Digital Edition Subscribers: Read Roadracing World Magazine Now >
Roadracing - An Online Service of Roadracing World Magazine
Apr 23, 2017

John Ulrich Presented With AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award At COTA

AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman (left) and Roadracing World Founder, Vice President and Editor John Ulrich (right). Photo by David Swarts, copyright Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

John Ulrich, a racer, a race team owner and the Founder, Vice President and Editor of Roadracing World & Motorcycle Technology, was presented with the AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award by AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman in a ceremony held in the MotoAmerica paddock Friday, April 21 at Circuit of The Americas.

"First of all, I want to thank MotoAmerica for hosting us and allowing us to make this special presentation here," Dingman said to the large gathering of people. "I have the honor today of presenting the Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s the highest honor that you can receive from the AMA, bestowed by the Board of Directors each year, voted on by the Board, and they select someone who has achieved a level of service to the AMA beyond anyone else.

"This year’s recipient is John Ulrich, and we felt it was only fitting to present it here at the first round of MotoAmerica.

"All of you know John, know his reputation. John was labeled by the AMA, not too long ago, as a troublemaker. John decided that he was fed up with things that were going on at the AMA. He decided that he was going to run a campaign for the Board. He had a slate of two other candidates who ran with him, Kevin Schwantz and Jeff Nash. All three of them were elected to the Board of Directors on a campaign of 'Take Back the AMA.'

"John was so successful that the AMA changed the rules so that he couldn’t run for re-election. They made him join as a business member. They changed the rules to say if you were eligible to be a business member you had to run as a business member. So what did John do? John joined as a business member, ran as a business member and was elected to the Board again. He served 13 years on the Board.

"I had the pleasure of having John on the Board when I came on board. Things that we need to do to improve the AMA, to change the AMA could not have been done without John Ulrich’s help. John was also a fierce defender of riders’ rights, of the AMA as it was supposed to be, and he was incredibly supportive of me. So I take great pleasure in not only as the President of the AMA presenting the AMA’s highest award to John Ulrich but personally it gives me great pleasure to give something back to John because he’s been so good to me and he’s been so good to the sport that everybody loves.

"John has forgotten more about road racing than most of us will ever know. John is always my go-to-guy when I have a question about anything, and not just about road racing. John was incredibly helpful on the Board.

"I‘m going to shut up and let John talk. John, congratulations!"

"You know, in a lot of ways this is the best of times for our sport," said Ulrich. "Because right now we have an AMA-sanctioned National series that is run by guys who know what they’re doing, that care about the participants both at the team owner level and the riders, and buy into the concept that killing off or maiming your stars is bad business at best.

"It was only about 20 years ago that the guy running AMA Pro Racing at the time said to me when I talked to him about a safety issue at the track, ‘If you don’t like the safety conditions at that track, don’t bring your team, stay home!’ That wasn't that long ago.

"In the meantime, obviously the entire landscape of the series has dramatically changed. And we’ve got the best attention ever paid by the series to rider safety, and the Roadracing World Action Fund (which I founded) has the best partners in deploying Airfence and improving safety conditions at tracks nationwide that we’ve ever had. It’s never been better.

"In the past when we tried to talk about safety issues, like I said, the answer was please don’t come, or stay home. When we asked to have Airfence deployed in front of something, someone who didn’t race motorcycles would tell us why that wasn’t important, and the next day someone would go plowing into a tire wall. That’s the way it was.

"It’s not that way anymore.

"And the officiating is fair, and the atmosphere is friendly instead of oppressive. There are a lot of things that have happened in our sport to take it where it is right now, and it’s the best it’s ever been in many ways. And AMA has been a positive influence in that, unlike the way it was back in the old days.

"The thing that I’m most proud of is that AMA has improved its game and come to a level where it should be and our sport is where it is at caring about the riders, caring about rider safety, caring about doing the right thing, and caring about having fair competition and officiating. That’s really important to me.

"And what I want to say to everybody here is, thank you. I’ve made a lot of friends in racing. I’ve been doing this since 1973, and I’m really glad to still be doing it. Thank you very much."

Top 5 This Week