Don Castro competed with some of the greatest motorcycle racers in history during the 1970s and will be the fourth member inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame.
“Many consider the early 1970s one of the greatest periods for dirt-track racing in the history of the sport,” said AMA Director of Operations Jack Penton, a Hall of Famer himself. “Don battled famed racers Gary Scott, Kenny Roberts, Mert Lawwill, Chuck Palmgren, Gene Romero, Dave Aldana and others, and he excelled. We’re delighted that he has earned a spot alongside the other great racers in dirt-track history in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.”
Castro joined the professional ranks as an Expert in 1970, riding dirt-trackers and roadracers for Triumph. He finished his rookie season fifth in the standings. For 1973 he was picked up by Yamaha and accomplished what many consider to be his greatest victory: winning the San Jose, Calif., half-mile against the likes of Scott, Lawwill, Palmgren, Roberts and other extremely talented racers. Again, he finished the season fifth. Castro went on to win another national the next year: the 250cc roadrace at Daytona, defeating teammate and race favorite Roberts. Castro retired from the sport in 1976.
Another AMA Hall of Famer Bill Werner, dirt-track tuner extraordinaire who serves as chairman of the Hall of Fame’s dirt-track committee, said: “Don is very deserving to be in the Hall of Fame, and I was fortunate enough to see him compete in his prime. One time, he was at Louisville Downs qualifying and ran wide open. He took my breath away and everyone’s breath away. He was a very talented racer and is well deserving of the honor.”
Castro, who now operates Racer’s Edge, a motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle service center in Tres Pinos, Calif., was humbled and honored when he learned he had been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“It’s just a shock,” Castro said. “It makes your mind think of all kinds of things. It brings back a lot of memories. I’m shocked, and don’t feel I deserve it.”
Castro recalled that the early ’70s was a great time to race not only because of the tight racing but also because of the camaraderie of the racers.
“It was a difficult time to win a National because there were always three or four racers going for the win,” Castro said. “Everybody had different lines because they had different bikes — Harleys, Triumphs, Yamahas. They ran different, so they had different lines, it wasn’t just follow the leader. And it was nice because you would caravan to the races together. They were like your brothers, really close friends.”
Castro joins previously announced members of the AMA Hall of Fame Class of 2010: championship team owner Mitch Payton, AMA 250cc roadrace champion David Emde and off-road rights activist Clark Collins. More inductees will be announced soon.
The Class of 2010 will officially be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Nov. 19 as part of the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend. In addition to the induction ceremony, the weekend includes the 2010 AMA Concours d’Elegance on Saturday, Nov. 20, featuring some of the country’s most impressive original and restored classic motorcycles. The AMA Racing Championship Banquet closes out the weekend on Sunday, Nov. 21, where AMA Racing amateur champions of all ages will be recognized for their 2010 accomplishments.
The event will be held at the Las Vegas Red Rock Resort, a world-class spa, hotel and casino, featuring a range of entertainment, dining and family-friendly attractions. The facility’s expansive ballrooms will provide a stunning backdrop for the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend, which is certain to be memorable for the 2010 inductees, champions, families, friends and fans. More information is available online at RedRockLasVegas.com.
Lodging reservations can be made now at AmericanMotorcyclist.com/Accommodations. An announcement regarding ticket information will be made in mid-June.
Located on the park-like campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made lasting contributions to protecting and promoting the motorcycle lifestyle. Its members include those who have excelled in racing, road- and off-road riding, pushed the envelope in motorcycle design, engineering and safety, and championed the rights of riders in both the halls of government and the court of public opinion.
The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Committee includes nine members in addition to the chairman. There are eight committees, each representing a different aspect of motorcycling.
More information about the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame can be found at MotorcycleMuseum.org.