May 9, 2022
By Keaton Maisano
With AMA Supercross’ latest champions crowned and the 2022 season concluded, the May Hall of Famer Spotlight looks back at the sports’ inaugural champion: Pierre Karsmakers.
Born in Waalre, Holland, in 1946, AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Pierre Karsmakers started his racing career at age 18. He excelled early on racing motocross within his home country, winning national titles in Holland in 1967, 1969 and 1971.
Karsmakers took his talents across the Atlantic Ocean in the early 1970s to participate in the Trans-AMA Series. Showcasing what a European rider could do, Karsmakers found success quickly when he won the 500cc motocross national championship series in 1973 while racing for Yamaha.
In 1974, Karsmakers won the inaugural 250cc AMA Supercross Championship by winning at Daytona, taking second in Houston and finishing fourth in Los Angeles.
Switching to Honda in 1975, Karsmakers took second in the 250cc class of the AMA National Motocross Championship and the top spot in the 1975 Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme 500cc MX World Championship.
Although Karsmakers remained successful until his retirement from competitive motocross in 1979, he was unable to add a second world championship to his resume.
Once retired, Karsmakers opened a business in Europe that imported U.S. parts and accessories for dirt bikes and other motorcycles.
While he stayed away from competitive motocross, Karsmakers made his debut at the Dakar Rally in 1987, finishing 10th.
Competing on motorcycles, cars and even a truck, the Dutch rider participated in more than 10 Dakar Rally races in his career. In 2000, a 53-year-old Karsmakers competed alongside his 23-year-old son, Jyrki. The father and son finished 13th and 25th respectively.
Karsmakers was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2014.