Pierre Karsmakers, one of the first European motocross champions to bring his expertise to America, and Tom White, acclaimed racer, White Brothers Cycle Specialties founder and a lifetime advocate of motorcycling and the sport of motocross, have both been elected to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
"Pierre showed Americans what motocross was all about," said Ken Ford, a member of the Hall of Fame executive committee and treasurer of the American Motorcyclist Association board of directors. "From his performance on the track to his training regimen, he demonstrated a firm resolve to wring the most from himself and his machines."
Karsmakers said he was honored by his election.
"It’s been a long time since I raced, so it means a lot that America still recognizes me as one who brought motocross to the United States," Karsmakers said during a recent telephone interview from his home in The Netherlands.
A three-time motocross champion in his native Holland, Karsmakers came to the United States to gain wider exposure and attract the attention of the Japanese motorcycle makers.
Racing for Yamaha in 1973, Karsmakers won the 500cc motocross national championship series, scoring 2,659 total points. The second-place racer scored 1,427. Karsmakers also was the winner of the inaugural AMA Supercross Championship in 1974. He retired from racing in 1979.
Tom White was also elected into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. "Few have done more to advance the sport of motocross racing, and the history of motocross racing, than Tom White," said Ford. "By virtue of his early racing success, his long and successful career in motorcycling, his personal dedication to promoting both the past and present of this great sport and his selfless dedication to the Hall of Fame on the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation board, Tom White is personally responsible for improving the experience and opportunity for motocross racers and motorcyclists of all ages."
White first tasted motorcycling at the age of 15. By the time he was in his early 20s, White was ranked among the top 100 motorcycle racers in America, earning AMA National No. 80. Soon after, he founded White Brothers Cycle Specialties in 1975, which became one of the top off-road motorcycle accessory companies in America. When White sold the company in 2000, the firm listed more than 30,000 items.
Today, White feeds his passion by racing motocross, as a race announcer, and as owner and curator of the Early Years of Motocross Museum in in Villa Park, Calif., which features 160 motorcycles and related displays.
"There is no higher honor in motorcycling than being inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame," White said. "This is special because it comes from your peers in the industry and existing Hall of Famers. I am humbled to think that my heroes, these great people of the sport, believe that I’m worthy of this acknowledgement of my life and career. It’s a real testimony that if you love motorcycling enough, sooner or later people will notice."
The 2014 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Friday, Oct. 17, as part of the AMA National Convention, Oct. 16-19, in Orlando, Fla., and in conjunction with the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo).
AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers are selected through a nomination and voting procedure that includes ballots cast by living Hall of Fame members, members of the American Motorcyclist Association and AMHF boards of directors, and members of, and advisers to, the Hall of Fame category committees.