The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame offers its condolences to the family and friends of AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Ed Fisher, a leading national road racer of the 1950s and World War II veteran, who passed away on Aug. 4. He was 97.
Fisher won the Laconia Classic in 1953 and was a top contender at many of the other road races of the era. Fisher was an Indian factory rider, but when Indian’s racing program was trimmed he became one of Triumph’s first East Coast factory riders. Fisher’s son, Gary, also became a leading road racer in the 1970s.
Born in June of 1925, Fisher was raised in Gap, Pa. At the time, eastern Pennsylvania was a hotbed of motorcycling.
He served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division during World War II and fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. When he returned from Europe, Fisher bought an Indian Chief.
“It was one of the few new motorcycles you could buy right after the war,” Fisher told the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. He also went to work as a mechanic in an Indian dealership in Lancaster, Pa., and began racing, becoming an Indian flat track factory rider in 1949.
For the 1952 Daytona 200, Triumph brought in Fisher, who found himself on one of the rare Triumph factory specials at Daytona. In the race, Fisher ran up front early, but a broken oil line quickly sidelined him.
His biggest win came at Laconia in 1953. In the closest race in the history of the event, the top four riders finished within three seconds of each other. It took hours of checking and rechecking scoring tabulations after the race before Fisher was determined winner. Even then the race was protested, and he was not officially credited with the victory until December during the AMA competition committee meetings.
“I found out I officially won the race when I got the check in the mail,” Fisher said. He added that winning Laconia in 1953 was worth $1,000.
While Fisher was best known as a road racer, he turned in some solid results on the dirt-track circuits, as well. He finished second in the famous Langhorne (Pa.) 100 Mile National in 1953.
Fisher raced professionally though the 1957 season when family and business responsibilities took top priority.
Fisher’s son, Gary, followed in his father’s footsteps and became one of the leading road racers in the country. In 1972, 19 years after his father had accomplished the feat on the old Laconia track, Gary won the Loudon Classic, making the Fishers the only father-and-son combination to win the classic road race.
Fisher retired to a home in the mountains in 1998 and turned to maintaining his fleet of more than 50 vintage motorcycles.
Fisher was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002.
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Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders’ interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. Besides offering members money-saving discounts on products and services, the AMA also publishes American Motorcyclist, a recently revitalized and monthly full-color magazine (and digital version of same) that covers current events and motorcycle history with brilliant photography and compelling writing. American Motorcyclist is also North America’s largest-circulation magazine. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit http://americanmotorcyclist.com.
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Header photo caption: AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Ed Fisher. Photo courtesy of the American Motorcyclist Association