Sidecar racing champion to be inducted into AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to announce the seventh member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2010: three-time AMA Sidecar Racing National Champion Larry Coleman. Coleman, who has set land-speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats and runs his own motorcycle-industry marketing company, will be among the legends of motorcycling honored at the 2010 induction ceremony at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas Nov. 19.

“Motorcycle racing is one of the most diverse motorsports in the world, and sidecar racing is further evidence of that,” said AMA Director of Operations and Hall of Famer Jack Penton. “One of the best ever at this unique and exciting discipline is Larry Coleman — a three-time champ who really took the sport to new levels.”

Don Rosene, chairman of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame selection committee, said: “I first met Larry Coleman in the mid-’70s while I was selling HiPoint Accessories and he was selling Kal-Gard. I wasn’t aware at that time that he was an AMA National Sidecar Champion. I heard it from someone else — he never mentioned it to me. Humble, indeed.┬áNow, almost 40 years later, Larry is still setting records in a sidecar, only this time it’s in a straight line, at very high speeds, on the salt at Bonneville.”

A motorcyclist since he was a kid, Coleman’s interest in fast, grand-prix-style sidecar racing came when he was a U.S. serviceman in Europe in the 1970s. After two racing seasons as a sidecar passenger, he decided to pilot his own machine. Upon returning to the United States, Larry raced a Kawasaki 500 H1-based sidecar with Wendell Andrews, and was a success in both AFM and AMA racing.

The pair won two AMA national championships in 1976-77. Then, teaming with Mark Bevans as passenger, Coleman won the 1979 AMA national championship. For the 1980 season, Coleman built up a Yamaha TZ750-based bike that was one of the most advanced machines of its type and helped advance the cause of sidecar racing in the United States. After retiring from racing in 1981, Coleman worked in the motorcycle industry, ultimately starting his own marketing and public relations consultancy.

Coleman said he was honored to be named the to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

“I’m really in awe,” Coleman said. “I’ve been to Pickerington, and read all the names on the wall. Being in the company of those people is such an honor. I don’t think there’s any finer honor than to be judged by your peers, and this is just amazing.”

As for sidecar racing, Coleman was smitten early.

“The attraction for me is the teamwork,” he said. “The guys who rode with me in those championships, Wendell Andrews and Mark Bevans, are as much a part of this as I am. They say that motorcycle racing takes 100 percent effort, and on a sidecar, it takes 200 percent.”

Coleman joins previously announced members of the AMA Hall of Fame Class of 2010: championship team owner Mitch Payton, AMA 250cc Roadrace Champion David Emde, off-road rights activist Clark Collins, dirt-track racer Don Castro and off-road gear pioneers John and Rita Gregory. More inductees will be announced soon.

Coleman, and the other members of the class of 2010, will officially be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 19, as part of the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend. In addition to the induction ceremony, the weekend includes the 2010 AMA Concours d’Elegance on Saturday, Nov. 20, featuring some of the country’s most impressive original and restored classic motorcycles. The AMA Racing Championship Banquet closes out the weekend on Sunday, Nov. 21, where AMA Racing amateur champions of all ages will be recognized for their 2010 accomplishments.

The AMA Legends & Champions Weekend also includes the final round of the Geico Powersports AMA Endurocross National Championship Series on Saturday evening, Nov. 20. Ticket packages for the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend will also include access to the race, held at The Orleans Arena.

The AMA Legends & Champions Weekend will be held at the Las Vegas Red Rock Resort, a world-class spa, hotel and casino, featuring a range of entertainment, dining and family-friendly attractions. The facility’s expansive ballrooms will provide a stunning backdrop for the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend, which is certain to be memorable for the 2010 inductees, champions, families, friends and fans. More information is available online at RedRockLasVegas.com.