JT Racing founders named to Hall of Fame

John and Rita Gregory named to 2010 class

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 17, 2010
JT Racing USA founders John and Rita Gregory have been named to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2010.

The Gregorys made JT Racing the top name in motocross gear during the ’70s and ’80s. JT Racing was an innovator in both motocross gear manufacturing and marketing. JT Racing was also one of the driving forces behind bringing nylon MX pants to the U.S.

 “John and Rita began selling MX socks out of the back of their car at California motocross tracks,” says Jack Penton, AMA director of operations. “From that humble beginning, they built JT Racing into the dominant force in motocross apparel in the country and influenced MX apparel makers who followed.”

JT Racing sponsored legendary riders such as Joel Robert, Roger DeCoster, Marty Smith, Ricky Johnson, David Bailey, Bob Hannah, Johnny O’Mara and Jeff Ward. Another sponsored rider was Broc Glover, a member of the Hall of Fame Motocross/Supercross committee. It was Glover who recommended the Gregorys for the Hall.

“They changed how motocross riding gear was manufactured and marketed,” says Glover. “They brought style to the sport and sponsored powerhouse riders. They were the industry leaders, and set the benchmark for other apparel companies. JT is the company that others judged themselves against.

“The Gregorys brought in the first vented clothing. Their ideas were innovative,” Glover continues. “For me, on a personal level, I wore a set of pink gear. There was the DayGlo that David Bailey wore, the ALS helmet. They designed the V1000 and V2000 chest protectors, nylon pants and synthetic gloves – they were innovative. They had a lot of cool stuff.”

John Gregory credits the riders for helping make JT Racing an industry leader.

“We probably owe nearly all of our success to our riders,” says Gregory. “I have to give them a lot of the credit. I told (then-Yamaha factory rider) Hannah I had a big overstock problem with yellow and blue pants. Yamaha colors were yellow, black and white. He wore the yellow and blue pants at a Supercross on a Saturday night. By Wednesday we didn’t have any in stock.”

John and Rita Gregory are the fifth and sixth members named to the 2010 AMA Museum Hall of Fame class. They join racing team owner Mitch Payton, late road racer David Emde, BlueRibbon Coalition founder Clark Collins and dirt track racer Don Castro. The 2010 class will be inducted Nov. 20 in Las Vegas during AMA Legends & Champions Weekend.

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