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Dirt track star named to AMA Hall of Fame

Don Castro raced against the best in the '70s

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 14, 2010
Dirt track racer Don Castro will enter the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame as a member of the 2010 class.

A racing star from 1970-1976, Castro competed against some of the greatest racers of all time. Castro finished fifth in the standings in his rookie season with Triumph. After joining Yamaha in 1973, Castro won the San Jose, Calif., half-mile. Castro would win another National in 1974, beating his teammate Kenny Roberts to win the 250cc road race at Daytona.

“Many consider the early 1970s one of the greatest periods for dirt-track racing in the history of the sport,” says Jack Penton, AMA director of operations. “Don battled famed racers Gary Scott, Kenny Roberts, Mert Lawwill, Chuck Palmgren, Gene Romero, Dave Aldana and others, and he excelled. We’re delighted that he has earned a spot alongside the other great racers in dirt-track history in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.”

Castro now operates Racer’s Edge, a motorcycle and ATV service center in Tres Pinos, Calif.

“It’s just a shock,” says Castro about being selected to the Hall of Fame. “It makes your mind think of all kinds of things. It brings back a lot of memories. I’m shocked, and don’t feel I deserve it.”

Hall of Fame dirt track tuner Bill Werner disagrees.

“Don is very deserving to be in the Hall of Fame, and I was fortunate enough to see him compete in his prime,” says Werner, chair of the Hall of Fame’s dirt track committee. “One time, he was at Louisville Downs qualifying and ran wide open. He took my breath away and everyone’s breath away. He was a very talented racer and is well deserving of the honor.”

Looking back at his racing career, Castro remembers both the competitive racing and the bonds he formed with other racers.

“It was a difficult time to win a National because there were always three or four racers going for the win,” says Castro. “Everybody had different lines because they had different bikes – Harleys, Triumphs, Yamahas. They ran different, so they had different lines, it wasn’t just follow the leader. And it was nice because you would caravan to the races together. They were like your brothers, really close friends.”

Castro will be inducted to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Nov. 19 in Las Vegas during the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend. He joins previously announced selections Mitch Payton, David Emde and Clark Collins.