The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the fifth member of the induction class of 2012. The late Al Wilcox, a former motorcycle racer who went on to be a race starter for decades, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the 2012 AMA Legends Weekend at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 16-17.
“Al Wilcox was a fixture at motorcycle races as a starter for more than five decades and a true ambassador for the sport,” said Jeffrey V. Heininger, chairman of board of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, which oversees the Hall of Fame. “He was well respected, well liked and dedicated his life to racing. He is certainly missed.”
Born in Trenton, N.J., in 1919, Wilcox began riding motorcycles in 1936 and, following military service during World War II, began racing in 1947. His race career spanned 19 years — from 1947 to 1966 — and he held national No. 49. In addition to being a successful speedway racer for four years, Wilcox also finished well in TT, dirt-track and hare scrambles races over the course of his long career.
Wilcox began flagging races in 1959, increasing his duties after ending his racing career in 1966. He went on to flag the famed Daytona 200 motorcycle race for many years with AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame flagger Duke Pennell, and also performed flagging duties for WERA roadraces for decades.
Wilcox became known as “Airborne Al” because of his unique flagging style that involved jumping up in the air at the end of a race during his 50-plus years of flagging.
Wilcox also was a race promoter from 1965 through 1974. He died Feb. 3, 2011, at age 92.
“I think it’s great! I really do,” said Joyce Markulec, Wicox’ daughter. “I just wish my dad was alive to see it. He would be on cloud 49. It was his true love, besides my mother. He had 70 years of involvement with motorcycles, riding, racing and flagging. My father was a true legend, not only with the motorcycling community but with his family as well. Rest in peace, dad.”
Wilcox is the fifth member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame class of 2012. He joins the late Rod Bush, KTM North America president and industry visionary; pioneering female motocrosser Sue Fish; 1975 AMA Supercross Champion Jimmy Ellis; and world-class bike restorer Brian Slark. The rest of the 2012 class will be announced shortly.
The class of 2012 will officially be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Nov. 16 as part of the AMA Legends Weekend. The weekend also includes the 2012 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Dave Mungenast Memorial Concours d’Elegance on Saturday, Nov. 17, featuring many of the country’s most impressive original and restored classic motorcycles.
In addition to the current class, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame induction ceremony shines the spotlight on two previously inducted members of the Hall of Fame, reminding the motorcycling community of the amazing careers of these Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends. For 2012, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends will be 1998 inductees Malcolm Smith, a pioneer in off-road motorcycling and a star in the motorcycle documentary “On Any Sunday,” and Mert Lawwill, the 1969 AMA Grand National Champion whose title defense was the central theme of the timeless film.
Image courtesy merican Motorcyclist Association