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Nov 14, 2013

Mike Sullivan Inducted Into Washington State Motorcycle Hall Of Fame

Mike Sullivan. Photo by Mark Degross, courtesy of WMRRA.
WMRRA’s Mike Sullivan inducted into Washington State Motorcycle Hall of Fame

Nov 14, 2013

39 years of racing motorcycles is quite a legacy. Few can make that boast and fewer can yet claim that success was had throughout those years. Mike Sullivan can and the Washington State Motorcycle Hall of Fame just recognized Mike’s legacy by inducting him into their Hall of Fame Winner’s group during a banquet at the beautiful Emerald Downs facility along with contemporary Buck Murphy. “Sully” was introduced and spoke to a crowd of roughly 300 people about his memoirs and accomplishments as he was awarded his exquisitely designed HOF trophy. His career covering both Flat Track and Road Racing years was chronicled with numerous easels displaying articles and photos from his illustrative years as a famous Northwest Racer.

Born September 14, 1956 in Butte Montana, he grew up with a father who raced AMA Junior flat track and owned a motorcycle shop called “Sully’s” which had Harley Davidson, BSA, Suzuki, AJS, BMW, Hodaka and Triumph. As his Dad was winding his racing down, Mike entered his first races at the age of 10, and then transitioned into full time flat track racing at 14 on a Hodaka. Success didn’t come quickly though. It took him 6 years worth of grit and determination to earn the fruits of his hard work where in 1976 he took 3rd at a regional AMA Flat Track race in Boise, ID followed a few weeks later in which he finished 2nd at the Regional Championships in Colorado on a ½ mile track.

After more than a decade of further success in Flat Track Racing, Mike made the switch to Road Racing in the mid 80’s, starting out on 250 GP bikes. He soon found himself battling with Rich Oliver and others at AMA National events where he podium twice in the 250GP AMA class and for 8 years was a Nationally ranked 250 rider. The move to 4 strokes came and Sully’s stats began to stack up even higher. He set pole at Portland in a Formula USA race in 1998 and then was the Formula USA Champion in 1999. Over the coming years Mike won the WMRRA Championship a record 5x’s, the OMRRA Overall Title 2x’s, finished 4th in the AMA 250GP championship in 1990 and 1995, and 2nd in the 1991 New Zealand 250GP National Championship. The list of names he’s raced against also sounds like Hall of Fame list: Jay Springsteen, Ricky Graham, Kenny Roberts Sr and Jr, Kevin Schwantz, Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey, Bubba Shobert, Colin Edwards, Mat Mladin, Ben Spies, Josh Hayes, Steve Eklund, Chuck Joyner, Randy Scott, Rich Oliver, Randy Renfrow, Donny Green, Dale Franklin, Doug Polen and Doug Chandler round out the star studded list.

Sully has been a fixture in the Northwest road racing scene for over 20 years and WMRRA was proud to be present to share in the acknowledgement of his accomplishments. Through his school, Sullivan Race School(www.sullivanraceschool.com), Mike has at one point or another taught or mentored the majority of racers in the paddocks of WMRRA and OMRRA. His affable personality has made him very popular in the Northwest with racers and street riders alike. Mike’s trademarks were professionalism and dedication during his career. A serious scrapper too, he fought his way to podiums from his developed riding skills and ability to be strong on the brakes, not because he had the best bike. He has a deep passion for motorcycle racing that exudes from his character. Speaking to the crowd during his acceptance, Mike shared “I’m grateful for all of my competitors I raced against and all of the wonderful people I’ve met through my career. From sponsors to engine builders to mechanics and to friends, I thank you so much for all of the help you gave to help me accomplish all of this!” When his talk was completed, Sully sheepishly basked in the standing ovation he received. All of those present, know what a fantastic racer and great person Mike Sullivan is and were honored to be there to witness his induction. The perfect way to describe Mike is paraphrased from an article on the Washington State Motorcycle Hall of Fame’s website. ‘Pull out a dictionary, looking up “Motorcycle Racer”, one shouldn’t be surprised to see a picture of Mike Sullivan’s smiling face on the page.’ Not a better statement could be made about Mike! Congratulations Mike on a fantastic racing career and your induction in to the State’s Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

The Washington Motorcycle Road Racing Association has been promoting and hosting road races in Washington State since 1974. Their website can be found at www.wmrra.com

The Washington State Motorcycle Hall of Fame was founded in 2010 and information abouth the organization is on their website at www.wsmchof.com