Former AMA and World Superbike Champion Doug Polen has been named to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame class of 2011.
“Any fan of motorcycle roadracing will remember Doug’s amazing – and dominating – championship runs on the AMA and World Superbike stages,” says Don Rosene, a member of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation Board of Directors. “At a time when the series saw plenty of fast competitors, Doug was clearly the fastest. And he’s still on the track, racing, teaching and promoting motorcycles and motorcycling.”
Born in Detroit but a Texas resident for most of his life, Polen was a privateer racer in his youth who actually retired from racing as a 21-year-old in 1982. Thankfully, his retirement was short-lived and Polen came back to race in 1986 in the Suzuki GSX-R National Cup Series, winning 45 of 51 races and taking the 750cc title.
Teaming up with Yoshimura Suzuki, Polen competed in Japan, winning the Formula 1 and Formula 3 championships in 1989. In late 1990, Polen left the Yoshimura team to join Eraldo Ferraci to ride the Ducati 851. With the Fast By Ferracci team, Polen won a record 17 races to win the 1991 WSBK championship while also capturing the AMA Pro Twins Championship.
Polen would defend his WSBK title in 1992 on the Ducati 888. The following season, Polen concentrated on racing just the AMA Superbike series, winning the 1993 title. Polen would add two more world championships, taking the 1997 FIM Endurance World Championship with Peter Goddard, and again in 1998 with Christian Lavieille with the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team.
Today, Polen runs his own riding school, Doug Polen’s 1 on 1 Riders School.
“The thing is that you ride and you race, and when you’re doing it, you’re doing it to have fun and be competitive against other people, but also to try and make a mark and have something you can look back on and be proud of,” Polen says. “This is kind of like putting a stamp of approval, so to speak, on my career, and I take it as a very flattering thing.”
Polen joins Cycle magazine editor Phil Schilling and Parts Unlimited founder Fred Fox in the 2011 Hall of Fame class. They and the other yet-to-be-announced inductees will enter the Hall in a ceremony Nov. 19 during the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend in Las Vegas.
Press release after the jump.
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