Former Racer Shawn McDonald, R.I.P.

Former Racer Shawn McDonald, R.I.P.

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Bruce Lind:

Shawn McDonald passed away on Saturday, September 2, 2023.  After two weeks in ICU fighting a kidney infection, he improved and was transferred to a recovery care facility in Snohomish, WA.  However, Shawn had always been adamant that he would not languish in a “nursing home,” and true to his stubborn Irish blood, he died the next day.

Shawn was a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast.  During the 1970’s he raced motocross, and rode trails, locally in the Pacific Northwest.  In the ’80s he changed to road racing with the Washington Motorcycle Roadracing Association (“WMRRA”)  at what was then called Seattle International Raceway (now Pacific Raceway).   He also served on the Executive Board of WMRRA, released the race reports for several years, and continued to ride single-track trails.

That all changed at a race in New Zealand.

Shawn became a high-functioning quadriplegic after a road-racing crash on the South Island of New Zealand, while participating in the International Series as part of “Team America” in January of 1991.

Upon his return to the USA Shawn adapted to life in a wheelchair – but on his own terms.  He continued to race, competing on a modified Honda Odyssey and later a SuperKart.  He next founded and published a race magazine, “Bench Racer.” He wrote and distributed it for several years.

Through that experience he realized how little recognition Washington racers received.

Determined to remedy that, he took on the formation and administration of a 501c4 organization, the “Washington State Motorcycle Racing Hall of Fame” ( ).  The first Award Banquet in 2010 had over 100 attendees. He continued to organize the event for several years, recognizing the best Washington motorcycle racers of the past and present, on dirt and pavement.

When he could no longer do it all himself, a new Board of Directors carried on to showcase Washington state’s talent.

Shawn lived 34 years as an able-bodied racer, and 33 years as a wheelchair pilot.  His 67 years are a testament to his Scotch/Irish stubbornness.

Shawn is survived by his mother, two brothers, a  niece and two nephews, and good friends in both hemispheres.


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