Corona, CA: On Sunday night, August 9 at 8:30pm ET, motocross great Jeff Ward will be Dave's guest on the Dave Despain Show. 'Wardy' won seven AMA national championships and proved to be perhaps the most versatile rider in the history of the sport, winning 125cc, 250cc and 500cc national motocross titles. He won a total of 56 AMA nationals, placing him third on the all-time motocross/Supercross win list at the time he 'officially' retired from racing in 1992. He had one of the longest careers of elite motocross riders, covering fifteen seasons in the pro ranks before retiring.
Or did he? Well not quite. He simply took all his talent and successfully transitioned from two wheels to four by competing in Indy Lites, IndyCar and short-course Off-Road Racing. Then, in a stunning return to two-wheel form, he returned to win gold medals for Supermoto in the X Games and the 2004 AMA Supermoto Championship.
Ward said about his multiple racing careers, "Racing is the same, whether it's on two wheels or four. On the other hand, you can't go sliding a 1,400-pound Lola around a corner the way I did my Kawasaki."
Jeff Ward was born in Glasgow, Scotland on June 22, 1961. He moved to California when he was 4 years old. Racing motorcycles was always a part of his life as his dad was a keen Trials rider; he accompanied his dad to events all over California. As a youngster, Ward was part of the minicycle craze that swept Southern California during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He began racing at the age of five and became the best minicycle rider of his era, and some believe of all time. When he was just 10 he inadvertently had a bit part in the classic movie On Any Sunday, doing a long wheelie on his little Honda 50.
Ward joined the professional motocross ranks in 1978 riding an FMF (Flying Machine Factory) Suzuki in the 125 class. He scored five top-10 finishes and finished his rookie season ranked a very credible seventh. In 1979, he made the move to Kawasaki and would remain with them for the rest of his career. On the international level, Ward was a key member of seven victorious US Motocross des Nations teams—another record.
Jeff Ward was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.