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Gary Mathers named to AMA Hall

Race manager won 48 championships

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 04, 2009
Accomplished race manager Gary Mathers has been named to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame class of 2009.

Mathers is best known for his tenures at Kawasaki and Honda, managing their racing programs. Mathers has 48 championships in road racing, dirt track, Supercross and Motocross on his resume and is credited for discovering eventual Grand Prix World Champions Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey, and three-time AMA Grand National dirt track champion Bubba Shobert.

“AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame racers such as Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and Bubba Shobert had one thing in common: Gary Mathers,” says Don Rosene, chair of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Committee. “Mathers’ racing teams with Kawasaki and later with Honda dominated the ’80s. He led and guided racers in all aspects of professional motorcycle racing. His dominance was unheralded, and he is well deserving of membership in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.”

Mathers says 1986, his second year with Honda, was his most successful.

“We were involved in nine different championships in dirt-track, road racing, motocross, ATV racing, all of it, and we won all of them that year,” says Mathers. “The only time I took off that year was the Fourth of July and Christmas day. I wanted to win those championships so bad … I learned a lot of things over the years, but the main thing is, it’s the people. The manufacturer gives you the budget, but you still need the best people you can get, and I had them from my administrative assistant on up. You surround yourself with good people, and then you just let them go. That’s it.”

In 2001, Mathers was appointed operations manager for the AMA Superbike Championship, overseeing staff and working with track operators and promoters for each event.

“Motorcycle competition is the most thrilling sport in the world, and few individuals have had as much behind-the-scenes success on the modern racing landscape as Gary Mathers,” says Rob Dingman, AMA president and chief executive officer. “Whether it was identifying talented racers before their time, or helping mold those racers and their teams into champions, Mathers was a master at his craft.”

Mathers will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Dec. 5 ceremony at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

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