Legendary motorcycle advocate Bob Illingworth left us this morning at 9.30 am.
Bob began his love affair with motorcycling in the late 60’s. While he achieved some recognition as a racer and motorcycle shop owner, his charismatic presence and passion for justice would take him down a path that he had never predicted. In 1970 when the federal government originally blackmailed states into adopting helmet laws, Bob hit the ground running.
He was instrumental in forming the Minnesota Motorcycle Riders Association (MMRA), an organization that he would successfully guide for over 30 years.
Bob’s gift was communication, enabling him to defeat literally every piece of anti-motorcycle legislation introduced during his tenure with the MMRA. Additionally, Bob established the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Committee responsible for developing a motorcycle safety program and finding its funding source. He also acted as an advisor to several Minnesota governors on motorcycling issues. Bob’s natural leadership abilities and lobbying skills helped grass roots organizations successfully navigate through the treacherous halls of capitols all over the United States. His passion and tireless efforts have forever changed motorcycling. Bob was honored with the first Founders Award issued by the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame in recognition of his efforts in bringing the museum to life.
Bob was a long time Hamster. During the last Sturgis Rally Bob Illingworth was honored with a Hamsters USA Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, he also received the Annual Chrome Heart Award from Children’s Care Hospital. This award recognizes an individual in the motorcycle world whose philanthropic support and civic duty represents everything positive in the motorcycle industry.
My condolences to Colleen, all his family & Hamster friends.