Nine more individuals indelibly linked to motorcycling are now forever enshrined in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame: Doug Chandler, Alfred Rich Child, Wally Dallenbach, Sr., Denis Manning, Heikki Mikkola, Burt Munro, Cook Neilson, Roger “Sodie” Soderstrom and Melbourne J. “Mike” Wilson were honored as more than 400 attendees gathered at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pinkerington, Ohio, Oct. 7-8, 2006.
In opening remarks for the induction ceremony, MHFM executive director Mark Mederski said the Hall of Fame “honors those individuals whose passion and accomplishments have taken our sport and our industry to a higher level.” Famed Harley-Davidson tuner Bill Werner served as master of ceremonies for the evening, presenting each inductee (or their representative) with a gold Hall of Fame medal.
After accepting his medal, Doug Chandler commented, “All my life racing bikes, I never dwelled on what I’ve done in the past. I always look forward. Just having my name on the wall among those others … it really feels good, and it’s a great honor.” Chandler is one of only four riders to ever accomplish what is known as the “Grand Slam,” winning races in five different disciplines of AMA-sanctioned motorcycle racing: the half-mile, mile, TT, short-track and road racing.
Herbert “Burt” Munro’s story became known to thousands this past summer through the release of the movie The World’s Fastest Indian, which was based on his life-long pursuit of speed. John Munro and his sister, June, were on hand from New Zealand to represent their late father, who set land-speed records on his home-built Indian Scout.
Alfred Rich Child was a Harley-Davidson sales representative in Africa and Japan during Harley’s early years (learn more about Child in our article The Rikuo Motorcycle).
“It was amazing,” says freelance motorcycle journalist and Japanese bike enthusiast Doug Mitchel, who represented Motorcycle Classics at the event. “I thought I’d been in motorcycling a long time, but now I feel like I’ve barely started.”
The induction ceremony was preceded by the MHFM’s Fifth Annual Concours d’Elegance. The show featured over 100 of the country’s finest motorcycles, with the Jim Davis Best of Show award going to Bobby Sullivan’s 1966 Triumph Thunderbird. Other winners included a first place trophy in the American 1954-1975 category for John Schaefer and his 1959 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH that we featured in the November/December 2006 issue of Motorcycle Classics.
Our man Mitchel was invited to judge the Japanese motorcycle categories, along with Mederski and Cycle World editor David Edwards. “It’s flattering,” Mitchel says of being asked to judge, “but it’s also frightening telling some guy his bike is crappy.”
The show also featured the BUB Enterprises streamliner that multi-time AMA Flat Track Champion Chris Carr piloted to a new absolute land speed world record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah just a month prior: Carr averaged 350.884mph over two passes. Carr and owner Dennis Manning, who designed and built the BUB #7 streamliner, captivated fans with details of the record run, and as a part of the show, Manning gave attendees an overview of the experiences at the Salt Flats that led up to their world record, along with an explanation of the streamliner’s inner workings.
Next year’s MHFM annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony and Concours d’Elegance will take place Oct. 5-6, 2007. For more information, visit the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum.