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Hall of Fame welcomes Auburn stunt star

Gary Davis to be inducted into Motorcycle Hall of Fame
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Auburn’s Gary Davis’ record-setting jumps over cars and death-defying film stunts have earned him admission into the American Motorcyclist Association’s Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

The association announced their selection of six new honorees this past week and the news caught Davis by surprise.

“I had no idea I was even being considered,” Davis said.

Soon after the announcement, Davis started receiving congratulatory phone calls and emails. And because of the time difference between California and the Ohio hall of fame, they started early in the morning, he said.

The Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, isn’t entirely unknown to Davis, who has loaned motorcycles in the past — including a “Captain America” bike used for a jump off Folsom Prison — to the shrine.

“I’m elated and grateful — it’s an honor to having even been considered,” Davis said. “In my heart, people in the Hall of Fame did much more magnificent things that me — and there are others who are not in the hall who overshadow my accomplishments.”

Davis joins at least one other Placer County product in the Hall of Fame — the Foresthill Divide’s Danny “Magoo” Chandler, a champion motocross racer and Placer High graduate who was inducted in 1999.

Davis is to be inducted into the hall at a Dec. 7 ceremony in Columbus, Ohio — joining four-time national enduro champion Terry Cunningham, flat track road racing legend Skip Eaken, MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden, flat track racer Clifford “Corky” Keener and pioneering rider Mary McGee.

For Davis — whose initial career as a stunt-jump rival to Evel Knievel segued smoothly into a second career as a film and TV stunt rider and coordinator — the hall of fame selection follows a 2012 induction into the California Film Foundation’s Hall of Fame.

During his time jumping motorcycles, he set a world record and bettered Knievel’s previous mark when he jumped 21 cars.

Over three years, Davis would perform 300 public jumps. Stunt work followed, with one of Davis’ earliest roles as stunt double for Knievel in the film “Viva Knievel.” That work was at the beginning of a career in movies and TV that now numbers 280 films, 250 TV episodes and 190 commercials. Notable credits include “Against All Odds,” doubling for Jeff Bridges, “Terminator 2,” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

“With the exception of my daughter, the two things I care about most in life are motorcycles and the movie business,” Davis said. “I took things seriously but it was all fun.”

Semi-retired, Davis recently sold the property in North Auburn he has called home since moving back to Placer County from Southern California in 2001. Davis, a 1969 graduate of Del Oro High School in Loomis, said he intends to remain in the Auburn area.

And at 66, Davis continues to take on selective stunt projects, including recent work with TV’s “Hawaii Five-0” and “Jurassic World.”