Featured Rider: Dick Mann

1963 & 1971 Grand National Champion
Looking back at racing in the 1950’s through the early 1970’s, Dick Mann is often  thought of as the hardest working man in GNC racing. He did it all; was a world class racer, tuner, frame builder and went head-to-head with the AMA in political matters like increased safety, motorcycle homologation and purse money for the racers.
Mann was tough and versatile on the track, loved scrambles and excelled on rough tracks that slowed most riders down, even raced motocross! He was also one of the smoothest and fastest road racers through the 1960’s & ‘70’s.
At heart Dick Mann was an independent soul and though he had factory support for most of his career, he won the 1963 title aboard both BSA’s and Matchless machines, he was not a “true” factory rider for either brand. Though still winning Nationals into the late 1960’s, BSA considered him over the hill and began recruiting younger riders. Mann found a ride with Honda for the 1970 Daytona 200 and riding a kitted CB750 won his first race there after years of trying. He re-signed with BSA for 1971 and his career was reborn. In 1971, he won his second Daytona 200 and went on to win the GNC title again.
Mann’s win at the Homewood Mile in Illinois made him the first rider, one out of four ever to complete a GNC Grand Slam. He had won in every discipline on the GNC trail; short track, mile, half-mile, TT and road race. He won a record eight TT Nationals. His first (1959) and last (1972) wins were at Peoria, notching a total of 24 GNC wins.
Still competitive in 1974, Mann decided to hang it up. He continued to ride motocross and enduro events and began building a successful line of frames. Contracted to help design a short track racer, the OSSA DMR (Dick Mann Replica) is based on his chassis design. Mann has been heavily involved in vintage racing of all motorcycle sports right up to today and was instrumental in the early and continuing success of AHRMA, the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association.

10 replies
  1. Alan J. Williams
    Alan J. Williams says:

    Visited your museum in 2011 and am a Life member. Your staff was very friendly and the museum was outstanding. I rate it as a must see and the American Inn up the road as the place to stay.

  2. phillip r brown
    phillip r brown says:

    thanks for having DICK MANN as feature rider this month.He has been my favorite motorcycle racer since 1964 when I saw a story about him in august issue of CYCLE WORLD mag,(the first m/c magazine I bought) I met him at BARBERS BIKE Swap MEET in 2007,shook his hand ,got his autograph,and had my photo made with him.BUGSY MANN is a true gentleman,a talented motorcycle mechican,a great all a round person.we are lucky to have him in our sport.

  3. Olde Scott Sinclair
    Olde Scott Sinclair says:

    Is there a way to contact Dick through either email or a website to ask him a question that relates to his old ranchero that he use to haul his bikes in. I think it was used with Bud Ekins in the chase scene in Bullit. Unless Ekins also had a ranchero…
    Olde Scott
    Desert Legends Racing/EOMB

  4. Ric.Chiorboli
    Ric.Chiorboli says:

    HI Sir Dick Mann,
    I first learnt about you in the late 70s watching the movie ON ANY SUNDAY
    you are a legend. I raced flat track here in SOUTH AFRICA in the late 80s till mid 90s
    and placed 5th in the country.
    Just to say hi would be a great honour.
    Kind regards
    South Africa

  5. Ralph Adams
    Ralph Adams says:

    Just saw the “new” On Any Sunday and was disgusted that there was no mention or plaudits for Dick Mann. Such oversight! Must be a story there. Nice movie but none of the impact of the original classic, can’t compare.

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  7. John Gull
    John Gull says:

    I own a 1957 A10 BSA that you restored for Jim Mills. Bought it in 2004 from his wife as he was unable to ride due to poor health. Have really enjoyed
    this bike for all these years but have only put 2100 miles on it. Now that I am 81 don’t feel comfortable riding anymore. Am going to sell and was
    wondering if you would mind if I say that you restored this bike. Have had no spills. Thanks. John Gull

  8. Julie Weaver Coomer
    Julie Weaver Coomer says:

    Hello to Dick Mann,
    I hope you remember my parents, Jim & Lou Jean Weaver, from Clinton , Illinois. Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around going to motorcycle races and riding with my dad. I remember a time in Peoria, Illinois, at a party after a race when my dad egged me on to ask you for a kiss! I was just a little girl but I was star struck! I remember another time when you & your son were at our home in Clinton. I had a very big crush on that young man (Mann?)
    My mom and dad have passed on, but every once in a while, I reminisce about my childhood and those “motorcycle days.” I think about people like Pink Peterson, Joe Peterson, Gordon Dusenberry, Neil Keen, Gary Nixon, Gene Romero….all motorcycle people who inhabited my young life…when I cleaned out my parents home, “Motorcycle Ace” was one of the books on the favored shelf.
    Peace be to you,
    Julie Weaver Coomer

  9. George Gerstenberg
    George Gerstenberg says:

    I’m am blessed to able to call Richard (godspeed) and his wife Kay friends. I have many Richard moments I’m very proud of.
    The one I’m love the most is… I got into vintage MX when Richard dropped by Richmond Yamaha in Richmond Ca. around 1987. He asked if he could put up a poster in the window of a race he was promoting. I was busy at the moment, and later on a went to see what he put up. Lo-in-behold it was about a vintage motocross race at a nearby track! I thought, I gotta see this! I was blown away!! How many riders there were and the brands of bikes I actually forgot about. Fast forward 13 years and vintage MX was in my veins! Racing in Oregon at Crocked River Ranch in early 2000’s, I’m ready to go in the 1st practice on my Cheney Victor. Richard rides up next to me on his B40 and we give each other a polite and gentilam head nod. The rope is lowered to enter the track, and the gentleman I am, I let Richard go ahead of me, I follow close behind. We go down the far end of the track at a moderate sighting lap speed and a tight right hand hairpin turn, and I realize there is no one else on the track except the two of us! At that very moment when I look up Richard is showing me the hot lines around the track. He is actually pointing them out to me! He has me follow him around a couple of laps at a faster pace. He then waves me by and he follows me. I realize now there are people gathering around the fence and watching Richard and myself have a moment! OMG… I will never forget the impact he had on me as a reacer! A few months later at another event, Richard approached me and asked if the company I work for, Cycle Gear would be interested in sponsoring the AHRMA North West VMX series… we did, and have for the last 16yrs… Goodspeed my friend and thank you for the great lesson…


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