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

Ron Lechien


Won 26 AMA Supercross/Pro Motocross races Won 1985 AMA 125cc National Motocross Championship

Ron Lechien will always be regarded as one of the fastest, most stylish and naturally talented motocross/supercross racers of all time. Lechien quickly rose to stardom in the 1980s, arguably the most competitive era of the sport, and was almost immediately successful in every discipline he entered, both on the AMA circuit and the international stage.
All told, Lechien would win 26 AMA Supercross/Pro Motocross races, as well as the 1985 AMA 125cc National Motocross Championship. He also helped guide the U.S. team to a pair of wins at the annual FIM Motocross des Nations.
As efficient and disciplined as Lechien (nicknamed “Dogger”) was on the racetrack, away from it he was quite different. The challenges and temptations that came with success at such a young age would ultimately cost him in the long run, and his mercurial professional racing career ended nearly as quickly as it began.
Lechien was born in El Cajon, Calif., a suburb of San Diego, in a neighborhood that has produced an astonishing amount of motocross talent. Lechien is the fifth AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer to come from El Cajon, joining Marty Smith (Class of 2000), Marty Tripes (2001) and his former rivals and teammates Rick Johnson (1999) and Broc Glover (2001) with this distinction.
After Ron showed early promise on minicycles, his father, Dick Lechien, founder of Maxima Lubricants, started taking his son to major youth and amateur events. It was at the 1981 Mammoth Mountain Classic that the youngster served notice to the motocross world that he was going to be a force in racing by winning the highly-competitive 125 Pro class at just 14 years of age.
One year later, Lechien became the first superstar graduate of the new AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., winning the 125 Expert and 125 Schoolboy titles. He was rewarded with a Yamaha factory contract to turn pro in 1983, as soon as he turned 16.
Success came quickly. Three months after entering his first AMA Supercross, he won the Orlando Supercross, in the premier 250 class. Eight days later, Lechien won the AMA 125 National at Lake Whitney, Texas.
Before his next season as a pro started, Lechien made a big change, leaving Yamaha to ride for the juggernaut that was Team Honda in 1984. The team included three AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers—Bob Hannah (1999), David Bailey (1999) and Johnny O’Mara (2000). Lechien moved up to the 250 class, despite his relatively young age, and, while he won a few races, his lack of experience showed. But there were also flashes of brilliance. In his first U.S. Grand Prix of Motocross, at Unadilla in New York, Lechien became the youngest-ever 250cc Grand Prix winner.
In 1985, Team Honda returned Lechien to the 125 class in Pro Motocross, and he responded by absolutely dominating that summer’s AMA 125 National Motocross Championship. When the season ended, he joined his teammate Bailey and Jeff Ward of Team Kawasaki in representing the United States in winning the Motocross des Nations in Gaildorf, West Germany.
Unfortunately Lechien’s time with Honda was short-lived, as a brush with the law on a visit to Japan resulted in the termination of his contract. He was quickly picked up by Kawasaki, where he would spend the next four seasons, winning multiple AMA Supercross races and outdoor nationals. But Lechien never notched another championship title, as his inconsistency proved costly.
Lechien raced his last AMA Supercross in 1994 in his San Diego hometown as a veteran privateer and finished 13th.
“I am extremely honored to be going into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame,” Lechien said. “I’ve waited and been hoping for a long time that I would get in, and now that it’s finally happening, it’s just unreal.” —Davey Coombs