Gurney, Bondurant among SCCA Hall of Fame inductees

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Racing legends Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant headlined the latest class for the Sports Car Club of America’s Hall of Fame, which was officially inducted on Saturday night in Charlotte.

Kathy Barnes, Dr. Bob Hubbard, Jim Downing, and Pete Hylton were also inducted alongside Gurney, a past winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Bondurant, who transitioned from a solid sports car driving career to running the highly-regarded performance driving school that bears his name.

Gurney was not in attendance for the ceremony but passed along a letter in which he thanked the SCCA for the honor.

In the message, he recalled a critical letter he himself sent the group in 1958, which chastised the SCCA for not allowing professionals to race in their ranks.

“The SCCA did not stay shortsighted for long,” Gurney wrote according to a release. “Times and attitudes changed and professionals were soon allowed to race. The SCCA became a powerhouse in motorsports.

“Back then, I wanted to race more than I wanted to breathe. I wanted to make all of you proud of this American. I hope that once in a while, I succeeded.”

Hubbard and Downing were inducted thanks to their development of the life-saving HANS Device in the 1980s, as well as their push to make the HANS a standard piece of equipment in the sport.

“It was the dawning of a real innovative time in racing history, because there was never a device like that,” Hubbard recalled. “I got some money together through a state of Michigan grant for small businesses, and the studies showed that it worked (to prevent the basilar skull fractures common in motorsports at the time).

“At that point, we became morally obligated to pursue this.”

As for the other inductees, Barnes won multiple championships as a driver and has also served as a director and club racing steward within the SCCA. Hylton was recognized for his work as an author and archivist to preserve the history of the organization.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.