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AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Tom Heininger Passes Away at 97

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Tom Heininger Passes Away at 97

The motorcycling industry received a major setback on January 8, 2024, after the passing of one of the legendary personalities in the motorcycling world, Tom Heininger, at the age of 97. After working passionately for the betterment of the motorcycling community and serving as the president of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) for years, Heininger became an unforgettable name. Due to his esteemed services to the motorcycling community, he was included in the AMA Hall of Fame in 2003 and even after that, he continued to make efforts in the field till his death.

Let’s remember some of the major highlights and achievements he made in his lifetime. Before that, as a part of the motorcycling world, we would like to share our condolences to Heininger’s family and friends for the loss.

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Tom Heininger Passes Away at 97
Photo Credit: Cycle News; Road Racing World

Early Life

The journey started on September 28, 1926, the day when Heininger was born in Los Angeles. Later in his life, he served in the marine force and participated in World War II. To follow in the footsteps of his father, who was related to the automobile field during his lifetime, Heininger decided to make his name in this industry. To pursue this career, he started by joining Offenhauser, one of the greatest automobile racing aftermarket parts manufacturers at that time.

Establishment of Webco in 1954

The best thing that happened with Heininger at the Offenhauser was to meet with Bob Hughes, who turned out to be a great friend with him and later became a commendable business partner. Both worked collectively to form a business empire of their own, called Webco in 1954. The company kicked off successfully by manufacturing supreme-quality motorcycle engine parts, dedicated to racing. However, as it grew exponentially, the company started producing apparel and aftermarket parts as well.

Promoting Local Motorcycle Racers

Alongside expanding their business, Webco started participating in providing assistance and sponsorship to motorcycle riders interested in making a name in motorcycle racing from Southern California. This move helped the company grow further to other parts of the world.

Honda Dealership

To further strengthen their financial standings and grow as a brand, Hughes and Heininger opened two Honda dealership centers in Los Angeles.

Inaugurating Radio Show

Hughes and Heininger collaborated with Roxy Rockwood, the AMA announcer, to start a radio show to cover the Daytona Bike Week.

Serving MS&ATA

Alongside his business ventures, Heininger further expanded his contributions and efforts to serve the motorcycling community by becoming a board member of MS&ATA (Motorcycle, Scooter & Allied Trade Association) in the 1960s. This is the same working body that formed the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) in 1924.

Serving MIC

Considering his remarkable efforts in the motorcycling field, he was also asked to join the MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council) in 1969 as a result of the partnership between the MS&ATA and the California Motorcycle Safety Council. Later, Heininger also became the president of the MIC which helped him fight for motorcycle rights more bluntly.

MIC was one of the major organizations working for the betterment of the motorcycling community and to protect their rights.

Establishing MSF

Heininger became a prominent and authoritative personality in the motorcycling world after becoming the president of MIC. He rightfully used his stature and authority to promote and strengthen the dealership networks across the country. Besides, he also did his best to establish another motorcycle organization, called the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Federation) which turned out to be the primary institution and platform to train and educate riders to safely ride their motorcycles.

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