Scott Summers, who famously raced Honda XR600Rs to nine American Motorcyclist Association national off-road racing championships, has been elected to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Summers, who was elected to the Off-Road Competition category, will be inducted at the 2014 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Friday, Oct. 17, in Orlando, Fla. The induction ceremony is part of the AMA National Convention being held in conjunction with the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) Oct. 16-19.
"Scott Summers not only won off-road championships in some of the most challenging tight woods terrain, but he did so his way — competing on a motorcycle that most others appreciated for its proficiency in wide-open desert racing," said Ken Ford, a member of the Hall of Fame executive committee and treasurer of the AMA board of directors. "Scott won and thrived, becoming one of the most prolific off-road champions in AMA-sanctioned national championship competition, and in the process helped introduce a new level of professionalism to off-road racing in America."
Summers, from Petersburg, Ky., won the 1990, 1991 and 1992 Grand National Cross Country championships racing a Honda XR600R against riders on much lighter and more agile motorcycles. After a three-year GNCC dry spell, Summers reclaimed the AMA national No. 1 plate in 1996 and successfully defended his title the following year. Summers also won four AMA Harescrambles National Championships in 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1995. In addition, he collected three gold medals competing for the U.S. team at the International Six Days Enduro.
"I’m humbled and honored, but to be honest, I feel like any success I achieved was a result of a group effort," Summers said. "I was surrounded by some visionary people who contributed to my racing — my dad, Wade, was instrumental in persuading me that four-strokes could be competitive and my friend, Fred Bramblett, was my mechanic, my business manager, my agent and my publicist. I was blessed in that I don’t know if any off-road racer ever had the support that I had. I don’t feel like I’m responsible for all the accolades that I received while competing, and I’m happy to share the limelight with all those who drove my success."
Summers earned a reputation for versatility and skill for racing a big four-stroke Honda that was primarily designed for high-speed, open terrain, such as desert competition. The series where Summers competed were contested mostly in tight, rocky woods in the eastern United States.
Although Summers acknowledged that the XR600R had a weight disadvantage compared to the much smaller two-strokes ridden by his rivals, he noted that the Honda’s smoother power delivery and torque gave him a performance edge.
"In 1982, I got a Honda XR200 for Christmas, and I fell in love with the type of power that bike made," he said. "There came a day when I felt I was capable of going faster than that bike would let me. That was in 1985 when I got an XR600. It was very similar to the XR200, only much more in every way. I loved the power characteristics, and it more than compensated for the fact that I was riding a bike 50-100 pounds heavier than the other bikes. Because of the smooth power, I could relax more, and that paid big benefits during a three-hour race."
Summers is the fourth member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame class of 2014 to be announced. He joins three previously announced inductees: motocross pioneer Pierre Karsmakers, racer and motorcycling advocate Tom White, and museum and racetrack founder George Barber. The remaining 2014 inductees will be announced in random order in the coming weeks.