On Oct. 17 in Orlando, Fla., the American Motorcyclist Association will welcome the Class of 2015 into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Two of those motorcycling greats will be racer Rodney Smith and entrepreneur and patron John Parham.
"It's my pleasure to announce the first two members of the Class of 2015," said Ken Ford, a member of the AMA and American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation boards of directors. "Rodney Smith was one of the most versatile motorcycle racers of the 1990s, excelling in both motocross and off-road at the highest levels. John Parham created one of the most-successful motorcycle accessory businesses and later became one of the greatest benefactors of motorcycling's heritage. Their contributions to the world of motorcycling are enduring and substantial."
The Class of 2015 includes three competition category inductees and three non-competition category inductees. Smith, from the off-road category, and Parham, from the ambassador and industry category, are the first two inductees announced for 2015.
Rodney Smith started riding motorcycles in the hills of Northern California with his family in the 1960s and '70s. From there, he blossomed into a local motocross standout and then an international contender. Smith accepted an offer to race in Brazil in 1985 and won five Brazilian national championships. He then moved to the world level and finished third in the 1988 Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme 250cc World Motocross Championships before returning to America in 1990.
Back in the United States, Smith turned his focus to off-road racing, where he became one of the most dominant riders of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Smith won 13 AMA-sanctioned national championship series, including five Grand National Cross Country titles, three AMA National Hare Scrambles titles and five AMA National Reliability Enduro Championships. He also excelled in the International Six Days Enduro, winning multiple gold medals, competing on the premier U.S. Trophy Team and twice earning top-American honors.
John Parham opened his first shop with a partner in 1975 in his hometown of Anamosa, Iowa. Four years later, he branched out with his wife Jill, starting J. Parham Enterprises. This company came to be known as J&P Cycles. By the 1990s, J&P Cycles had grown into one of the largest motorcycle accessory mail order companies in the world.
Parham stayed on board to run J&P Cycles after selling it to Motorsports Aftermarket Group in 2001. At that time, he also focused additional energy and resources on preserving motorcycling history. In 2001, Parham relocated the National Motorcycle Museum to Anamosa, where it has continued to thrive and grow into one of the world's foremost motorcycle museums.
The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame induction ceremony is open to the public and, for the second consecutive year, takes place in conjunction with the AIMExpo — the fast-growing and impactful event that brings together consumers, dealers, manufacturers and the world press in one location for global product launches, demo rides, motorcycling seminars and much more.
Tickets to the 2015 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are available now at www.motorcyclemuseum.org. Regular entry is $25 per person. VIP tickets that include an exclusive reception, reserved seating and the AIMExpo show admission are $90 per person.
For updates on the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, keep an eye on MotorcycleMuseum.org, as well as the AMA's social media channels, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/AmericanMotorcyclist and www.facebook.com/AMAHallofFame) and Twitter: @AMA_Riding.