Dick Mann, long considered one of the best all-around motorcycle riders in the world, passed away yesterday. A two-time AMA Grand National Champion (1963 and ’71) Mann was the first person to win all five disciplines: road racing, short track, TT, quarter-mile and mile flat track. He also scored AMA Pro Motocross points in 1972 when he finished 14th at the Cal-Expo 250 National outside Sacramento aboard a BSA motorcycle. Mann also participated in the International Six Day Trails (now known as the International Six Days Enduro or ISDE for short) in 1975, earning a bronze medal on the Isle of Man, which is off the coast of England.
According to Dean Adams of Superbikeplanet.com, “Dick Mann was a legendary racer in his own right with full membership in the Grand Slam Club, his infamously wonderful 1970 Daytona 200 win and other two-wheeled feats. However perhaps just as important to his personal record was his mentor-ship and tutelage of an entire generation of American racers from Gary Nixon to Mert Lawwill to Kenny Roberts to Dave Aldana to Gene Romero.”
Riding a CB 750 “Four” Honda, Mann won the 1970 Daytona 200 over British legend Mike “the Bike” Hailwood, a nine-time FIM World Champion, as well as Gary Nixon, Gene Romero, Mert Lawwill, Cal Rayborn, and Yvon DuHamel. It was Honda’s first outing in AMA Grand National Championship racing.
One year later Mann returned to the Daytona 200 and won again, only this time he was back riding a BSA.
Mann, who was nicknamed “Bugsy,” can also lay claim to winning the 250 class in the first-ever AMA-sanctioned pro motocross event, the Ohio-X race in Hartford, northeast of Columbus. He was riding an Ossa motorcycle.
Mann rode his last professional races in the mid-seventies, and then raced vintage for many more years. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993, and would later be a charter member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which inducted him in 1998.
Dick Mann was 86 years old. Godspeed.