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Off-Road Motorsport Hall of Fame inducts its class of 2016

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From left: Bud Feldkamp, Don Amador, Jim Ober, Larry Raglun, Tracy Valenta. Photo courtesy Off-Road Motorsport Hall of Fame.

Established in 1978 by National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) co-founder and racing promoter Ed Pearlman, the Off-Road Motorsport Hall of Fame honors individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the sport of off-road racing (in its many forms). Its 2016 induction ceremony was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Halloween, in conjunction with the start of the annual SEMA show, and its new class included a particularly diverse mix of candidates.

“Lightning” Larry Raglund is likely the best-known inductee in the class of 2016, at least to those outside the off-road racing scene. One of the most successful desert racers of the past four decades, Larry got his start off-road racing motorcycles, but was lured into Class 1 buggies by a friend. In 1981, he earned his first career victory at the Parker 400, followed by a win at that year’s Baja 500. After forming his own team in 1982, Larry went on to capture SCORE Class 1 championships in 1983 and 1984.

In 1987, Larry began racing Class 7 mini-trucks for Chevrolet, capturing another SCORE class championship in his second year with the team. While his record in the 1980s was impressive, it was merely a warm-up for the 1990s, when Larry, now driving full-size Class 8 trucks (and later, Trophy Trucks), won the Baja 1000 a total of five times, including consecutive wins from 1995-’97. The same period saw him earn wins in numerous other events, including the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Larry continued his winning ways into the 2000s, posting four wins in the Baja 500 from 2000 to 2007, along with wins in the 2005 Best in the Desert 1000 and the 2006 Best in the Desert Vegas-to-Reno. His son Chad is also an off-road racer, and the pair teamed up to place third overall in the 2008 SCORE Baja 1000.

Other Off-Road Motorsport Hall of Fame inductees for 2016 include land use advocate Don Amador; racing pioneer Bud Feldkamp; photographer and Trackside Photo founder Jim Ober; and team owner Tracy Valenta, whose drivers have included Malcolm Smith and fellow inductee Bud Feldkamp, Rick and Roger Mears, Bob Hannah and even rock musician Ted Nugent.

The Off-Road Motorsport Hall of Fame is housed within the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada. For additional details on the organization, visit