Sunday, May 19, 2024

Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 revealed

After selecting from a pool of fifty-four, the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame will induct nine figures into the Class of 2023. The names were revealed Thursday while the induction ceremony will take place in September.

“The ORMHOF Gala is off-road’s biggest night of the year. It’s the off-road reunion and celebration everyone looks forward to attending,” said Hall of Fame chairman and inductee Mark McMillin. “We’re excited to welcome the Class of 2023 to the Hall of Fame on September 9 at Michael Gaughan’s South Point in Las Vegas.”

Excerpts sorted alphabetically by last name

Jeff Cummings: Until his retirement in 2022, Cummings was a longtime employee of BFGoodrich, having worked there from 1979. Under his leadership, BFGoodrich established itself as the top tyre manufacturer in SCORE International competition and broke 100 overall victories at that the 2022 San Felipe 250. Cummings was named the Sal Fish SCORE Person of the Year in 2013.

Scott Douglas: Idolised by NASCAR great Jimmie Johnson, Douglas boasted eight desert racing championships in series like SCORE and Best In The Desert along with three Baja 1000 class victories. His success also extended to short course racing with a pair of BorgWarner Cup titles and the inaugural AMSOIL Cup in 2011.

Evan Evans: The son of off-road racing pioneer and 2004 HOF inductee Walker Evans, his promising racing career seemed to come to an abrupt end when he was paralysed below the chest in a 1989 motorcycle crash. However, he instead made his return in time to secure the SCORE Class 6 title. Racing with hand controls, he became a star in short course racing that included Mickey Thompson, SODA, CORR, and the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series until his retirement in 2012.

Helen Fields: Fields, who passed away in 2015, was called the “First Lady of Four Wheeling” as she oversaw the development of four-wheel recreational off-roading in the United States. One of her most successful efforts was Gravelrama, an off-road event held in Cleves, Ohio that has been nicknamed “America’s Annual 4WD Happening”.

Scott Harden: Harden is regarded as one of the most iconic off-road motorcyclists ever and is an inductee into the American Motorcyclist Hall of Fame. In addition to forty class titles, he has a pair of Baja 1000 overall wins, three medals in the International Six Days Enduro, and in 2000 helped develop Red Bull KTM’s American Dakar Rally programme, even running the 2004 and 2005 editions.

Mary McGee: McGee was the first woman to finish the Mexican 1000 in 1968, a year after contesting the inaugural edition, and by 1975 she was completing the Baja 500 solo on bikes. One of the trailblazers for female motorcyclists, she was honoured as an FIM Legend in 2012 and has also been inducted into the American Motorcyclist Hall of Fame. NORRA, who oversees the Mexican 1000, awards the Mary McGee Trophy to the best performing woman at the event.

Tommy Morris: In the 1970s and 1980s, Morris was one of the top drivers in SCORE with victories at the Baja 500 and 1000. He eventually joined up with PPI to set up Toyota’s factory programme, creating a juggernaut in the off-road scene that included SCORE and short course championships. Morris also worked with PPI’s CART IndyCar division and even helped develop the United States military’s vehicle and technological training regimens.

Lee Sieck: Sieck, who died in 2003, competed in the San Diego Country desert as part of AMA District 38 before overseeing the San Diego Sports Committee as president starting 1979. In this role, he helped promote off-road and pavement races in the and Baja California, leading to him receiving the Amigos de Baja Award in 1999.

Russ Wernimont: Wernimont is a four-time SCORE Mechanic of the Year who built trucks for the likes of Parnelli Jones and Robby Gordon. In 1990, he designed what is regarded as the original Trophy Truck, which continues to be used as the premier vehicle in desert competition.