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David Emde named to AMA Hall of Fame

David joins father Floyd and brother Don Emde in Hall

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 03, 2010
Former AMA 250cc road racing champion David Emde will join his brother Don and father Floyd in the AMA Hall of Fame.

“This is just incredible to have him inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame,” says Don Emde. “My dad would be particularly proud – mom and dad, both, since we were such a motorcycling family.”

Don Emde was inducted to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999, a year after his father Floyd was inducted.

“When you see the name ‘Emde,’ you first think of Don and his father Floyd as being the only father-son duo with Daytona 200 victories, but there are more Emdes, and all of them are life-long motorcyclists,” says Don Rosene, chair of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame selection committee. “In addition to his national title, younger brother David had an impressive number of roadracing wins throughout the mid-70s, including a couple of AMA amateur finals at Daytona.”

David Emde started as a dirt-track racer before switching to road racing in 1975, facing such competition as Kenny Roberts, Steve Baker and Gary Nixon. Emde’s career highlight was winning the 1977 AMA 250cc Championship.

Emde also raced Superbikes and in 1978, he set a then-record qualifying time for the Suzuki 8 Hour endurance race.

After his racing career, Emde entered the motorcycle retail industry, doing motorcycle camera work for films, teaching at the DP High Performance Motorcycle Riding Schools and acting as a roving ambassador for BMW, the brand he raced for in the AMA Battle of the Twins class.

“Few racers have exhibited the versatility and consistency that David Emde brought to the track every time he competed – particularly in what many consider a true golden era of motorcycle dirt-track and roadracing competition,” says Jack Penton, AMA director of operations and a Hall of Famer himself. “His story is one that all motorcyclists can appreciate, and we’re looking forward to telling it in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.”

Don Emde recalls a National at Loudon, N.H. in 1981 where David was to race a BMW in the Battle of the Twins Class. It was a wet race and David Emde was able to set practice times on the Twin that could comparable to times set in the Superbikes. As a result, the team decided to enter the Superbike race, finishing fourth against superior motorcycles, after having won the Battle of the Twins race earlier that day on the same machine.

“It was a post entry, so he had to start from the back of the grid, and he just worked his way to the front,” says Don Emde. “At one point, he was able to work his way around Freddie Spencer to take third, before Freddie took it back.”

Sadly, David Emde will be inducted posthumously to the Hall of Fame. Emde died when his motorcycle ran off the road and fell 40 feet into a ravine near San Diego in 2003.

Emde joins Mitch Payton as the first two members of the 2010 Hall of Fame class. Seven other members will be named in the next few weeks. The 2010 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame class will be inducted in a ceremony Nov. 19 in Las Vegas during the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend.

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