Sturgis Motorcycle Museum - Preserving our Motorcycle Hertiage

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E.C. SMITH


Hall of Fame Inductee - Pre 2001 (1997)


Smith began his career as a referee in 1914 when the sport was represented by the Federation of American Motorcycling (FAM).  Ten years later the FAM became the American Motorcycle Association, and in 1929 Smith was chosen to manage the fledgling organization.  He served as the AMA’s secretary for 30 years.


During his frequent travels to district meetings, E.C. always took a 16 millimeter projector, luring people together with the attraction of racing films and then organizing them into clubs.  In 1928 the AMA had a membership of 4,200 and 62 chartered clubs on the roster. By 1938 Smith had built the AMA up to 17,390 members and 1,000 chartered clubs. 

During World War II he promoted motorcycling's patriotic contribution through a system of motorcycle couriers called "defense riders" who were prepared for any national emergency. 

Perhaps his greatest achievement came in the publishing game. Many AMA members were in the service. To help keep them in contact with the AMA Smith wrote and edited a quarterly newsletter called AMA News. The publication proved so valuable it was continued as a monthly after the war. 


Smith also oversaw the creation of uniform rules for motorcycle competition, and the establishment of national championship competition, the forerunner of today's Grand National Series.  Concerned about the public’s perception of motorcyclists, E.C. began a campaign in which motorcyclists helped raise funds for the March of Dimes. That effort was so successful that the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis presented an award of merit to E.C. and the AMA.


He announced his retirement from AMA during the 1958 Daytona Motorcycle Classic but remained active in the organization, some say purely by force of habit.  Smith passed away at the age of 87.

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