Ben Damon (Inducted in 2017)
How long have you been riding (or have ridden), and how old are you now?
Currently I am 56 years old. I started riding around the age of 10 or 11. My father built my first mini bike out of pipe, wheel barrow wheels, bicycle handle bars and a pillow for a seat. It was direct drive as there was no clutch, and that didn’t end well. Soon after I got a Fox mini bike. I did spend a number years away from bikes, mainly after getting married and having my son who now rides with me. Other than general trail riding I also ride Trials events, both vintage and modern, for fun. I have both a dual sport bike and a Harley.
How did you get started riding / racing?
One of my high school friends Buzz Stekl and I trail rode together for some time. We had access to an abandoned railroad bed and almost unlimited places to ride. We had a local friend Maury Boutell who raced, we knew from him working at Rochester Suzuki at the time. There also was a local mx track on the south end of Conesus Lake which was not far from our house that held races. I believe it was called Thunder Valley. We never actually got there to race as they stopped holding races in that year. Buzz's dad got the idea one day for us boys to go try a race. Our first race I believe was at Dillman's Farm in Victor in 1973 on a 1973 TM125. My father built a pair of bike carriers to go on the bumper of our car and we were off.
How long have you been (or were) an expert?
Approximately 10 years. 1977 was my first year racing expert up until 1987 when I retired from racing.
Bikes I raced? 73 TM125 Suzuki, 75 CR125 Honda, 75 MX400 Yamaha, 76 CR125 Honda, 76 Husky 360, 76 Husky 250, 77 Maico 440, 78-83 Maico 440,490, 78,81-83 Maico 250, 84,85,86 Husky CR500, 87 CR500 Honda
All-time favorite bike?
Tough question as I had quite a few favorites. I always loved the coffin tank Maicos though. My 1977 440 was a beast. I also really liked my 86 Husky CR500
What was your first motorcycle?
My first real motorcycle was a 1973 Suzuki TS125 trail bike. That soon got traded for a TM125.
What is your favorite music?
Grateful Dead and classic rock.
What is your favorite food?
Prime rib, and chicken wings.
How do you (or did you) train for motocross?
Lift weights, running and practiced a lot!
What motivates you?
Money and cold beer.
Senior Network Administrator at a company in Henrietta.
Other interests? Skiing
1976 WNYSC #1 Amatuer (Top ten amateurs in those days got awards and number plates 11-21 for the following year)
1977 WNYSC #4 Expert, 1984 WNYSC #5 Expert, 1986 WNYSC #2 Expert
1983 2nd Florida State Championship series 500A
Raced Numerous National Races at various tracks.
Raced Unadilla Support Class multiple times
Raced Florida AMA Winter series multiple times
Raced at Carslbad and Hangtown
WNYSC board member, PRA Member, and my father was a WNYSC referee a number of years
Biggest letdown? Getting old!
Any regrets? Still undecided...
Who are your heroes? Marty Smith, Bob Hannah, JoJo Keller
What's the best part about racing motocross? People, community and self-accomplishment.
What would you change about our sport/district? Make it safer. Less expensive.
Who are (were) your sponsors? Al Gillen at Williamsville welding, Also received rider support (bike and parts discounts) from both Maico and Husqvarna
Who would you like to thank? My father and all that make our sport possible.
Words of wisdom? Enjoy what you like and your time while you can.