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Marty Smith (1956–2020), motocross champion

by Linnea Crowther

Marty Smith was a motocross racer who won three American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) National Motocross championships in the 1970s.

Motocross career

Smith was still in high school when he started racing professionally, and he won his first motocross championship when he was just 17, in 1974. He became a popular racer thanks to his skill as well as a teen idol for his long hair and good looks. He went on to win championships in 1975 and 1977 before his retirement from motocross in 1981. In 1991, Smith won the Baja 1000 desert race as part of a motorcycle team. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000. After his retirement, Smith taught racing.

Smith on racing against adults as a teen

“I mean they were all grown men, and all rode 125’s. I would line up on the gate against a guy with a big old beer belly and a big beard. It was intimidating, but I wouldn’t look at them and let them take me down that way. I was racing and I loved riding, having a blast.” —from a 2019 interview with Motoxaddicts

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What people said about him

Full obituary: The San Diego Union-Tribune

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