Begin Press Release:
Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., Honors 2016 Wall Of Champions Inductees At AIMExpo
Orlando, FL – October 14, 2016 – On Friday, during a special, invitation-only dealer luncheon held at the AIMExpo in Orlando, FL, Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., honored 10 of its racing legends by inducting them onto the “Yamaha Wall of Champions.” Each of the Champions received a special plaque commemorating the honor, and duplicates of the plaques that the Champions received will go on the Wall off Champions at Yamaha Motor Corporation’s U.S. headquarters in Cypress, CA., joining the plaques of those Yamaha Champions who have already been inducted in recent years.
The 10 Yamaha racing legends who were inducted today include 2005 AMA Supermoto Lites and 2007 AMA Supermoto Champion Mark Burkhart; 1998 AMA 125cc West Region Supercross Champion John Dowd; 2003 AMA Supersport, 2006 AMA Supersport, and 2006 AMA Superstock Champion Jamie Hacking; 2003 AMA GNCC XC1 Motorcycle Champion Barry Hawk; 2004 AMA National Enduro Champion Randy Hawkins; 1998 AMA 250cc Motocross Champion Doug Henry; 1994 AMA 600 Supersport Champion Jamie James, 1995 AMA 750 Supersport Champion Tom Kipp, 1979 AMA 250 Grand Prix Champion Freddie Spencer, and 1991 AMA Superbike Champion Thomas Stevens.
“The Yamaha Wall of Champions represents a commitment to excellence and a dedication to being the best, on race day and every day,” commented Keith McCarty, Motorsports Racing Division Manager for Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. “Yamaha congratulates all of our 2016 Wall of Champions inductees, and we thank them for representing our company, our employees, our dealers, and the Yamaha brand like true professionals. These 10 riders brought a lot of racing success to the Yamaha brand, with their many victories and championships. It’s great to be able to honor them here today.”
Here is a synopsis of the 10 newly inducted Yamaha Champions, along with links to their induction videos:
Raised as a motocrosser, Mark started out on a Yamaha PW50 and scored an AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship in the B class before turning pro and eventually transitioning to the growing sport of Supermoto. It wasn’t long before he was a frontrunner, and he won the 2005 AMA Supermoto Lites Championship aboard a Graves Motorsports/Yamaha YZ250F. In 2007, Mark won the AMA Supermoto Championship on his Graves Motorsports/Yamaha YZ450F. And, in 2008, he made an incredible tenth-to-first charge to win the Gold Helmet at ESPN’s inaugural Moto-X World Championships. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/YdxPaeXA5Y8
The ultimate lunch-pail-carrying, hard-hat-wearing racer, the “Junkyard
Dog” scored podium finishes as a privateer Yamaha racer in the beginning of his career, which led to the factory Yamaha team giving him a motorcycle on which he promptly delivered two overall victories, in Minnesota and New York. Those results netted him a full factory Yamaha ride, which resulted in him winning the 1998 AMA 125cc Western Region Supercross Championship. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/USmssikBYTo
In 1998, Jamie joined Yamaha’s factory road racing team, and he earned AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year honors. 2003 was “The Hacker’s” breakthrough season when he won the AMA 600 Supersport title after an epic battle with his Yamaha teammate Damon Buckmaster. But, Jamie’s best was yet to come. In 2006, he had an amazing season, showing his versatility by notching two AMA Championships in one season, and aboard two different motorcycles. He rode his Yamaha R6 to the AMA 600 Supersport Championship and, aboard his Yamaha R1, he won the AMA Superstock Championship. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/RUOkpNbVd1Y
One of the most versatile riders ever to swing a leg over a motorized machine—any kind of machine—Barry Hawk is arguably the greatest rider in the history of Grand National Cross Country Racing. He notched seven straight ATV National Championships on four-wheeled ATVs, then, incredibly, turned to two wheels and won the 2003 GNCC Motorcycle Championship aboard an AmPro/Yamaha YZ250. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/afARVQc-u2c
Randy built his reputation on the AMA National Enduro circuit, scoring six AMA Championships in nine years–from 1988 through 1996–back when timekeeping was as important as speed, and riders had to rely on their own instincts to follow trails and maintain equipment. In 2004, he won his seventh and final National Enduro Championship aboard a Yamaha YZ250. Randy collected an astounding 73 AMA National wins and 13 gold medals at the International Six-Days Enduro. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/7w6IhhVt5Gw
In 1997, Doug raced one of the most famous motocross bikes of all time: the hand-built YZM400, the four-stroke motorcycle destined to compete with—and beat—the two strokes. And at Las Vegas that same year, Doug won the race and launched a whole new era for the sport. A year later, Yamaha unveiled the YZ400F, which was the production version of the YZM400, and Doug won the AMA 250cc Motocross Championship aboard the revolutionary machine. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/H-Ts65rPDik
In 1991, Jamie James joined Vance & Hines Yamaha, and became a superstar aboard his legendary #2 Yamaha FZR750RR OW01. In 1994, he nearly strung together one of the greatest U.S. road racing seasons ever, battling for his second AMA Superbike Championship while also fighting for the AMA 600 Supersport Championship, and leading the points in both during the season. The Superbike title narrowly eluded the “Ragin’ Cajun,” but he won the 1994 AMA 600 Supersport title aboard his magenta, yellow, and black Vance & Hines Yamaha YZF600R. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/ZOQ7QhQEdx0
Tom was born and raised in northern Ohio, and that’s where he began riding a Yamaha GT80MX at the age of six. He started in motocross but found a calling as a road racer and made a name for himself when he led 23 out of the 25 laps at the 1991 Mid-Ohio AMA National on his privateer #16 Wiseco Yamaha FZR750RR OW01 Superbike. Then, after becoming a factory rider, “The Cyclone” went on to win an AMA 600 Supersport title and three AMA 750 Supersport Championships, including the 1995 AMA 750 Supersport title aboard his #1 Vance & Hines Yamaha YZF750R. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/E16g0q8VgGg
Freddie is best known for his amazing 1985 Grand Prix season, in which he won both the 250cc and 500cc World Championships, but he honed his racecraft and built his reputation long before that while racing Yamaha machinery. In 1968, he won the Louisiana State Dirt Track Championship aboard a Yamaha JT60 Mini-Enduro. And then, he turned to road racing and won the 1974 AMA 125cc Amateur National Championship aboard a Yamaha TA125A. In 1979, as an 18-year-old, “Fast” Freddie won his first professional road racing title–the AMA 250 Grand Prix Championship–aboard a Yamaha TZ250. The following year, in 1980, he raced a Yamaha TZ750 in the Trans-Atlantic Match Races, where he won two races while competing against legends like Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/33JkeI3jONs
Thomas grew up racing motocross on Yamahas and, late in his teen years, he got his first streetbike, which was also a Yamaha. And that’s when things quickly took off. Thomas’ talents as a road racer caught the attention of Kenny Roberts, who hired him to race a Yamaha TZ250 in AMA 250GP with John Kocinski as his teammate. In 1990, Thomas joined Vance & Hines Yamaha and earned AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year honors. He reached the pinnacle of AMA professional road racing the very next year when he won the 1991 AMA Superbike Championship aboard his #11 Vance & Hines Yamaha FZR750RR OW01. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/cUJZgH-WvgA
About Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.
Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. (YMUS), is a recognized leader in the powersports industry. The company’s ever-expanding product offerings include Motorcycles, ATVs and Side-By-Side Vehicles, Snowmobiles, Outboard Motors, Personal Watercraft, Boats, Outdoor Power Equipment, Race Kart Engines, Unmanned Helicopters, Accessories, Apparel, and much more. YMUS products are sold through a nationwide network of dealers in the United States.
Headquartered in California since 1960, YMUS also has facilities in Wisconsin and Georgia, as well as factory operations in Tennessee and Georgia. For more information about YMUS, visit http://www.YamahaMotorsports.com
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