AMA: Motorcycle Hall of Fame induction a big hit for the fans
21 July 2000
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies on July 8 were a big success, not only for the motorcycling legends in attendance but also for the fans who rubbed elbows with their heroes. It was a veritable field day for autograph seekers, photographers and amateur videographers alike. Over 20 of the year 2000 inductees, or family members representing the inductees, were in attendance for the ceremonies held on the grounds of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio. A warm and sunny afternoon greeted the crowd, estimated at about 400. Before the actual ceremonies began, many old friends and acquaintances were seen catching up on old times. But many of those in attendance were simply fans who made the pilgrimage from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at nearby Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to meet some of the people they have read about for years. Inductees were happy to sign autographs, have pictures and videos taken with the fans and share a few stories from the good old days. Also on hand were former Hall of Fame inductees like John Penton, who watched his son Tom be inducted. The elder Penton also signed a number of copies of the new book on his life penned by fellow Hall of Fame member and former AMA President Ed Youngblood, who was also on hand. A few members of the crowd had an even more special reason to attend. The families of past hillclimbing greats Pete and Joe Uebelacker were not on hand when the Uebelackers were originally inducted in 1998, but they made it to Pickerington this year to accept the medals. Davey Coombs and his mother Rita accepted the medal for late racing promoter Dave Coombs. Davey gave a brief speech on how his hard-working father would have reacted to being named to the Hall of Fame. "He would have looked at the medal, thought about it for a second and said, 'This is great,'" Coombs said. "Then he would have hopped back on his tractor and got back to work on the track. That's just the kind of guy he was." Coombs also talked about the influence of Chuck and Sharon Clayton, founders of Cycle News, on motorcycling journalism in America. Sharon was on hand to accept her induction into the hall. "You look at all of the writers in this industry, and just about every one of them wrote for Cycle News at one time or another," said Coombs, who founded the successful Racer X Illustrated magazine. "So many people in the industry started out by writing for Cycle News that we started calling it the 'Clayton School of Journalism.'" Legendary motocross racer Broc Glover was on hand to accept his award, and he waxed philosophical about his induction. "An old proverb says that one generation plants the trees and the next generation gets to enjoy the shade," he said. "Many of these Hall of Fame inductees paved the way for me to be able to make a good living doing what I loved -- racing motorcycles. I hope I've done a small part in making it better for the current generation of riders." Fujio Yoshimura and members of his family came all the way from Japan to accept on behalf of his late father, Pops Yoshimura, the engine builder who helped usher in the current Superbike era. Fujio presented the Hall of Fame a Japanese motorcycle magazine that featured the life of Pops Yoshimura. After the ceremonies, those in attendance went inside the museum to enjoy a gala reception. Old war stories were the order of the day as crowds gathered to hear about some of the glory days of yesteryear. Also at the ceremony, several groups presented checks to benefit the Hall of Fame. The Perkiomen and Sunshine chapters of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America showed their support, as did the Gateway chapter of the Harley Owners Group.