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Nobby Clark, the most famous roadracing tuner in history, takes his place in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame

Posted by Vicki Smith on November 18th, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Tuned for Hailwood, Agostini, Roberts, Sheene, Phil Read, Lucchinelli, Taveri, Saarinen and others…

It was hard to understand all the fuss. Earlier this year, when the AMA Hall of Fame’s secret balloting process went askew and Derek “Nobby” Clark was invited to join the Hall of Fame, and then surprisingly uninvited because of a voting miscue, what seemed clear in all the smoke and rubble was that 1) mistakes were made as sometimes humans do, and 2)Nobby Clark was about as solid a candidate for this honor as there ever could be.  With a storybook list of riders he had tuned for, and a string of victory’s, championships and accomplishments along the way unmatched by any other mechanic of his time, this was a man who deserved recognition.

Consider this partial list of Hall of Fame riders he tuned for: Mike Hailwood, Kenny Roberts, Giacomo Agostini and Kel Carruthers, at a time when tuners were the magicians who made it ALL work. (unlike today when engineers, electronics, and countless others do the same job) Nobby played a fundamental role in a list of wins that simply sounds impossible:

17 FIM World titles earned in classes from 50cc to 500cc. 3 Daytona 200’s. 1 Daytona 100. Eight Italian championships. And 4 Imola 200’s.

In addition to his gift with a “spanner” Nobby speaks numerous languages (it’s hard to pin him down on how many but it’s more than seven and he’s fluent in the ones that really count at the track – Japanese, Italian, and English, which he considers a big reason he did so well – he could talk to everybody.

Nobby Clark and Brian Slark, at the HOF 2012 Induction

Later, Nobby Clark, along with another 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, Brian Slark, was instrumental in a number of projects that made up the reason people so often refer to motorcycles as “Art”, the Museum of Modern Art’s traveling exhibit “Art of the Motorcycle”.

Presented his Hall of Fame gold ring by Kenny Roberts who attended specifically to honor the man he shared so much of his success with, after a standing ovation from the crowd, Nobby joked that “not just anybody could be invited to join the Hall of Fame twice in one year”, and added “I would like to thank everybody who supported me for the Hall of Fame,”  “It’s a pleasure to be honored in this way. I’ve very humbled to be here tonight. I’ve been privileged to have motorcycles in my life.”Ducati.net would like to congratulate Derek “Nobby” Clark, as well as our good friend Brian Slark for their lifetime achievements and recognition by the AMA Hall of Fame

For more photos from the weekend, click HERE





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