establish and grow KTM North America and served as company president from 1987 until his death in 2005.
Born July 6, 1955, in Huntington, W.Va., Bush rode his first hare scrambles in 1970 and three years later opened a Penton dealership in Parkersburg, W.Va., with his father. In 1976, Bush started working for Penton Imports as a sales representative. In 1978, Bush left Penton Imports to help form KTM America, later KTM North America, with Jack Lehto.
Bush took the position of KTM North America president in 1987 when the company was selling about 2,500 motorcycles a year. When Bush died in 2005, KTM North America sold approximately 28,000 units annually and had 140 employees.
Bush was represented at the induction ceremony by his wife Cheri Bush and daughter Stacy Bush.
“It is with tremendous pride and joy for our family to see Rod be inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame,” said Cheri Bush, after she accepted Rod Bush’s Hall of Fame ring on his behalf. “The outpouring of love, support and friendship that is in this room is unbelievable. Rod would have been so honored and humbled to receive such recognition from his peers.”