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American Champions Gathering


LONG BEACH, California - An historic gathering of America's past World Champions in the sport of Speedway motorcycle racing will take place here on Sunday, January 29, aboard the historic RMS Queen Mary ocean liner.

The Inaugural Team USA Speedway Testimonial will feature a lavish brunch and Honoree Ceremony recognizing the six American Speedway greats who have won Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) individual world championships, followed by a memorabilia auction to benefit Team USA Speedway's 2006 efforts in FIM World Championships. Since the FIM World Speedway Championship was created in 1936, five American riders - the late Jack Milne ('37), Bruce Penhall (1981-82), Sam Ermolenko ('93), Billy Hamill ('96) and Greg Hancock ('97) -- have captured the sport's top prize - and in 1983 Shawn Moran became America's only FIM Long Track Champion.

All of the Speedway champions will attend the event, and the machine on which Jack Milne became America's first-ever world motorcycling champion will be displayed in memory of the pioneer of American motorcycle sport who passed away in 1995 at age 88.

This is thought to be the first time that all of the surviving American Speedway World Champions will make a joint appearance, and the occasion will be marked by production of a limited-edition group portrait. The champions will pose for the photo with Milne's 1937 championship machine and will autograph 125 numbered prints that will be offered for sale to Speedway enthusiasts and memorabilia collectors. No other prints of the photo will be authorized and all digital images from the photo shoot will be destroyed after the exclusive, one-time run of 125 prints has been produced.

Jack Milne's historic machine is being provided by Gary and Sandy Hicks of Riverside, California. Mrs. Hicks is Milne's niece and the daughter of the late Cordy Milne, who was also a Speedway racing star and whose racing achievements included four US National Championships.

Noted motorsports announcers Terry "Ike" Clanton and Bruce Flanders, both fixtures on the Speedway racing scene, will donate their services for the 2006 Team USA Speedway Testimonial. Flanders will be Master of Ceremonies for the Honoree Ceremony and Clanton will be the lead auctioneer.

"We're confident that the Speedway racing community will want to be on hand for this unique gathering of champions and to support Team USA Speedway," said event organizer Bill Amick, who serves as Team USA Speedway Manager. "From our announcers to Jack Milne's family and from our great champions to a cast of special guests that we'll announce soon, people are showing tremendous generosity and commitment to Team USA Speedway.

"The signed and numbered portraits are sure to become collector's items," Amick added, "and they represent just a portion of the great items that will be up for bid in the memorabilia auction.

American teams have won five FIM Team World Championships and three FIM Best Pairs titles, the most recent in 1998. Those championships have since been consolidated into a single event, the FIM Speedway World Cup, which America has yet to capture. Team USA bowed out of the 2005 competition in the first round, missing a transfer by a single position.

Proceeds from the 2006 Team USA Speedway Testimonial will be used to defray the cost of participation in the 2006 FIM Speedway World Cup and also to assist individual American entries in the FIM World Junior Speedway Championships and Speedway Grand Prix Qualifiers.

The Team USA Speedway Testimonial event offers a wide range of sponsorship opportunities to companies involved in Speedway racing, and enthusiast sponsorship packages will also be available. A private welcome dinner for the event's honorees and sponsors will be held on Saturday evening, and Sunday's Honoree Brunch and AMA-sanctioned memorabilia auction will be open to the public.

"We have a long tradition of success in FIM Track Racing championships and we're pleased to lend support to AMA's Team USA Speedway and join the Speedway community in honoring our past world champions," said American Motorcyclist Association President Robert Rasor, who also serves as Vice President of the FIM. "Enthusiasts can really make a difference for Team USA Speedway by attending the testimonial activities on January 29, donating items for the memorabilia auction and purchasing the limited-edition portraits."

Enthusiasts and collectors who are interested in more information about the 2006 Team USA Speedway Testimonial, about providing auction items, or about attending the auction as buyers are asked to contact Heartland Media & Events by phone at (740) 397-1647 or email to teamusaspeedway@yahoo.com.

News updates will also be posted at www.HeartlandMedia.info.


This article was first published on 2nd December 2005


  • Bryan Tungate:

    "A very interesting article but they appeared to miss the fact that Cordy Milne could well have won the 1939 Final, this was likely due to the bonus point system."

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