MOTOGP HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE AT MIKE PERO MOTOFEST
American road-racing legend Randy Mamola, the star attraction of the Mike Pero MotoFest at Hampton Downs on March 3-4, will be inducted to the Hall of Fame soon after this New Zealand motorcycling extravaganza.
Mamola’s name was among an illustrious list of greats recently confirmed to be inducted into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame in early April. Kiwi fans will have the first opportunity to congratulate him in person at the Mike Pero MotoFest, where Mamola will also be reunited with his Suzuki RG500, which he will ride on both days of the event.
The Mike Pero MotoFest weekend at Hampton Downs will be significant for motorcycle fans in so many ways because the festival event will also host the third round of four in this season’s New Zealand Superbike Championships, the high-profile nationals sharing the billing with a slew of other bike codes and activities, turning the venue into a virtual centre of excellence for all things to do with motorcycling.
International superstars such as Mamola, Englishman Steve Parrish, Australian Robbie Phillis and New Zealanders Aaron Slight, Graeme Crosby, Hugh Anderson and Andrew Stroud, among others, will be there in attendance over that extravaganza of a weekend and now of particular note is the fresh news this week that Mamola’s visit to New Zealand will be just prior to his being inducted into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame at the MotoGP of the Americas, at Austin, Texas, on April 22.
He finished on the Grand Prix podium many times during his illustrious racing career and he is also a multi-time GP winner.
Now aged 58, Mamola began his career on the world stage in 1979, bursting onto the scene with podiums in both the 250cc and 500cc motorcycling world championships. In 1980, as a fresh-faced 20-year-old, he finished runner-up in the title fight, behind fellow American Kenny Roberts.
Mamola finished world championship runner-up again the following year, this time behind Italian Marco Lucchinelli.
In 1983, Mamola settled for third overall as fellow Americans Freddie Spencer and Kenny Roberts battled it out for the top spot.
Mamola finished runner-up again in 1984, this time behind Eddie Lawson, and savoured several more race wins before again finishing runner-up for a fourth time in 1987, behind Australian Wayne Gardner.
Mamola finally retired from GP racing at the end of 1992 – his career included 151 GP starts and his successes totalled 13 wins and 57 podiums. His first win was the 1980 500cc Belgian GP and his last win was the 1987 500cc San Marino GP.
With the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame presentation, Mamola will join a long list of greats that have been made MotoGP Legends, a roll call that includes Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, Daijiro Kato, Eddie Lawson, Anton Mang, Angel Nieto, Wayne Rainey, Phil Read, Jim Redman, Kenny Roberts, Jarno Saarinen, Kevin Schwantz, Barry Sheene, Marco Simoncelli, Freddie Spencer, Casey Stoner, John Surtees, Carlo Ubbiali, Alex Crivillé, Franco Uncini, Marco Lucchinelli and Nicky Hayden.
Meanwhile, fans in New Zealand will have the opportunity to meet and stand beside Mamola as they together enjoy all the action at the Mike Pero MotoFest on March 3-4.
The Hampton Downs event will feature the Franklin Farm freestyle motocross team, there to thrill the crowd with aerial action on the main Skid Pan, while the Kawasaki Public Trail Ride, which will be run on adjacent farmland, will give families and enthusiasts the chance to go for a ride and then enjoy all other aspects of the events – including the Motul Stadium Moto Trial event, the Star Insurance Bike Show and the Alpinestars Legends Dinner, which is being staged on the Saturday night of the event.
DHL Express NZ Ltd presents round three of the New Zealand Superbike Championships over those two days and that will surely give the race purists something to salivate over.
For information on tickets for the MotoFest weekend, hospitality packages, the legends dinner and camp sites, go to hamptondowns.com
Words by Andy McGechan