Hall of Fame Inductee 2007
Bob Illingworth began his love affair with motorcycling in the late 50's. While he achieved some recognition as a racer and motorcycle shop owner, his charismatic presence and passion for justice would take him down a path that he had never predicted.
In 1970 when the federal government originally blackmailed states into adopting helmet laws, Bob hit the ground running. He was instrumental in forming the Minnesota Motorcycle Riders Association (MMRA), an organization that he would successfully guide for over 30 years.
Bob's gift was communication, enabling him to defeat literally every piece of anti-motorcycle legislation introduced during his tenure with the MMRA. His tireless efforts behind the scenes and with the riders in his state kept him alert to harmful legislation that was being considered and often times he was able to educate legislators early enough, stopping the process before bills were ever written.
Additionally, Bob established the Governor’s Motorcycle Advisory Board, (later named the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Committee); was responsible for developing a motorcycle safety program and finding its funding source; and acted as an advisor to several Minnesota governors on motorcycling issues.
While Bob was keeping Minnesota free, he was also working on a national level, advising motorcyclist rights organizations across the country on how to work effectively in their state legislatures. Bob's natural leadership abilities and lobbying skills helped grass roots organizations successfully navigate through the treacherous halls of capitols all over the United States.
His passion and tireless efforts have forever changed motorcycling. We are blessed to have had him fighting on our side.
Bob was honored in 2007 with the first Founders Award issued by the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame in recognition of his efforts in bringing the museum to life.
Bob died after a long battle with cancer in March of 2009.