PICKERINGTON, Ohio — In 1978, a nervous rookie off-roader lined up in the rural Swedish countryside at the biggest off-road race in the world, the International Six Days Trial (ISDT). Six days later, Jeff Fredette was credited with a gold medal finish, and launched what would become one of the most enduring international motorcycle racing careers of all time.
In recognition of Fredette’s stellar off-road racing career, his record-setting number of ISDT and International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) finishes and his support of the Kawasaki brand, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA are pleased to announce that Fredette will be honored as Grand Marshal at the annual AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 22-24, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Fredette’s selection highlights Kawasaki’s status as the Marque of the Year for 2011 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.
“Jeff Fredette represents determination, excellence, sportsmanship and professionalism,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “Not only does he bring a career-long association with our 2011 Marque of the Year, Kawasaki, but he stands as an excellent role model for the AMA’s aspiring cadre of amateur racers of all ages. We’re honored that he will be on hand to greet fans and support AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, which raises funds for the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.”
Added Chris Brull, Kawasaki’s marketing communications director: “Jeff Fredette and Kawasaki have ridden together for nearly three decades. The relationship has been long and rewarding. When it comes to celebrating the history of Kawasaki and the people who have helped elevate the brand in America, we can think of no better representative than ‘Mr. ISDE’ himself.” Not only is Fredette a multi-time gold medal winner at the ISDT/ISDE, but he has won hundreds of AMA Racing off-road events, including several on the national level.
Fredette, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002, remains an active competitor. He further burnished his reputation last year when he not only competed in his 30th ISDE, where he won another gold medal, but he also won two AMA Racing National Championships: the Senior 40+ A class title in the AMA Racing Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series, and the 86cc-200cc Modern class No. 1 plate at the AMA Racing Vintage Grand Championships. Fredette also has won the 2004 Senior 40+ and 1989 126-200 A class national enduro titles and 15 Ice Race National Championships, from 1984-2007. He was named AMA Racing Sportsman of the Year in 1993 and AMA Racing Vet/Senior Rider of the Year in 2010.
“I’m excited about this opportunity and to really experience all the things going on at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days,” Fredette said. “Last year was my first year at the event, and my schedule only allowed me to see the hare scrambles. I’m looking forward to the swap meet, the flat track, the bike shows and taking in the vintage scene. Plus, I’m not going to miss out on the racing. I want to compete in the trials, the hare scrambles, the motocross and the flat track. It should be a great time all around.”
Of course, Fredette will compete on Kawasakis, which he has raced since 1983.
“It was the year after Suzuki pulled out of off-road, and I didn’t have a ride,” Fredette remembered. “Kawasaki came along with some bikes and support, and things just started to click. Kawasakis have always been great bikes, and I’m pretty loyal, so from then on, as long as everything worked, I had no reason to change.”
Fredette’s role as Grand Marshal will be one of many Kawasaki-themed activities this year at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. Known as a leader in the performance category for the past 45 years, Kawasaki will host a number of interactive opportunities for attendees. Fans will be able to immerse themselves in the brand’s history — and its future, as licensed riders will be able to demo the latest Kawasaki motorcycles.
Hosting a Kawasaki display at the Mid-Ohio venue for the event, the company will exhibit many of its groundbreaking models, including the famed 500cc Mach III triple and the 900cc Z1, recognized as one of the industry’s first true superbikes. In addition, attendees will have a chance to win both a modern Z1000 muscle bike and a classic Z1 in the Hall of Fame raffle.
Kawasaki riders attending the event will enjoy special perks, including a Kawasaki-only parking area and the chance to participate in a special lap of the Mid-Ohio track.
Held at the world-class Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days features vintage and post-vintage competition in motocross, trials, hare scrambles, roadracing and dirt track. In addition to demo rides of current production bikes, the event includes North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet, educational seminars, bike shows, motorcycling seminars, the new product Manufacturers’ Midway, and club corrals featuring marque and regional clubs.
Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which is located on the campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio. The mission of the Hall of Fame is to “celebrate, elucidate and preserve the rich tradition of motorcycling in America.” Its exhibits honor the distinguished men and women whose competitive spirit, passion, vision and entrepreneurship have played a vital role in shaping the sport, lifestyle and business of motorcycling. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame’s website at MotorcycleMuseum.org.
Tickets for AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days can be purchased online at MidOhio.com. For more information about the event, visit AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.com.