Hall of Fame Inductee – 2015
Don Tilley was born in Statesville, North Carolina in 1936. At the tender age of 23, he went to Milwaukee to attend Harley-Davidson tech school and then returned home to work at Reeves and Davis Harley-Davidson in his hometown. His real passion, though was always racing. During the early 1960s, Don raced stock cars and motorcycles. He ran several Grand National races during the 60s, including two at Daytona. He even spent some time working for “The King” Richard Petty. In 1972, Don got the opportunity to reopen a Harley-Davidson dealership in Statesville. He and his wife Robinette worked side-by-side to make it a highly successful business.
While he was building his business, he and both of his daughters, Donna and Denise, started racing Motocross and two years later added flat track to their reperitoire. After Don broke both of his legs racing flat track, he picked up Gene Church to race his XR750. That same year, Donna went on to win the championship in her class.
Throughout all of the racing ups and downs, Don Tilley always continued to take care of business at the dealership. In 2003, he and Robinette expanded their business by building a large facility near I-77 and I-40 in Statesville. In addition, what started as a small store in Salisbury, North Carolina has now become a full-fledged dealership along Interstate 85.
Now, a third generation has caught the racing bug. Two of Don’s grandsons are now successful racecar drivers, and until his death in 2014, Don was right there helping them along the way. Sadly, Don was killed in a single-motorcycle accident in 2014 that also severely injured Robinette.