AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame | Where Heroes Live On
First Name
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Pierre Karsmakers


1975 FIM 500cc Motocross World Champion 1973 AMA 500cc National Motocross Champion Three-time Holland National Champion

Pierre Karsmakers was among the early European motocross champions who brought their expertise to America, arriving in 1971 to compete for the Trans-AMA Series and finishing ninth after 11 rounds.
Karsmakers goal: To force the motorcycle manufacturers to acknowledge more European riders and reward them with contracts.
“All the Japanese (sponsorship) contracts were going to Belgian riders,” says Karsmakers, who was a three-time motocross champion in his native Holland before traveling to America. “I got mad, because other European riders were not getting noticed. But after I started winning in 1972, it began to open doors.”
Karsmakers also brought to America the concepts of proper training and nutrition for riders and proper setup for their machines.
Racing for Yamaha in 1973, Karsmakers won the 500cc motocross national championship series. He also won the AMA Florida Winter Series that year, winning four of six events. He won seven of 11 AMA National motos and claimed 17 victories in 36 races overall.
In 1974, a three-round “Yamaha Super Series” was launched, and Karsmakers was ready. He won the inaugural 250cc AMA Supercross Championship in 1974, taking a win at Daytona, scoring a runner-up finish in Houston and finishing fourth in Los Angeles.
“Pierre showed Americans what motocross was all about,” says Ken Ford, a member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame executive committee and assistant treasurer of the American Motorcyclist Association board of directors. “From his performance on the track to his training regimen, he demonstrated a firm resolve to wring the most from himself and his machines.”
Karsmakers switched from Yamaha to Honda for the 1975 season, finishing second overall in the 250cc class of the AMA National Motocross Championship and first in the 1975 Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme 500cc MX World Championship.
Karsmakers returned to Yamaha in 1977. He continued to win races, but a second championship eluded him.
He retired from competitive motocross in December 1979, at the age of 34.
Returning to Europe, Karsmakers opened a business that imported U.S. parts and accessories for dirt bikes and other motorcycles. He also opened a Honda dealership.
Now, he is officially retired from his business interests.
But he may not be completely finished with motorcycle racing.
According to the official Dakar Rally website, Karsmakers debuted at the competition in 1987, finishing 10th overall.
After competing with a truck and a car a few times, he returned on a motorcycle in 2000, bringing along his then-23-year-old son, Jyrki. At age 53, Karsmakers finished 13th overall, while his son finished 25th.
In 2009, at age 62, Karsmakers again competed in and finished the Dakar Rally on a BMW G650X. In all, Karsmakers has competed in 11 Dakar rallies, seven on a motorcycle.
Even with these more recent successes, Karsmakers considers his American motocross experiences among his best.
“That was a great time of my life,” he says. “I met many wonderful people.”
Karsmakers says inclusion in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2014 is a great honor.
“It’s been a long time since I raced, so it means a lot that America still recognizes me as one who brought motocross to the United States,” he says.