Off Road

Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Class of 2022 revealed

4 Mins read
Credit: Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame

Now in its forty-fourth year of operation, the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame has revealed the nine-person Class of 2022 that will be enshrined at the awards gala on 30 October in Las Vegas. The soon-to-be inductees come from all aspects of off-roading including being a driver, mechanic, owner, executive, and even media personality.

“We look forward to welcoming the Class of 2022 to the Hall of Fame,” commented Hall of Fame Chairman Mark McMillin, who was himself inducted in 2018 and whose family is one of the biggest in off-road racing. “The ORMHOF Gala is off-road’s biggest night of the year, attended by the who’s who in off-road. It’s going to be quite a party.”

Excerpts sorted alphabetically by last name

Randy Anderson: Walker Evans is a 2004 inductee into the ORMHOF, having enjoyed tremendous success in both desert and short course racing. However, he could not have done it without his top lieutenant Anderson, who joined Evans’ team as a teenager before moving up the ladder to become his crew chief. The Anderson/Evans duo would win 122 races and sixteen championships together, while Anderson later became the president of Walker Evans Racing.

Lance Clifford: Clifford is one of the spearheads who helped bring off-road racing to the Internet age. In the 1990s, he created Pirate4x4.com as one of the early off-road and rock crawling forums. The website was also used to provide live coverage of races and other events, as a precursor to many series doing online streaming for their races today.

“Lance Clifford gave me, and fellow land use advocates the most prominent and influential platform for communication and engagement in the world,” said 2014 inductee Del Albright. “He did this freely and openly as his part of keeping our trails open and helping save our off-roading sports.”

Vic Curl: Curl’s extensive behind-the-scenes experience in off-road racing ranges from supporting Jeep factory drivers to overseeing SCORE International and Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group technical departments. His company TrackSide Performance LLC provides racing marketing assistance for Yokohama Tire’s North American operations.

“The health of any motorsport is measured by manufacturer involvement and support,” commented Yokohama Tire’s Vice President of Marketing Andrew Biggs. “From his early days with Jeep-AMC to his current involvement with Yokohama, Vic Curl has been a constant in helping manufacturers, drivers, and sponsors bring their best to off road racing. The off-road racing community owes a debt of gratitude to Vic Curl. I can think of no better way to show our collective appreciation than to welcome Vic into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.”

Butch Dean: Butch’s Speed Shop in Las Vegas is a family-owned store that has been open since 1968. The business prides itself as the top off-road prep shop in the region thanks to its founder Butch Dean, who sold the store to his son Pat in 2007. Many off-road greats have relied on equipment and advice of the older Dean including fellow Hall of Famer Rob MacCachren and the legendary Gaughan and Herbst families.

Jim Fricker: A former United States Marine, Fricker débuted in off-road racing in 1969 and established himself as one of the sport’s top co-drivers for the likes of Hall of Famers Carl Jackson and Bill Stroppe. In 1974, he teamed up with Rod Hall at Dodge and the duo would enjoy two decades of racing together with multiple wins in the Baja 1000, Baja 500, among others.

Brad Lovell: Lovell is the leader of Ford Motor Company’s rock crawling endeavours, a job that includes being the off-road training manager for the Ford Bronco programme and working with the likes of Rod Hall’s daughter Shelby who gave her congratulations on social media. Racing since 2004 alongside his brother Roger in both rock crawling and short course, Lovell has won nine championships and was named Dirtsports Driver of the Year in 2012 after taking the TORC Pro Lite, Ultra 4 Pro Series, and Baja 1000 BC class titles.

“Brad is an enthusiastic and tireless ambassador for off-road motorsports,” AMSOIL CEO Alan Amatuzio stated. “We have witnessed and appreciate his willingness to talk to fans at events, especially kids. Brad embodies professionalism, perseverance and competitiveness, traits that align perfectly with the mission of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.”

Lovell wrote on Instagram shortly after the reveal, “Well, today was a big day. My boys turned 16 and I got into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame I quit my job on the day they were born 16 years ago to pursue off-road racing. Funny how these things happen. More to say when I have a chance to reflect on this honor but I am humbled.”

Eric Solorzano: Class 11 is a beloved division in off-road racing as scrappy Volkswagen Beetles duke it out either in short course or through desert terrain. Solorzano, who began driving in the class in 1989, turned what was an affordable racing opportunity into him becoming one of the most decorated Mexican off-road racers ever. He has eleven SCORE Class 11 titles and as many victories in the San Felipe 250. He continues to race in SCORE today.

Robert Lawrence, a Chenowth-affiliated driver who nominated Solorzano, explained, “Eric became the ‘King of Class 11’ by working six days a week as a mechanic while being a husband and father with eight children, sending them to college. “He has used his success to promote the sport of off-road in the press, in movies, as a mentor, and to inspire the less fortunate who dream of racing.”

Scott Taylor: From the 1970s to his retirement in 2013, Taylor competed as a privateer yet was a kingpin in the short course scene as he won a whopping eighteen championships across four different sanctioning bodies: ESPN Pro Series’ Class 7 and 8 in 1993; SODA’s Class 7 in 1989/1990 and 1992/1993; SODA Class 8 in 1991/1992, 1994, and 1996/1997; Championship Off-Road Racing Pro 2 from 1999 to 2004, and the World Series of Off-Road Racing Pro 2 in 2007. After ending his driving days, he has remained involved with the sport as the head of Scott Taylor Engineering.

Mike Thomas: Thomas ran Chenowth Racing Products from 1979 until his passing from a stroke in 2007. Although a posthumous induction, his value to off-road is unmatched as Chenowth cars enjoyed tremendous successes with twelve Baja 1000 class victories at the time of his death. Hall of Famers like MacCachren, Bob and Robby Gordon, and Roger Mears have all spent time in Chenowth vehicles, and the manufacturer has also seen competition in international rally raids. Under Thomas’ watch, Chenowth even designed the Fast Attack Vehicle (later renamed Desert Patrol Vehicle) extensively used by the United States Army during the Gulf War in 1991.

“Mike Thomas took what he learned in the sand dunes and deserts here at home and mass produced reliable and safe desert vehicles for our troops and sending them overseas to help the United States with the war known as Desert Storm,” McMillin added. “Of the many generous and noteworthy things that Mike did, this would be one of his greatest.”

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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