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AMCN Hall of Fame inductees | COLUMNS | GASSIT GARAGE

As Australia’s oldest and most respected motorcycle publication, AMCN has a huge responsibility when it chooses its annual Hall of Fame inductee.

Australia has always been boxing above its weight in world motorcycle championships so there are many legends to honour.

Last year the AMCN Hall of Fame inductee was Daryl Beattie, the one rider with the potential to challenge mighty Mick Doohan in the 1990s before injury prematurely ended his career. Rather than fading away, Daryl picked himself up off the canvas to become Australia’s ambassador of motorcycling.

This year we gong Troy Bayliss, the man you’d want to have at your side in an hour of crisis. Ducati certainly thought so, calling on him more than once in its times of need. The result was three world Superbike championships on three different generations of Ducati Superbikes. There was also a victory never likely to be repeated. As newly crowned world Superbike champion in 2006, Troy also won a MotoGP race, creating a special piece of history for Ducati and world motorcycling. It’s the stuff great AMCN features are made of.

Troy began tarmac racing aged in his 20s. As he became successful he also realised he was a family man with a tough decision to make. Was racing a weekend hobby or a job that could sustain a family if he was successful?

With unwavering support of his wife, Kim, and their three children, Troy was able to turn his love of riding motorcycles into a career that took him to the very top of his sport.

But fame never changed him. Troy has always been prepared to roll up the sleeves and get stuck into the job, recently taking on both team ownership and the promotion of major motorcycle events in Australia. He has even returned to the ring this year for one last fight, or is it?

Welcome to the AMCN Hall of Fame, TB. You really are a legend and your love of motorcycles and family is inspirational.

Read about Troy Bayliss in our “Weekend Read” on Sunday 29 April at

Bayliss, Valencia MotoGP Race 2006

AMCN Past inductees

2013 Mick Doohan and Keith Campbell

by 1988, Mick Doohan proved he was ready to take on the world by winning both legs of the Australian round of the World Superbike Championship. This led to his debut in the 500cc Grand Prix championship for Honda. By 1991 he was runner-up, finishing on the rostrum an incredible 14 times from 15 starts.

Doohan GP 1989

He bounced back from severe injuries in 1992 to finish fourth overall the following year, before his run of five consecutive world 500cc championships from 1994.

Keith Campbell was Australia’s first Grand Prix world champion, winning the 350cc title in 1957. He had started racing as a teenager in the 1940s and at just 19 headed to Europe to try his luck. Four years later he had secured a top works ride with the Moto Guzzi factory, becoming the first world motorcycle road racing champion from outside Europe.

Campbell was killed in a racing accident in 1958, aged just 26.

2014 Barry Smith

A specialist on small-capacity two-strokes, Barry Smith is an often-overlooked Australian Grand Prix hero.

Inspired by Keith Campbell’s world championship in 1957, Smith headed to Europe in 1963. He raced in the 50cc, 250cc and 350cc classes from 1965 to 1981, including wins at the Isle of Man TT.

But his role as a factory rider for Spanish brand Derbi defined his career. The first foreign rider to race for Derbi, Smith helped develop the tiny 50cc GP racer, with its 14hp two-stroke engine. He gave Derbi its first GP win in 1968 and was on track to give the factory its first 50cc title in 1969 when mechanical issues hobbled him. Teammate Angel Nieto went on to win the title.

2015 Jeremy Burgess

Jeremy Burgess has had a brilliant career as a chief mechanic. His 160-plus GP wins add up to 14 world titles. Seven of those with Valentino Rossi.

There was Freddie Spencer’s 250/500cc title double in 1985 and victory with Wayne Gardner in 1987. Honda entrusted him with a young Mick Doohan which resulted in five consectutive world titles. He then became part of the Valentino Rossi fairytale: winning the last 500cc title (for Honda) and the first four-stroke MotoGP (for Yamaha). It was Yamaha’s first grand prix title since 1992.

Jeremy Burgess, San Marino MotoGP 2012

2016 Jack Ahearn

Imagine if a satellite rider had finished runner-up in the 2017 MotoGP championship?

Jack Ahearn did in 1964 when he finished second in the 500cc world championship to winner Mike Hailwood on an unbeatable works MV Agusta four-cylinder. Jack was riding an underpowered, self-owned-and-maintained Manx Norton single. Add to this the fact he was 40 years old at the time.

It would take another two decades and Wayne Gardner’s world title in 1987 for an Australian to better Jack’s effort.

2017 Daryl Beattie

If not for a couple of controversial career decisions and a string of bad-luck accidents, Daryl Beattie would have been the rider to seriously challenge Mick Doohan’s unbeatable run.

Aged 21, Beattie arrived in the 500cc paddock in 1993 a youngster in a hurry. In his first full season, he stepped onto the top of the podium after just six races. Beattie rode a rollercoaster in 1994 and came second to Mick Doohan in 1995 in his third full season. Early retirement was forced on Beattie at 27 but he has since become one of Australia’s leading ambassadors of motorcycling.

“TB’s a true Aussie with a great missus and kids,” he said on TB’s 2018 induction. “He’s one of the real blokes who raced and continues to race. I’ve got a couple of favourite memories… one was driving back from Italy with him in his Porsche on one of my favourite roads. The 450km trip back to Monaco took us no more than two and half hours – fun times.

“TB makes you feel proud to be an Aussie. Congratulations on the award, mate.”

By Hamish Cooper