PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Roger DeCoster’s name is practically synonymous with the sport of motocross, and he is generally recognized as the best-known MX racer in the first 50 years of the sport. On Friday, Nov. 18, he will be honored as a Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend at the annual Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, Nev.
When DeCoster was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999, his racing accomplishments were simply remarkable: five 500cc Motocross World Championships, numerous 500cc Motocross Grand Prix victories and four Trans-AMA Motocross Championships.
He also was a member of six winning Belgium Motocross des Nations teams, was a Gold Medalist in the International Six Day Trial (Enduro) and earned numerous national championships in his native Belgium, including a national Trials title.
DeCoster continued to find success after his racing career. He was the manager of the first U.S. team to win the Motocross des Nations in 1981, and managed many U.S. teams at the prestigious event over the years to the present day. He currently is in charge of KTM’s Supercross and motocross efforts in the United States.
His stature is such in the world of motocross that he is often simply referred to as “The Man.”
“Roger DeCoster is not only a motorcycling legend in America, but around the world,” said Jeffrey V. Heininger, chairman of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, which raises money for the Hall of Fame. “It’s truly an honor for us to be able to honor him.”
DeCoster, who joins Kenny Roberts as Legends honorees at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, said he was humbled to receive the honor.
“It’s always nice to receive this honor, and yet on the other hand I still have a job to do, and I feel like I still have something to accomplish!” DeCoster said. “I am really looking forward to hanging out with Kenny Roberts and reminiscing with all of my friends.”
After decades in the sport, DeCoster said a few moments stand out.
“Looking back, it was a very good feeling to win the 250cc [Trophee des Nations] and 500cc [Motocross des Nations] nations’ titles in 1981 as the American team captain,” he said. “It was the first time for the Americans to win the biggest motocross events in the world. Also, to win it [Motocross of Nations] again last year in America was very special.”
As a team manager, he has also been part of many memorable AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross campaigns.
“It felt great to win championships with Ricky Carmichael and Chad Reed,” he said. “Perhaps the best for me has been Ryan Dungey’s title last year because he was a mid-level guy who became a top-level guy. It’s a great feeling that the team accomplished this.”
DeCoster will be honored during the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for the Class of 2011, which includes motocross promoter Stu Peters, noted magazine editor Phil Schilling, industry leader Fred Fox, roadracing champion Doug Polen and early motorcycling pioneer Norbert Schickel.
The Class of 2011 will officially be inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Nov. 18 as part of the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend. In addition to the induction ceremony, the weekend includes the 2011 Motorcycle Hall of Fame Concours d’Elegance on Saturday, Nov. 19, featuring some of the country’s most impressive original and restored classic motorcycles. The AMA Racing Championship Banquet closes out the weekend on Sunday, Nov. 20, where AMA Racing amateur champions of all ages will be recognized for their 2011 accomplishments.