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Featured Rider: Dick Mann

Dick-Mann-Main

1963 & 1971 Grand National Champion

Looking back at racing in the 1950′s through the early 1970′s, Dick Mann is often  thought of as the hardest working man in GNC racing. He did it all; was a world class racer, tuner, frame builder and went head-to-head with the AMA in political matters like increased safety, motorcycle homologation and purse money for the racers.

Mann was tough and versatile on the track, loved scrambles and excelled on rough tracks that slowed most riders down, even raced motocross! He was also one of the smoothest and fastest road racers through the 1960’s & ‘70’s.

Dick-Mann-Second

At heart Dick Mann was an independent soul and though he had factory support for most of his career, he won the 1963 title aboard both BSA’s and Matchless machines, he was not a “true” factory rider for either brand. Though still winning Nationals into the late 1960’s, BSA considered him over the hill and began recruiting younger riders. Mann found a ride with Honda for the 1970 Daytona 200 and riding a kitted CB750 won his first race there after years of trying. He re-signed with BSA for 1971 and his career was reborn. In 1971, he won his second Daytona 200 and went on to win the GNC title again.

Mann’s win at the Homewood Mile in Illinois made him the first rider, one out of four ever to complete a GNC Grand Slam. He had won in every discipline on the GNC trail; short track, mile, half-mile, TT and road race. He won a record eight TT Nationals. His first (1959) and last (1972) wins were at Peoria, notching a total of 24 GNC wins.

Dick-Mann-Last

Still competitive in 1974, Mann decided to hang it up. He continued to ride motocross and enduro events and began building a successful line of frames. Contracted to help design a short track racer, the OSSA DMR (Dick Mann Replica) is based on his chassis design. Mann has been heavily involved in vintage racing of all motorcycle sports right up to today and was instrumental in the early and continuing success of AHRMA, the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association.

9 comments

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  1. Alan J. Williams

    Visited your museum in 2011 and am a Life member. Your staff was very friendly and the museum was outstanding. I rate it as a must see and the American Inn up the road as the place to stay.

  2. phillip r brown

    thanks for having DICK MANN as feature rider this month.He has been my favorite motorcycle racer since 1964 when I saw a story about him in august issue of CYCLE WORLD mag,(the first m/c magazine I bought) I met him at BARBERS BIKE Swap MEET in 2007,shook his hand ,got his autograph,and had my photo made with him.BUGSY MANN is a true gentleman,a talented motorcycle mechican,a great all a round person.we are lucky to have him in our sport.

  3. Olde Scott Sinclair

    Is there a way to contact Dick through either email or a website to ask him a question that relates to his old ranchero that he use to haul his bikes in. I think it was used with Bud Ekins in the chase scene in Bullit. Unless Ekins also had a ranchero…

    Thanks
    Olde Scott
    Desert Legends Racing/EOMB

  4. Ric.Chiorboli

    HI Sir Dick Mann,
    I first learnt about you in the late 70s watching the movie ON ANY SUNDAY
    you are a legend. I raced flat track here in SOUTH AFRICA in the late 80s till mid 90s
    and placed 5th in the country.
    Just to say hi would be a great honour.
    Kind regards
    Ric

    South Africa
    Durban

  5. Ralph Adams

    Just saw the “new” On Any Sunday and was disgusted that there was no mention or plaudits for Dick Mann. Such oversight! Must be a story there. Nice movie but none of the impact of the original classic, can’t compare.

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  8. John Gull

    I own a 1957 A10 BSA that you restored for Jim Mills. Bought it in 2004 from his wife as he was unable to ride due to poor health. Have really enjoyed
    this bike for all these years but have only put 2100 miles on it. Now that I am 81 don’t feel comfortable riding anymore. Am going to sell and was
    wondering if you would mind if I say that you restored this bike. Have had no spills. Thanks. John Gull

  9. Julie Weaver Coomer

    Hello to Dick Mann,

    I hope you remember my parents, Jim & Lou Jean Weaver, from Clinton , Illinois. Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around going to motorcycle races and riding with my dad. I remember a time in Peoria, Illinois, at a party after a race when my dad egged me on to ask you for a kiss! I was just a little girl but I was star struck! I remember another time when you & your son were at our home in Clinton. I had a very big crush on that young man (Mann?)

    My mom and dad have passed on, but every once in a while, I reminisce about my childhood and those “motorcycle days.” I think about people like Pink Peterson, Joe Peterson, Gordon Dusenberry, Neil Keen, Gary Nixon, Gene Romero….all motorcycle people who inhabited my young life…when I cleaned out my parents home, “Motorcycle Ace” was one of the books on the favored shelf.

    Peace be to you,

    Julie Weaver Coomer

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