Rider, writer, commentator, philanthropist
The San Jose native is the most accomplished American rider never to win the 500cc MotoGP World Championship. His 13 victories rank 6th among Americans behind inductees Eddie Lawson (31), Kevin Schwantz (25), Wayne Rainey (24), Kenny Roberts (24) and Freddie Spencer (17) and ahead of Nicky Hayden (3). And while the 1978 AMA 250cc Grand Prix champion never claimed the MotoGP crown, he was always in the hunt. He finished runner-up four times (1980, 1981, 1984, 1987) and third twice (1983, 1986). Over his MotoGP career he finished on the podium 54 times, third best among Americans behind Lawson and Rainey. After hanging up his leathers, Mamola formed Riders for Health to deliver healthcare in Africa and Two Wheels for Life, making him, said to the AMA, “perhaps the leading philanthropist to come out of motorcycle racing.” He also became a writer and commentator for motorcycle magazines and racing broadcasts. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000 and the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame in 2018.