Hall of Fame News

Jeff Fredette: An ISDE Legend

Inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002

September 10, 2021

By Kali Kotoski

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jeff Fredette sits in an elite category of athletes because of a superhuman longevity that saw him compete in 34 International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) races — and finish all but one. With the nickname “Mr. ISDE,” Fredette has won an incredible number of ISDE medals, plus a significant number of AMA Grand National Cross Country, hare scrambles and enduro races.

Born in 1958, Fredette began riding in enduro and observed trials competition with his father, Wayne, at a young age. At 12, he began competing on his own. At age 20 he qualified for the 1978 International Six Day Trials (ISDT) in Sweden — a precursor to the ISDE competition we call it today.

“It was the first time I had left the country, and it was like living a dream,” Fredette said during his AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame induction coverage. “But my first day’s results were terrible. I decided I needed to slow down if I wanted to go faster, and to try and be more consistent. Then each day I started moving up, and I won the gold medal. It was a lot of fun, so I wanted to do it again.”

And he did do it again, earning gold medals at the 1979, 1980 and 1981 ISDE events in Germany, France and Italy. In 1981 he was also the overall winner of West Virginia’s prestigious Blackwater 100.

Jeff Fredette at the 2021 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days.
Jeff Fredette at the 2021 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days

In 1983 Fredette signed with Kawasaki. That relationship would continue through 2009, during which time Fredette captured six more ISDE gold medals, 18 silver medals and one bronze, with numerous AMA Grand National Cross Country s wins and AMA Regional Enduro and hare scrambles titles.

He founded Fredette Racing Products in 1985, selling specialized parts and providing tuning and engine-building services for off-road racers. In the few years when he wasn’t able to compete due to injuries, he served American ISDE teams as a chase rider, offering valuable technical advice to teammates and competitors alike.

For overcoming horrid course conditions and repeated mechanical woes at the 1993 ISDE in Holland, Fredette was awarded the 1993 AMA Sportsman of the Year.

How does a racer compete in and finish 33 out of 34 ISDE competitions over a span of almost four decades: “The high school I went to, their motto was, ‘You Gotta Wanna.’ It’s one of those things that stuck with me. In all my years of racing I can count on two hands the amount of times I’ve quit or broken down, and I hate to break down. I’m going to do the best I can, so there’s no room for failure.”

Fredette was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002.