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David Emde to be inducted into AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

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AMA 250cc Roadrace Champion David Emde will be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2010.

Emde, whose speed and skill saw him beat out Gary Nixon, Randy Mamola and others to win the 1977 title, will be among the legends of motorcycling honored at the 2010 induction ceremony at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas this Nov. 19.

"Few racers have exhibited the versatility and consistency that David Emde brought to the track every time he competed -- particularly in what many consider a true golden era of motorcycle dirt-track and roadracing competition," said Jack Penton, AMA director of operations and a Hall of Famer himself. "His story is one that all motorcyclists can appreciate, and we're looking forward to telling it in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame."

Don Rosene, chairman of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Selection Committee, said that he was impressed when he first met Emde at a BMW dealer meeting at Laguna Seca in 1987.

"When you see the name 'Emde,' you first think of Don and his father Floyd as being the only father-son duo with Daytona 200 victories, but there are more Emdes, and all of them are life-long motorcyclists,' Rosene said. "In addition to his national title, younger brother David had an impressive number of roadracing wins throughout the mid-70s, including a couple of AMA amateur finals at Daytona."

Following in the footsteps of his father, Floyd, and brother, Don, both Daytona 200 winners and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers, David's versatility became obvious when he began racing in the early 1970s. After starting in dirt-track, he switched to roadracing in 1975, competing alongside some of the fastest roadracers ever: Kenny Roberts, Steve Baker, Gary Nixon and others.

Emde's breakthrough came at the famed Laguna Seca Raceway, when he beat Roberts in a heat race, then finished second to him in the main. His 1977 championship was marked by nine wins in a hard-fought competition. He also raced Superbikes and proved himself adept at endurance racing, setting in 1978 what was then the fastest qualifying time for the famed Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race in Japan.

Emde also was well known for his racing success aboard BMWs in the early years of the AMA Battle Of The Twins class. Emde worked in the motorcycle retail industry after his race career. He did motorcycle camera work for films, was an instructor at the DP High Performance Motorcycle Riding Schools and continued to work with BMW as a roving ambassador on several initiatives. He died in a street motorcycle crash in 2003.

His brother, Don, remembers David's enthusiasm, skill and success.

"This is just incredible to have him inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame," Don said. "My dad would be particularly proud -- mom and dad, both, since we were such a motorcycling family."

Don remembers, particularly, David's race aboard a BMW twin at Loudon, N.H., National in June 1981, where David's skill allowed him to clearly outpace bikes far more powerful than his own.

It was raining, and David had planned to race the BMW in the Battle of the Twins class. But his riding style and the more mellow power output of the twin resulted in practice times competitive with the Superbike class. So his team entered him in that race as well.

"It was a post entry, so he had to start from the back of the grid, and he just worked his way to the front," Don Emde remembered. "At one point, he was able to work his way around Freddie Spencer to take third, before Freddie took it back."

David wound up finishing fourth in the Superbike class, aboard a bike that should have been far outclassed, earning him even more fans for the hard-fought performance. David also easily won the Battle of the Twins race aboard the same bike earlier in the day.

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