Left to right: Robert McKeever, Nobby Clark and Alex McLean work on the Norton Champagne Racing Team’s 1961 Norton Manx during the 2010 Bonneville Vintage GP.
UPDATE, JULY 2, 2012: On June 13, 2012, we announced the news that Derek “Nobby” Clark, one of the most famous motorcycle race mechanics of all time and, by the way, one of the greatest guys you’ll have ever the pleasure to meet, was to be inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2012. It turns out Nobby won’t be inducted after all, the AMA now saying that his name never should have been on the ballot for 2012 inductees and that his inclusion was the result of an “error” in the balloting process.
The AMA isn’t saying what the error was, but suffice to say the affair leaves us less than impressed. How the AMA, which purports to be the leading institution representing the history and culture of American motorcycling, could make an error of this magnitude and then take three weeks to bring it to light is beyond us. Shame on the AMA. And Nobby, we still think you’re the greatest. Following is the AMA press release issued July 1, followed by our June 13 announcement. – Richard Backus
FROM THE AMA, JULY 1, 2012: The American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame regretfully announces that, due to an error in the Hall of Fame balloting process, Derek “Nobby” Clark will not be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2012, as was previously announced on June 11.
“This is unfortunate but Mr. Clark’s name should not have been on the ballot,” said Jeffrey V. Heininger, chairman of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, which oversees the selection process for Hall of Fame nominees. “We sincerely regret this error and I have apologized to Mr. Clark on behalf of the Hall of Fame.
“This was a difficult decision, but it had to be made to ensure the integrity of this remarkable institution,” said Heininger. “We are undertaking a thorough review of our nomination process and its implementation going forward.”
About the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation
Founded in 1990 by the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, the goal of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum is to tell the stories and preserve the history of motorcycling. Located on the campus of the American Motorcyclist Association in Pickerington, Ohio, the Museum’s three major exhibition halls feature the machines and memorabilia of those who have contributed notably to the sport. The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to motorcycling, including those known for their contributions to road riding, off-road riding and all categories of racing, as well as those who have excelled in business, history, design and engineering. More information can be found at MotorcycleMuseum.org.
FROM OUR JUNE 13, 2012, ANNOUNCEMENT: The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame has announced that Derek “Nobby” Clark will be inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame at ceremonies to be held during the AMA Legends Weekend at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, Nov. 16-17, 2012.
For 25 years, Nobby was one of the world’s leading motorcycle race mechanics. He was responsible for prepping the bikes that rode to 17 Grand Prix World Titles during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, tuning for the Honda factory race team and working with some of the greatest racers of all time like Mike Hailwood and Jim Redman, to name a few.
One of the most genuinely nice people you’ll ever meet, Nobby, now in his mid-70s, remains extremely active in vintage racing, working closely with Bob McKeever, Robert McKeever and Alex McLean of AHRMA championship winning Norton Champagne Racing Team. We profiled the team in the July/August 2010 issue. Read the story here. Congratulations, Nobby, you’ve earned it! – Richard Backus
For more background on Nobby and his racing career, check out the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame press release here.