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Nov 2, 2017

Tom White, AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer, R.I.P. (Updated)

Tom White, age 68, passed away after a battle with cancer. Photo courtesy of Dubya USA.

MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY ICON TOM WHITE PASSES AWAY AT 68

November 2, 2017 - Orange County, California - Tom White, famed motorcycle racer, business owner, philanthropist, and historian, has passed away after a courageous battle against cancer. He was 68.

Tom was raised near the ocean in Huntington Beach, California, where he grew up surfing before discovering his life-long passion: motorcycles. He soon found his niche in flat track racing, eventually earning national number 80 as a professional.

In 1976, White founded Tom White’s Cycle Specialties, which would later become White Brothers Cycle Specialties when White partnered with his twin brother, Dan. Over the next 25 years, White Brothers would grow into a nearly $40 million-a-year company that employed nearly 200 employees at its peak. White sold White Brothers in 2000, and turned his attention towards restoring and collecting vintage motocross bikes.

Over the next decade, White’s collection grew to over 170 motorcycles, including a variety of unique models from brands such as Husqvarna, CZ, Maico, Bultaco, BSA, and others. White believed his efforts were but one piece of a greater industry initiative to ensure the history and legacy of motorcycle racing in the United States remained intact and relevant for future generations of racers and fans.

White’s Early Years of Motocross Museum, located on his family’s private property in Orange County, California, is not open to the public, but it has played host to motorcycle industry events including product launches, professional racing media gatherings, as well as numerous charity fundraising efforts.

In addition to his role as a motorcycle historian, White discovered another passion over the past few decades: announcing motorcycle races. White became the announcer of the weekly REM motocross series at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California, one of his greatest joys. In 2017, White was honored with a monument along Glen Helen’s Walk of Fame. White also served as the announcer for many professional races throughout the United States, reveling in the thrill of all disciplines of motorcycle racing.

In 2014, White was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame. And in 2018, White is due to receive the prestigious Dick Hammer lifetime achievement award from the Southern California Trailblazers Motorcycle Club.

“While we mourn the loss of an incredible human being, we also celebrate his life, his achievements, his passion for motorcycles, and his love of friends and family,” says the White family. “We hope that Tom’s life story serves as inspiration to everyone that fierce determination and good will can yield a life extraordinarily well lived.”

Tom White passed away peacefully in his home, surrounded by his family, along several of his favorite motorcycles. He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, dear friends, and motorcycle enthusiasts around the world.

White will be honored in a memorial service to be announced at a future date.



More, from a press release issued by American Motorcyclist Association (AMA):

American Motorcyclist Association mourns passing of Tom White, motorcycling icon

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer was beloved philanthropist

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Tom White, a motorcycle racer, philanthropist and historian and the co-founder of White Brothers Cycle Specialties, succumbed to cancer today, Nov. 2, at his home.

"Tom White was one of the great people in motorcycling," said Rob Dingman, president and CEO of the American Motorcyclist Association. "In addition to his personal accomplishments on the track and in the business community, Tom was a wonderful person and a joy to be near."

In addition to founding White Brothers Cycle Specialties, Mr. White created the World Vet MX Championship and the World Four-Stroke Championship, established the Early Years of Motocross Museum and competed as AMA National No. 80 in flat-track competition from 1971 to 1976.

Mr. White was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2014.

"While we mourn the loss of an incredible human being, we also celebrate his life, his achievements, his passion for motorcycles, and his love of friends and family," the White family said in a statement. "We hope that Tom's life story serves as inspiration to everyone that fierce determination and good will can yield a life extraordinarily well lived."

White Brothers grew into a $40 million-a-year company that employed nearly 200 employees at its peak, the family said. Mr. White sold the business in 2000, turning his attention toward restoring and collecting vintage motocross bikes, culminating in the Early Years of Motocross Museum, situated on his family's property in Orange County, Calif.

Mr. White's lasting contributions also included the Edison Dye Motocross Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes the person or persons who have made the largest impact on the growth of motocross in America.

Mr. White's family said that he enjoyed announcing motorcycle races during the past several years at the weekly REM motocross series at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif. This year, Mr. White was honored with a monument along Glen Helen's Walk of Fame.

Mr. White also volunteered many years as an announcer at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, an annual fundraiser for the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation.

Mr. White is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren. His family said that he will be honored in a memorial service to be announced at a future date.

About the American Motorcyclist Association

Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world's largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders' interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com.

Not a member? Join the AMA today: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/membership/join




More, from a press release issued by American Flat Track:

 Tom White, Motorcycle Ambassador Extraordinaire, Passes Away at 68

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The motorcycling world lost a leading light and a great man when legendary racer, businessman, AMA Hall of Famer and philanthropist Tom White succumbed to cancer at his Villa Park, Calif., home on November 2, 2017. He was 68.

Most motorcyclists know something about Tom White. That he grew up in Southern California, surfing and riding motorcycles. Or that he quickly became one of the nation’s top dirt track racers, pounding around the miles, half miles, short tracks and TTs in the 1970s, his race bike carrying national number 80.

Most surely know he built and ran White Brothers, a leading aftermarket supplier and distributor, with his bother Dan for the better part of 25 years. Or that he sold the company to take care of his son Bradley, who suffered severe brain injuries due to a freak accident while riding a minibike, and needing around-the-clock care.

Many also know that Tom White amassed a serious collection of pristine, legendary dirt bikes and race bikes, some 170 in all, most housed in a custom, two-story, 5500 square-foot structure at his expansive So Cal home. But White’s collection was much, much more than a barn full of two-wheeled baubles for a well-off ex-racer – and its existence, and what he did with his collection, tells us a lot about the man himself.

“The collection, and the museum in general,” White said a few years ago, “is to honor the man primarily responsible for bringing motocross to America – Edison Dye. He certainly didn’t get enough credit.” In 1999, White discovered where Dye was living, convinced him to come to White’s Vet World Championship event at Glen Helen, and presented him with his organization’s Lifetime Achievement award.

Dye, who’d been living a lonely existence completely out of motorcycling, was stunned. Over the years the two developed a strong relationship despite Dye’s failing health. White would pick Dye up at the rest home he lived in, take him to lunch or some event, and return him later in the day. “Edison had some small strokes in those later years and he was pretty frail,” White said. “But we had fun.”

White’s museum did more than simply honor Edison Dye. Through a series of Bikes and Burgers get-togethers for industry and the general public, White began raising money for Orange County’s High Hopes Head Injury Program, an organization White credited with giving his son back to him and his family. In 2015 alone, the events sent $170,000 to High Hopes.

For sure, Tom White was a committed motorcyclist, a great racer, a superb businessman, a gracious host and a generous philanthropist. But we’ll remember him best as a wonderful and caring human being – and a great friend of our sport.

Godspeed, Tom. You will be missed.

How to Watch:

NBCSN and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of American Flat Track events. All 18 rounds, from the season-opening Harley-Davidson DAYTONA TT to the American Flat Track Finals in Southern California, will air in one-hour primetime telecasts throughout the summer and fall on NBCSN. FansChoice.tv remains a cornerstone of AFT's digital strategy and provides live streaming coverage of every event.

About American Flat Track:

American Flat Track is the world's premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on American Flat Track, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check us out on Instagram, live stream the events at FansChoice.tv and catch all the American Flat Track racing action on NBCSN.

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