LA COSTA, Calif., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Marty Moates -- a motorcycle champion who was later a founder of the No Fear sportswear firm in California -- has died at 49 in an apparent suicide.
Moates' wife, Heather, found him in his car near their home in La Costa, north of San Diego, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Friends said Moates was living in great pain from old motorcycle-related injuries.
Moates' upset victory in the 1980 U.S. Grand Prix of Motocross at Carlsbad Raceway was a landmark moment in American motorcycle racing history. No American had defeated the more experienced European riders in 10 years of the U.S. round in the 500cc world championship series.
His infectious smile and prankish sense of humor made him one of the sport's best-liked figures, the Times said.
With fellow racers Mark and Brian Simo, he later helped found No Fear, a clothing brand that appealed to adventurous young sportsmen. Moates was also president of FMF International, a spinoff of No Fear that specializes in motocross gear.
The FMF Web site said Wednesday Moates would "be greatly missed."
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Dakota.