Fred Merkel on his factory Honda VF750F Interceptor en route to winning the 1984 Mid-Ohio Superbike race. Merkel’s victory also earned him the 1984 Superbike title, a first for both him and Honda.
Photo by Henny Ray Abrams.

In September of 1984, Fred Merkel accomplished what no other rider had thus far done. He gave Honda its first AMA Superbike Championship, and he did so at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the ’84 series finale.

Merkel took the lead on the sixth lap of the 2.4-mile course and from there he was never headed, taking the first of what would be three straight AMA Superbike Championships.

Fred Merkel was a happy man after leading a Honda sweep at Mid-Ohio in 1984. Photo by Henny Ray Abrams.

“It’s been a very good season,” Merkel told Cycle News. “I’ve got the two greatest mechanics in the world. We’re just running great and winning everything in sight.”

Honda privateer Sam McDonald finished second in both the race and the championship with Roberto Pietri finishing third in the race and fourth in the championship on his Honda. The 1984 race was the AMA’s second race at Mid-Ohio.

Pietri is now a fixture in the MotoAmerica paddock as he heads up ESPN Latin America’s coverage of the MotoAmerica Championship.

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