Off-road racing icon Malcolm Smith and famed national champion dirt-tracker Mert Lawwill will be honored as Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends at the annual AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 16-17.
“Just say the names ‘Malcolm’ and ‘Mert’ and the motorcycling community knows exactly who you are talking about,” said Jeff Heininger, chairman of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, which raises funds for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. “These two legends starred together in the influential 1972 motorcycling movie ‘On Any Sunday,’ and we’re very excited that they will star together again on our induction ceremony stage.”
Smith, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998, was a pioneer in off-road motorcycling. He’s famous for his accomplishments in the Baja 1000 and for his gold-medal winning rides in International Six Day Enduro competitions. He gained fame beyond the motorcycling community when he appeared in “On Any Sunday.” The scenes of Smith and Lawwill play-riding with popular actor Steve McQueen showed people across the country just how fun motorcycling could be. The movie helped launch an explosion in the popularity of off-road motorcycling in America.
Smith went on to become a successful businessman with his Malcolm Smith Motorsports motorcycle dealership in Riverside, Calif. He also built up Malcolm Smith Racing products, now known as MSR, which is owned by Tucker Rocky, where Smith works as a consultant. Known for his support of community projects, Smith also created a tax-free foundation that has raised more than $750,000 to support an orphanage and help educate children at El Oasis in Baja, Mexico.
“I’m humbled to receive this recognition because there are so many great riders and racers in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame,” Smith said. “This is a great honor. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends, and meeting new ones, at the induction ceremony in November.”
Lawwill, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998, was one of the top professionals on the AMA national circuit during the 1960s and 1970s. He was the 1969 AMA Grand National champion and “On Any Sunday” chronicled his bid to defend his title during the 1970 racing season. By the time Lawwill hung up his racing leathers in 1977, he had amassed an incredible 161 career AMA Grand National finishes during his 15-year racing career. Lawwill went on to become one of the top motorcycle racing frame designers and builders. He then used his expertise to create custom racing mountain bikes that won numerous national and world titles, as well as prosthetic devices to enable amputees to ride motorcycles and bicycles.
“This is totally unexpected,” Lawwill said. “I’m very grateful that my peers in the motorcycling community think enough of me to honor me in this way. I’m really looking forward to this event. ”
Smith and Lawwill will be honored as Legends at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for the Class of 2012. Past recipients of the Legends honor are roadracing icon Kenny Roberts and motocross legends Roger DeCoster and Bob Hannah.
I watched Malcolm hill-climb at Saddleback Park and was amazed at his expertise in many areas of motorcycling. One Sunday he showed up at my front door in Menifee, Ca., wanting to look at the 1976 Husky automatic I had for sale. He borrowed my boots and took er for a ride in my backyard and ended up buying it for his collection. I had a MS embossed leather tank bag he was interested in but I couldn’t let it go since it was a gift. I still have it. I wish I had let him have it. It was really a thrill to meet him.