According to the Yakima Herald:

The motorcycling world today is mourning the death of a Yakima man who changed the face of U.S. motocross.Jim Pomeroy, known for being the first American to win a World Championship Motocross event, died Sunday morning while driving near Tampico. “When the book of motocross is written, Jim Pomeroy will be in the first chapter,” said Bill Grubin, owner of Grubin and Company motorcycle shop on Fruitvale Boulevard.

Jim Pomeroy was the first American to win a Grand Prix

ear-old daughter, Jamie, about 10:45 a.m. Sunday. He was 15 miles west of Yakima when he left the road, according to a news release from the Washington State Patrol. His 1979 Jeep CJ5 struck a telephone pole guy wire and came to rest on its side. Pomeroy died at the scene. His daughter sustained minor injuries; she was treated and released from Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. The cause of the accident was driver inattention, according to the news release. Pomeroy lived in Yakima with his wife, Linda, and their daughter. He came from a long line of motocross racers and his father, Don, who died last year, owned Pomeroy Cycle Shop in Sunnyside and Yakima for many years.

Pomeroy, who was born in Sunnyside, gained fame in 1973 when at the age of 20 he became the first person to win his debut world championship event, the Spanish Grand Prix. It was the first American victory at a world Grand Prix event, and Pomeroy took the lead in the overall World Motocross Championships that year. “Up until that point the Europeans dominated the world in the sport of motocross or motorcycling,” Grubin said. “Once Jim Pomeroy won that race, he changed the face of motorcycling in the United States forever.”

Winning many more important races before he retired from professional motocross in 1980, Pomeroy helped the United States come to dominate the motocross scene. After retiring, he remained active in the sport by working with young riders at motocross schools. In 1999, the American Motorcyclist Association celebrated Pomeroy’s success by inducting him into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

“He was my childhood hero,” said Grubin, a friend of Pomeroy’s since the two met in Yakima in 1989. “I was driving down the road one day with a Bultaco Pursang ” Grubin said. “I had it in the back of my pickup and he ran me down and said, ‘Where did you get that bike?'”

Although Pomeroy’s name is recognizable to any serious motocross fan worldwide, he never had much attention at home in the Yakima Valley, Grubin said. “Jim wasn’t the kind of guy who wanted the spotlight,” he said. “He made no enemies in the motocross world.”

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