YAKIMA, Wash. -- Jim Pomeroy, the first US motorcycle racer to win a World Championship Motocross event, was killed in a car accident. He was 53.
Mr. Pomeroy died Sunday morning when his 1979 Jeep CJ5 went off the road near Tampico, about 20 miles west of his hometown of Yakima, hit a telephone pole wire and landed on its side, the Washington State Patrol said.
His 9-year-old daughter, Jamie, was treated for minor injuries at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and released, the troopers said in a news release.
The accident apparently was caused by driver inattention, investigators added.
Mr. Pomeroy was 20 when he became the first rider to win his debut world championship motocross, the Spanish Grand Prix in 1973.
He also was the first US racer to win a world Grand Prix event.
``Up until that point, the Europeans dominated the world in the sport of motocross or motorcycling," said Bill Grubin, owner of Grubin and Co., a Yakima motorcycle shop.
``Once Jim Pomeroy won that race, he changed the face of motorcycling in the United States forever," he said.
Mr. Pomeroy won many other top races before retiring from the tour in 1980. He then worked with young riders at motocross schools to help the United States dominate the sport's scene.
In 1999, the American Motorcyclist Association inducted him into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
Mr. Pomeroy came from a long line of motocross racers, including his father, Don Pomeroy, who owned Pomeroy Cycle Shop in Sunnyside and Yakima before his death last year.
He also leaves his wife, Linda.