Freddie Spencer Honored in Detroit

Calvin Kim
by Calvin Kim
Thanks to Honda's Press Dept. for the following release:

Three-time World Grand Prix motorcycle champion Freddie Spencerwill be inducted into The Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame at the State Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on Wednesday night, June 6, 2001.

The Hall of Fame currently enshrines 93 Heroes of Horsepower in ten categories. A committee of prominent motorsports writers, historians, members of the Hall of Fame and peers across the nation selects nominees. Inductees, selected annually, are characterized by their desire to win, mastery of their field and the courage to innovate.

Each inductee receives the Hall of Fame's prestigious "Horsepower" award -- anoriginal bronze statuette created by Ann Arbor, Michigan sculptor MichaelCurtis.

Read on for more information about the Motorsports Hall of Fame and Freddie's history...

About Freddie SpencerPerhaps no one in the history of motorcycle racing ever achieved as much, asquickly, and at such a tender age as the young man who, in the mid 1970's,rocketed to the attention of the American public as Fast Freddie Spencer.

Born in 1961 in Shreveport, Louisiana, Freddie Spencer began riding motorcyclesas a toddler at the age of four. At five, he was competing in TT Scramble dirttrack events in Dallas, Texas. By the age of eleven, Spencer had already wontenstate motorcycle racing championships in Short Track and Dirt Track events.

In 1972, Spencer made his first foray into roadracing, competing at GreenValleyRaceway in Dallas, Texas. The youngster's dirt track experience paid off. By1977, he had won twelve national roadracing championships competing in both AMA(American Motorcyclist Association) and WERA sanctioned race events.

In 1978, Spencer began his professional roadracing career at the age of 18.Thatyear, he won every race in the AMA 250cc Grand Prix Road Race "Novice" Divisionwhile en route to winning the AMA National Championship. The following year,1979, Spencer won the AMA 250cc Grand Prix Road Race "Expert" division NationalChampionship, finishing first place in every race except one, where he tooksecond.

Spencer's achievements did not go unnoticed. In 1980, at nineteen years of age,he signed with American Honda Motor Company to race in the AMA SuperbikeNational Championship Series.

Spencer also began racing overseas that year. In his first taste of Europeancompetition, Spencer won the first two legs of the Trans-Atlantic Match Races.Incredibly, Spencer bested two former Grand Prix World Champions, Kenny Robertsand Barry Sheene, both of whom were supported by factory teams.

Spencer qualified 6th in his first European Grand Prix. This was just a singlespot behind reigning 500cc World Champion Kenny Roberts, a man who, at thetime,was considered the greatest motorcycle racer in the world.

In 1981, Spencer inked an agreement with Honda Racing Corporation to raceselected Grand Prix World Championship events, and most importantly, to assistin the research and development of the Honda NR500 four-stroke machine.

The following year, at the age of 20, Spencer stunned the racing world at theBelgian Grand Prix on July 4, 1982, becoming the youngest Grand Prix racewinnerin history. He went on to finish third overall in his first full year of 500ccGrand Prix World Championship riding Honda's three-cylinder two-stroke NS500.

This set the stage for the celebrated 1983 racing season, which is consideredbymany as greatest World Championship Grand Prix contest of all time. Spencer wonthe 500cc World Championship in the toughest competition on record. He andKennyRoberts split 12 wins and 12 pole positions between them, with Spencer takingthe championship by scant 2 points in the final race of the season. At 21,Spencer had become the youngest World Grand Prix Champion in history.

1984 was a transition year for Spencer. He played a major role in the researchand development of a new V-4 two-stroke Grand Prix machine for Honda,consideredthe most radically designed bike in post-war Grand Prix racing. Due to variousteething problems, Spencer finished fourth in the World Championship pointstandings.

In 1985, Spencer was back with a vengeance. The young man who had taken thechampionship from King Kenny Roberts in 1983 was soon to become the firstpersonin history to win both the 250cc and 500cc World Championships in the sameseason. In the 250cc classification, Spencer competed in ten events, qualifiedon the pole six times, and won seven races. In the eleven 500cc races, Spencerqualified first nine times and won seven.

The double championship stands alone in the history of modern Grand Prixracing.No competitor today would even attempt such a feat, yet Spencer accomplished itwhile setting nine new track records. Even more incredibly, in the same year,hewon all three major divisions (250cc, 500cc and Superbike) at the AMA Nationalat Daytona International Speedway. He is the first and only competitor ever todo so.

In 1988, with three World Championships under his belt, Spencer retired fromGrand Prix racing. In the years that followed, he raced in selected events inthe AMA Superbike Series. In 1996, over thirty years from the day a small boyentered his first dirt track race on an obscure Texas racecourse, Fast FreddieSpencer officially retired from professional motorcycle racing.

Today Spencer owns and operates the very successful Freddie Spencer's High Performance Riding School, situated at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Spencer's school, designed for riders of all abilities, reaches out to novice riders - who wish to improve their street riding -- as well as racers who dream of winning world championships.

Spencer and a select group of highly skilled instructors - who are renowned for their personal touch - coach students using specially equipped Honda CBR600 motorcycles. For more information, go to: www.fastfreddie.com.

About The Motorsports Museum & Hall of FameThe Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame features a 20,000 square foot museum housing over 40 racing and high performance vehicles. Located in Novi, Michigan, the items on exhibit are significant race vehicles, such as land and water speed record holders, both antique and current.

The constantly changing collection features racers from the world of Indy cars, stock cars, Can Am, TransAm, sprint cars, powerboats, truck racing, drag racing, motorcycles, and even racing snowmobiles.

The national Hall of Fame features Heroes of Horsepower enshrined in nine different categories from air racing to motorcycle racing, from the early part of the century to current champions.

The Museum also showcases exhibits and photographs of the personalities, manufacturers and machines of all kind of racing and their rich legacy. Other features include exciting racing videos, driving simulation, games, slot cars, driver uniforms, memorabilia displays and a gift and collectible shop.

The Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum can be scheduled by special arrangement for group tours / special events. The museum is always open 24 hours via the Internet. Through the generous support of Enterprise Associates Ltd the museum can be found on-line at: www.mshf.com.

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Calvin Kim
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