The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF) received fifty-four nomination packets for individuals to be considered for the Class of 2023. A committee of off-road industry professionals was convened to evaluate and review the submissions. At the end of a day-long discussion and review, a vote was taken by secret ballot, and the nine nominees who received votes from a minimum of two-thirds of the committee members were submitted to the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame board of directors for ratification.
The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame is proud to announce the Class of 2023: Jeff Cummings, Scott Douglas, Evan Evans, Helen Fields, Scot Harden, Mary McGee, Tommy Morris, Lee Sieck, and Russ Wernimont.
“The ORMHOF Gala is off-road’s biggest night of the year. It’s the off-road reunion and celebration everyone looks forward to attending,” said ORMHOF chairman and inductee Mark McMillin. “We’re excited to welcome the Class of 2023 to the Hall of Fame on September 9 at Michael Gaughan’s South Point in Las Vegas.”
Meet the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Class of 2023
Jeff Cummings – Industry Pioneer
“Jeff personifies the spirit and character of what the Hall of Fame stands for.” – Harold Phillips, Global General Manager, BFGoodrich Tires.
Jeff started his career with BFGoodrich Tires in 1979. For 43 years, he lived and breathed his #DirtyTiresHappyTires hashtag with the BFGoodrich brand. ORMHOF inductee Frank DeAngelo said, “Jeff Cummings has been heavily involved in the industry since 1979 behind the scenes and has made BFGoodrich Tires the brand it’s known for today.”
“Jeff’s passion, knowledge, and Impact on all aspects of off-road are second to none. He’s sort of the guy behind the curtain, so I feel like often he doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves,” said ORMHOF Class of 2022 inductee Lance Clifford. “Jeff is not only a big part of BFGoodrich’s off-road history, but he is also an integral part of off-roading’s history.”
Jeff retired in 2022. ORMHOF inductee Brad Lovell said, “I believe Jeff will find a way to continue to give back to the off-road community and bring new people in.”
Scott Douglas – Competition
Over the years Scott Douglas has successfully driven everything from stock classes to unlimited trucks, including SCORE trophy trucks and Short Course Pro4s.
Scott Douglas Career Highlights:
- 95+ career victories
- 8 Desert Championships (SCORE, HDRA, BITD and Mini-Metal)
- 2 Short-Course Championships
- 2-time BorgWarner Cup Champion (1997, 2006)
- 2011 Inaugural Winner of the AMSOIL Cup
- 3 Baja 1000 Class Wins
- 1993 SCORE San Felipe 250 overall winner in a Class 7 truck (Herzog Ranger)
“Scott was one of my local racing heroes,” said 7-Time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson. “Not only is he a nice guy with a great reputation, but he is also a hard worker and successful businessman… I always admired his talent, his willingness to mentor, and his work ethic.”
Evan Evans – Competition
On July 13, 1989, a motorcycle accident significantly changed Evan’s life. He was thrown from the bike when he hit an unmarked ditch at a construction project near his home. He was paralyzed from the chest down. “When the doctors told me my spinal cord had been severed, it was my worst nightmare come true,” said Evan. “But I decided then and there, I was not going to give up.”
When the accident occurred, Evan had a large lead in the Class 6 SCORE points standings, but by the time of the final race – the Baja 1000 – he needed to at least start the race to ensure himself the championship. Hand controls were installed in his race vehicle, and three days after being released from the hospital, Evan was driven to Ensenada and helped into the driver’s seat by his mother, Dolly. He only needed to drive the truck 40 miles down the pavement to El Alamo, but instead drove 32 additional miles before stopping and turning the car over to his co-driver, Brian Stewart. “Brian drove the rest of the way, and we won the championship for my dad’s team,” Evan said. Evan earned the SCORE Off-Roadsman of the Year Award and was named the SCORE High Desert Racing Association Person of the Year for his incredible comeback.
Evan continued to race off-road before finding his niche in short course racing, where he went on to become one of the winningest drivers in short course history. This year he joins his father, Walker Evans, as a member of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Evan was nominated for the Hall of Fame by Jeff Renick. “I am also in a wheelchair,” Jeff told ORMHOF. “After meeting Evan in 1991 he inspired me to give off-road racing a try myself. I never got to Evan’s level, but I’m very glad to have given it a shot. Evan would be an ideal inductee into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame!”
Helen Fields – Advocacy Pioneer
Helen ‘Sugar’ Fields is a Hall of Fame legacy inductee. She passed away in 2015. Dubbed the ‘First Lady of Four Wheeling’ by the East Coast 4WD Association (EC4WDA), Sugar Fields had nearly a half century of continued leadership in competitive and recreational 4-wheeling at club, regional, and national levels.
In the 1970s, the Indiana-Ohio-Kentucky (IOK) Four Wheelers, under Sugar’s leadership, had the foresight and tenacity to convince the New York Central Railroad to sell a former gravel pit on 69 acres in Cleves, Ohio for off-road recreation. The property nicknamed ‘the Pits’ became the home of Gravelrama, one of the longest running off-road events in the country. In fact, Gravelrama 8 marked the first appearance of the first ‘monster truck’ at an off-road event, ORMHOF inductee Bob Chandler’s Bigfoot.
Sugar coined the event slogan “America’s annual 4WD happening” for Gravelrama and along with her husband Ken announced at the event for 33 years. Gravelrama celebrated 50 years in 2021.
Jim Bramham, ORMHOF Class of 2018 inductee said, “Sugar was a gracious, effective, creative, dynamo, and leader who was as sweet as her name. She was a promoter, racing enthusiast, land use advocate, and friend.”
Scot Harden – Industry Pioneer
As a desert racer, OEM executive, event promoter, land use advocate, desert racing historian, brand ambassador, published author, and now member of four motorsports Halls of Fame, Scot Harden impacts off-road.
With 14 overall wins and 38 class championships at the Baja 1000, Baja 500, Las Vegas 400, Parker 400, SCORE, BITD, SNORE, HDRA and other major Baja/oﬀ-road events to pioneering Rally competitions in North Africa, to leading the ﬁrst serious U.S. motorcycle team eﬀort at the grueling Dakar Rally to building companies, and brands, Harden has impacted an entire generation of oﬀ-road enthusiasts. His contributions to iconic oﬀ-road companies like KTM, Husqvarna, Best In The Desert and a whole host of aftermarket companies as race team manager, factory rider, sales and marketing executive, spokesperson and brand ambassador, Scot has left a huge mark on the industry and sport. Already a member of several other prestigious Halls of Fame including the American Motorcyclist Association, Trailblazers, and Hot Shoe Hall of Fames, Harden has been named by SCORE Journal as one of the “All Time Baja Moto Greats” and one of the “Top 10 Riders” in the history of U.S. oﬀ-road motorcycle competition by Dirt Rider Magazine.
Scot’s passion for the sport of off-road continues with the recent development of the “Handstands at 100 MPH” event with legendary SCORE Baja Champion and ORMHOF inductee Johnny Campbell. “Handstands” is designed to recognize the accomplishments of desert and Baja motorcycle racing legends from the past and present. “Scot’s efforts to continue the promotion and legacies of the sport’s great off-road racers will serve as inspiration to present and future generations to know whose shoulders they are standing on,” says Jim Ryan, SCORE VP Marketing.
Class of 2023 inductee Scot Harden will host a skills class at our sister event, Adventure Rally & Camp, later this year.
Mary McGee – Competition
While a tall 5’11”, Mary always described herself as “fast on my feet, fast with my brain, self-conscious and lacking confidence”, however she had “no trouble with confidence on the racetrack.” A pioneer in the sport of desert off-road racing and motocross, Mary broke down many barriers for female racers. She has achieved many firsts and has been a great role model for our sport.
Mary learned to ride on a 200cc Triumph Tiger Cub she bought from a friend. She later took up motorcycle road racing to try to improve her car racing skills. A female road racer in the United States was a new phenomenon, so the American Federation of Motorcyclists made Mary take a test before allowing her to race. She passed the test – on a 125 Honda CB92 wearing a pink polka-dot helmet — and became the first woman to hold an FIM license in the United States.
Mary started her off-road career by riding a 250cc Honda Scrambler in an AMA District 37 enduro. She raced a Datsun 510 in the very first Mexican 1000 in 1967. Mary became the first woman to finish the Mexican 1000 in 1968, and in 1975, she rode a 250 Husqvarna solo in the Baja 500, passing 17, two-man teams.
Mary was given the distinguished honor of being named the FIM Legend of 2012 at the FIM Gala in Monte Carlo, Monaco. She was inducted into the Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2014 and the American Motorcyclist Hall of Fame in 2018. She was honored as Grand Marshal of the 2022 NORRA Mexican 500 and has a trophy awarded in her name to the most deserving female racer.
Mary has always said that the hardest thing she ever did was racing in Baja. “It was very barren, no electricity, no doctors, no phone.” When she got a call from three-time motocross world champion Rolf Tibblin, who asked if she would ride the Baja 500 solo in ’75, she replied, “I can’t do that Rolf.” Rolf responded in his Swedish accent “You will do it Mary,” So she accepted the challenge. “We all get one life,” says Mary. “But you are not living if you aren’t having fun.”
Tommy Morris – Industry Pioneer
Tommy Morris’ career spans 40 years in off-road, including driving, team management, vehicle and component engineering and military training experience.
“During our days together at PPI Tom was a cornerstone of our enduring success. Under his management Tommy provided Ivan Stewart, Frank Arciero, Robby Gordon, Steve and Rod Millen, and so many more with off-road racing Toyotas that carried these extraordinary athletes to unrivaled success throughout the 1980s and 90s,” said ORMHOF Class of 2020 inductee Cal Wells. “Without Tommy’s impressive leadership PPI and Toyota would not have enjoyed the hard-earned success we did.”
More significant is Tommy’s unmatched service to our county via his massive resume with the United States military. His work on the development of modern off-road vehicles and training with special operations forces is unmatched in the history of our industry.
“I believe Tommy’s greatest contribution has been to our US military,” said Cal Wells. “By applying his decades of off-road experience Tommy has trained our most elite defenders of democracy on the fundamentals of how to navigate hostile environments overland. In addition, he has developed some of the most sophisticated military hardware that continually delivers these same distinguished soldiers into battle and back home safely.”
Cal Wells sums up Tommy Morris’ induction into ORMHOF this way: “There are few that have contributed more to the first principles of off-roading that include but are not limited to passion, ingenuity, engineering excellence, athletic achievement, social responsibility and, most importantly, freedom, than Tommy Morris.”
Lee Sieck – Pioneer Industry
Lee ‘Fud’ Sieck is a Hall of Fame Legacy inductee. He passed away in 2003. Fud was the dynamic and driving force behind some of the most enjoyable grassroots events the sport of desert racing has ever known. He began to ride the San Diego based District 38 events in the late 1970s, eventually trading his handlebars for a gavel when elected president of the organization in 1979.
In 1979, Fud started racing in the desert east of San Diego County in the AMA District 38 desert races. Later that year he was elected president of the San Diego Sports Committee Inc. His reputation for organization grew from that seed, and by 1984 he had been asked by a group of four-wheel off-road racers to put together a race for them. This became the start of Fud’s Superstition Championship Series, which soon added motorcycles and ATVs to the mix by using the same racecourse but staggering the field’s starting times – bikes raced at 7 am and cars at noon. “Fud always had a big smile and was there to help anyone that needed help,” said AMA Hall of Fame member Marty Tripes. “Fud organized and took District 38 to the next level of high standards. He was at home in the desert and promoting District 38.”
Fud found great satisfaction over the next 24 years promoting and organizing car and motorcycle races both in the desert and at places like the Mid-Winter Fairgrounds in Imperial Valley and the Golden Acorn Casino off Hwy. 8. He loved racing so much he gave up his career in aerospace to devote himself to the sport he cared about so much. His love of Baja and the races he promoted in the Tecate area earned him the ‘Amigos de Baja’ award from the governor of Baja California Norte in 1999.
“Fud’s events allowed hundreds of families to compete in small local events to grow as competitors, including my own sons, Dan and Luke,” said ORMHOF inductee Mark McMillin. “Fud’s legacy continues today with local motorcycle and ATV racing in Plaster City known as District 38, which still grooms young racers and embodies the family-first environment in the desert.”
Russ Wernimont – Industry Pioneer
On his 19th birthday, Russ moved from Toledo, Ohio to Southern California to pursue his dream of building off-road vehicles. He started his career sweeping the floor of Cal Well’s PPI shop and within a year became the crew chief of Michael Nesmith’s Class 8 truck, starting his own shop and building pre-runner trucks for the likes of Parnelli Jones and Roger Mears.
In the late 1980s, Russ got the attention of Jim Venable, and was given the opportunity to build a new Ford Class 8 truck, putting young Robby Gordon behind the wheel. They would go on to be the first 4-wheel vehicle to overall the Baja 1000 in 1989. In 1990, Russ would take one step further by building the first tube frame, purpose-built, off-road vehicles which we now know as the modern-day Trophy Truck. All these trucks were hand crafted by Russ to include his custom-made internal bypass shocks, 10.5” rear end housings, custom hydraulic steering racks, and chassis platform which the modern-day Trophy Truck still mimics. “I affectionately call him the Godfather of today’s Trophy Truck,” said Reid Nordin. “Russ has been a visionary in the off-road industry for decades. He ushered in a new era of the highest performing vehicles that stand the test of time. His innovations are still being mirrored to this day.”
Russ was recognized as the SCORE Mechanic of the Year in 1989, 1992, 1993, and 1994.
“As a mentor to others, Russ would challenge those he worked with to their full potential,” said Scott Douglas, who is also being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. “Russ had a skill for leading many future fabricators and designers to successful careers. With all his success, Russ remains one of the most humble people I know in the off-road industry.”
The ORMHOF Class of 2023 will be celebrated at the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala presented by 4 Wheel Parts, on Saturday, September 9 at the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada. For tickets and more information, be sure to check out the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame website.