Dubya USA and Glen Helen Raceway are proud and excited to announce that the 2021 recipient of the Edison Dye Motocross Lifetime Achievement Award will be iconic late 1960s and early 1970s American racer Mark Blackwell. In addition to his impressive early motocross achievements, Mark was a pioneer in the advent of motocross schools and team management for Suzuki, Husqvarna, and in more modern times, Victory.
Mark was born in 1953 and grew up when the sport of motocross was emerging in the USA. In the late 1960s, Mark became one of the earliest American stars, riding Yamahas and getting a factory CZ ride. 1970 rolled in, and Edison Dye convinced Mark to ride for a new-to-America brand, Husqvarna. Mark went to Sweden to train with the Euro Husky riders (setting the tone for Mark’s future motocross schools). He was 17 at the time!
In 1971, Mark raced the Trans-AMA series, and emerged at the top American (over Brad Lackey) by one point! The following year, Mark won the Daytona Motocross (which later evolved into the Daytona Supercross), and then traveled to Europe to participate on the Grand Prix circuit. By 1973, he was an established Grand Prix rider. He dominated the Florida Series and had his first podium finish on the GP Circuit. At the GP in Luxemburg, he suffered a freak injury (a rock hit his eye in the muddy race), resulting in a cataract problem which ultimately resulted in crashes and injuries.
Mark continued to race in selected events in the USA through 1975, He also taught at the Suzuki motocross training school, and did product development for a number of companies including Fox, Goodyear, Scott Goggles and Scott boots. He also began his college education at this time!
Suzuki’s MX team was struggling in 1977. Mark was asked to advise the team, and in 1978, he took over as team manager. Under Mark’s guidance, Suzuki became the most successful factory team in both motocross and supercross in the early 1980s, guiding such riders as Mark Barnett, Danny LaPorte and Kent Howerton.
For these achievements (and more), Mark Blackwell was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame as well as the Trailblazers Hall of Fame! A complete bio will be published in the Dubya World Vet Program. He is a very worthy addition to the Glen Helen Walk of Fame as the 2021 Edison Dye Motocross Achievement Award! The award presentation to Mark will take place on Sunday, November 7th at noon in the Glen Helen Museum. The host for this event will be Grant Langston. Be sure to plan to be there. . . it will be another outstanding event!