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FMF Racing History

By A.G. Moody

FMF Racing (Flying Machine Factory) was one of the first aftermarket motorcycle manufacturers, having been started by Don Emler in 1973. From its humble beginnings in Emler's garage, FMF Racing has become 1 of the leaders in manufacturing exhaust pipes, making a number of different pipes for motorcycles and off-road vehicles of all types.


When Don Emler first began FMF Racing out of his Southern California garage in 1973, little did he know that his company would still be a giant in the motocross world more than 35 years later. An aspiring professional motocross racer, Emler gained a reputation for being a motorcycle whiz. Others frequently requested his help and he came to realize his true calling. The company was called "Uncle Donnie's Flying Machine Factory," named after one of Emler's favorite movies, "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines," but was shortened for marketing purposes. FMF exploded on the national scene in 1974 as the driving force behind Marty Smith, who won the AMA National 125 Championship.


Emler proved to be a better motorcycle person than businessman at that time and briefly lost control of FMF in the early 1980s to Al Baker, of Al Baker R&D and XR's Only fame. While Emler dabbled in other motorcycle ventures after that, most notably Roost Factory, he was able to reclaim his spot as owner of FMF Racing in 1985 and is still at the helm of the company as of June 2009.


If there was 1 defining moment for FMF, it would be found with the 1988 release of chrome-plated exhaust pipes. The pipes were an instant hit with the public, who liked the sleek look and easy maintenance compared to the metal pipes. In 1998, FMF ventured into the world of 4-stroke motorcycles and again saw its product met with great enthusiasm by the racing public. The company expanded its product line to include silencers when noise pollution became a hot topic in the 1990s.


While FMF has gained its reputation as a manufacturer of motocross components, the company makes exhaust systems for ATVs and UTVs, along with sport motorcycles, which are made for street riding. The company also sells replacement parts for its products and a complete line of FMF Racing apparel, such as jackets, hats and shirts.


FMF Racing began supporting motorcycle racers through sponsorships when the company first started and has kept its commitment to helping racers for more than 35 years. In 2009, the company sponsored 55 amateur riders and nearly 100 professional riders. FMF has a staff of 5 full-time employees to work with support riders throughout the country. Riders may request sponsorship assistance through the FMF Racing web site.

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