This year’s recipient of the Edison Dye Lifetime Motocross Achievement Award is the three-time AMA National Motocross Champion David Bailey. David becomes the 16th recipient of this prestigious award, and will be honored with a special ceremony on Sunday, November 6th at 12:30 p.m. at Glen Helen Raceway as part of the MTA World Vet Motocross Championships ceremonies. David will also be immortalized with a special monument, joining those other motocross greats in the Glen Helen Walk of Fame. David was selected by Bud Feldkamp and Tom White, two of the giants in the motocross industry, who both have tremendous knowledge of the history of our sport.
David Bailey is a broadcaster, motocross school instructor and former professional motocross racer, born December 31, 1961 in San Diego, California. He is the adopted son of Gary “Professor” Bailey, also a former professional motocrosser.
Bailey began riding bicycles at the age of three, and received his first bike, a 60cc Yamaha at age ten. He started racing that same year. David started working hard to progress his career, and he won the 1978 250cc Amateur National Championship on a Bultaco motorcycle. He turned professional the next year, with mixed results. For 1980, he joined Kawasaki’s Team Green, one of the first members of that program. He began showing major potential and earned national #45. 1981 was his last year on Kawasaki, and he continued to move up in the rankings.
David’s big break came when he was asked by former World Champ Roger DeCoster to ride for Team Honda in 1982. That season, Bailey was a member of the Motocross des Nations team, and helped the team to its second consecutive victory.
1983 and 1984 were perhaps Bailey’s greatest years, as he won the 1983 250cc Supercross and National Championships, and was awarded the Wrangler Grand National title. He also won the United States motorcycle Grand Prix (USGP) at Unadilla and repeated as Motocross Des Nations champion. The next season, 1984, was more of the same, as David added the 500cc National crown to his resume, won the King of Bercy title and led the USA to victory in the Motocross Des Nations for the third straight year. Bailey would win many more major races in the next few seasons, most notably two more MXdN titles, and coming out on top of a titanic duel with teammate and fellow champion Rick Johnson at the 1986 Anaheim Supercross. Bailey was going faster than he ever had in his life, and many say faster than anyone before, when he rode his Honda CR500 to the win at the Motocross Des Nations that fall. The performance by the US team is regarded as one of the most dominant in history.
Prior to the start of the 1987 Supercross season, Bailey was injured in a practice crash in Lake Huron, California. There was significant spinal cord damage, and Bailey became paralyzed from the waist down. Bailey withdrew from the industry and sport he loved for seven years. Bailey would re-emerge in 1994 as a supercross commentator for ESPN. His knowledgeable background and insightful commentary was a highlight of the coverage.
In 1997 Bailey made the decision to start training for the Hawaii Ironman triathlon. In his first two attempts, he finished 3rd, then 2nd, and finally in 2000 he became Ironman World Champion, 13 years after his accident.
Bailey was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999. Bailey continues his role as a TV broadcaster to this day. He is also active in many non-profit organizations dedicated to helping others with spinal cord injuries and contributing to finding a cure.
A special display will be presented at the World Vet by “The Early Years of Motocross Museum,” featuring photos, posters, memorabilia and motocross machines similar to those Bailey rode during his career. After the special Edison Dye Award ceremony, David and a plethora of VIPs will be available for autographs and well-wishes.