HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Brian and Brett Thompson were the first African American siblings to hold professional motocross licenses with the American Motorcyclist Association.
They grew up in Susquehanna Township, and Brian said that they became interested in mini-bikes and motorcycles during a unique time in American history.
“There had been a motorcycle boom in the ’70s because there had been an energy crisis,” said Thompson. “A lot of people were buying motorcycles and mini-bikes.”
Brett also competed and he helped with mechanical issues while the Thompsons were on the road.
The duo competed in professional motocross events all over the country.
“We started out in Marysville,” said Thompson, “but because of the backing of our parents, we were able to compete down south, and on the east and west coasts.”
The Thompsons said that they were generally accepted by the motocross community during the ’70s and ’80s, but Brian remembers on one occasion, there were some whispers and laughs before a race.
“One time we went to a competition in Pennsylvania, and we arrived at the track, we heard people make some comments,” said Thompson. “We finished first and second in key races and the next time we returned, it was a much different experience.”
Brian recently became the first African American to be inducted into the AMA District 6 Hall of Fame.
He said it was an unexpected honor but remembers giving praise to his family members who were with him from start to finish.