The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum is dealing with some toxic fallout over its decision to reverse the selection of noted tuner Derek “Nobby” Clark to its 2012 class. Clark was initially announced to the Hall on June 11 but weeks later the Hall revoked its invitation, saying Clark was voted in incorrectly.
That chain of events didn’t sit well with some members of the motorcycle community including Hall of Fame member and Speed TV personality Dave Despain. The “WindTunnel” host wrote a letter to the Hall of Fame saying Clark was unfairly being blackballed by the Hall and asked for his own removal from the Hall of Fame.
Since the letter was sent (the full text is reprinted here on Speed’s website), others Hall of Fame members such as Dick Mann, Charles Falco and Kenny Roberts (Clark worked as part of Roberts’ crew) have followed suit, asking for to be removed from the Hall as well.
SuperbikePlanet’s Dean Adams, who serves on the Hall’s road race selection committee, published an editorial explaining his account of the Clark selection snafu. Adams says Clark and five other nominees were mistakenly advanced by the road race committee to the balloting committee, instead of the originally intended two nominees. Clark passed through to the final ballot for the general vote.
On July 13, the Hall of Fame released a statement by Jeffrey V. Heininger, chair of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, with a report of what happened during this year’s nomination process.
The report, which corroborates details from Adams’ account, notes Clark received the third most votes among the nominees appearing on the competition ballot, so even though he was not supposed to be on the ballot, Clark does have a significant amount of support from the voters. But still, citing the integrity of the selection process, the Hall decided to revoke Clark’s nomination.
The Hall’s report recommends a suspension of committee activities and a general review of the selection process. The report may have come too late however as what is being called a simple clerical error has turned into a public relations nightmare for the hall.