The American Motorcyclist Association expresses its most sincere condolences to the friends and family of Melbourne J. “Mike” Wilson, who passed away Feb. 2. He was 94.
Mr. Wilson, an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer and longtime patron of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, was preceded in passing by his wife and fellow Hall of Famer Margaret Wilson last July. The couple was awarded the AMA Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
“As American motorcycling’s first couple and two of the sport’s greatest benefactors, Mike and Margaret Wilson were without peer,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “Mike, along with Margaret, not only lived life on two wheels to the fullest, but he gave back to the sport in many ways, which included their lasting contributions to the Hall of Fame, where their story will live on in perpetuity.
“On behalf of AMA staff, our members, the AMA Board of Directors and the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, I express our deepest condolences to Mike’s family and friends,” Dingman added.
Born on March 2, 1920, Mr. Wilson started racing dirt track as a novice in 1939. Following his service in World War II as a fighter pilot, Mr. Wilson, along with Mrs. Wilson, opened Wilson’s Motorcycle Sales, a Harley-Davidson and later a Honda dealership, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Mr. Wilson returned to competition and won the Iowa TT State Championship in 1956 as an expert-licensed dirt tracker. He was the last racer to enter the Peoria TT on a 74-cubic-inch Harley-Davidson in 1958.
As a sponsor, Mr. Wilson backed the careers of many great racers, including fellow Hall of Famers John Tibben and Leo Payne.
Following a quarter-century running a successful business, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson began focusing their efforts on preserving the heritage of motorcycling and were instrumental in the creation and promotion of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame and the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, including commissioning the timeless bronze sculpture “Glory Days” that serves as the centerpiece of the Hall of Fame itself.
Services will be on Monday, Feb. 9, at the Cedar Memorial Park Chapel of Memories in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Friends may call at the Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home on Sunday.