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AMA: AMA's Bill Boyce Dies at Age 76

12 March 1999

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Bill Boyce, a respected friend of motorcycling and a dedicated official with the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) for more than five decades, passed away on March 9, the AMA reports. He was 76.

Boyces love of motorcycling started when he was a youngster growing up in Dayton, Ohio. After returning from duty with the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during World War II, Boyce began a professional racing career on a variety of machines, including Harley-Davidsons and Nortons, often with his trademark cigar clenched between his teeth. He was recalled by the military for service in Korea, then took up racing again upon his return home.

After retiring from competition in the late '50s, Boyce remained active in the Dayton Motorcycle Club while working for several motorcycle dealers. He also volunteered his time to help run both professional and amateur racing for the AMA. He rose through the ranks of AMA officials and served as a national referee before joining the AMA staff as a full-time employee in 1971.

Throughout the rapid growth period of motorcycle racing in the '70s and '80s, Boyce helped foster professional competition in this country in a variety of positions within the AMA, including stints as director of professional competition. Through it all, he never missed a chance to attend a race and lend a hand to racers and officials alike.

He was elected to the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the international governing body of motorcycling, where he served for more than 20 years and made hundreds of friends for the AMA and motorcycling in many countries. In his later years of FIM service, Boyce focused his efforts on speedway racing; and when he retired from the international organization in late 1996, delegates from more than 60 nations named him an honorary member of the FIMs Track Racing Commission, a title awarded to only three other individuals in the FIM's 90-year history.

Boyce retired from his full-time position at the AMA in 1990, but continued as a part-time consultant for AMA Pro Racing until the day he died. Bill oversaw the speedway and professional hillclimb programs in recent years, yet spent many weekends riding his street bike to any and all local races.

Boyce received the AMAs Professional Sportsman of the Year Award in 1993 for his tireless efforts in promoting racing. In 1996, he received the AMAs highest honor, the Dud Perkins Award, for his lifelong service to motorcycling. In making that presentation, AMA President Ed Youngblood said: "Few people involved in pro racing during the past 50 years have gone untouched by the positive influence Bill Boyce has had on the sport and on the AMA."

"Bill Boyce has been a mentor, a leader and a friend to all of us in professional racing," added Merrill Vanderslice, AMA director of professional racing. "History will record his contributions to the sport. Motorcycling has lost one of its best friends."

Boyce is survived by his wife of many years, Ann; his grandson, Tommy; and many other relatives and friends. Expressions of sympathy can be sent to the family in care of the AMA, 13515 Yarmouth Drive, Pickerington, OH 43147.