By Mitch Boehm
When choosing an appropriate cover story for the April edition of our new-and-improved American Motorcyclist magazine, it was pretty hard to ignore America’s favorite-son motorcyclist Malcolm Smith.
For one thing, Ol’ Malcolm turned 80 on March 9, which is in many ways just as hard to grasp as the fact that On Any Sunday – which he starred in alongside Steve McQueen and Mert Lawwill – debuted 50 years ago. We must be having loads of fun because time is indeed flying by!
In many ways, of course, Malcolm is motorcycling’s Everyman, a guy that embodies many of the things we motorcyclists are or strive to be: rider, racer, business owner, enthusiast, two-wheeled teacher, mechanic, industry supporter, etc.
Most of all, though, Malcolm is a truly inspirational figure. During the book tour (for the autobiography I helped him write) back in 2015 and 2016, I can’t tell you how many people came up to Malcolm and said something like, “Thank you, Malcolm, for inspiring me to become a motorcyclist through On Any Sunday and your racing and business exploits….” Over and over and again and again, the refrain was the same. The guy changed a lot of lives over the years.
Nowadays, things are tougher for Malcolm. The Parkinson’s Disease he was diagnosed with 20 years ago continues to ravage him physically, and that, along with all the injuries he sustained during his career, has him walking with a cane and driving UTVs instead of riding motorcycles. Still, the guy just keeps on motoring, helped along, no doubt, by the DNA his father “Sandy’”Smith – who lived to be 99 – passed along.
Our April feature story offers AMA members an exclusive and very personal look into Malcolm’s world – what he’s up to (his new granddaughters figure prominently), how he sees things, and how he’s dealing with life’s challenges. Look for it in the coming week or two, and if you haven’t re-upped (or aren’t a member), do so at americanmotorcyclist.com or call 1-800-AMA-JOIN.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together!