The 2009 AMA Amateur Motocross Champions have been crowned at the 28th annual “Air Nautiques Nationals Presented by Amsoil” at Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN.
From a field of over 20,000 hopefuls and nearly 1400 riders who qualified for the national event at Loretta Lynn Ranch, AMA Amateur National Champions in 34 classes were crowned after a week of racing at the Air Nautiques AMA Amateur Motocross Nationals presented by Amsoil.
Three outstanding riders-each who claimed two championships-were honored with AMA specialty awards. Canidae Motosport.com Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson, of Canada, claimed the coveted AMA Horizon Award after claiming the 450 A/Pro Sport Title and the 250 A Title and winning five of his six motos during the week. Kawasaki Team Green’s Zach Bell was named AMA Youth Rider of the Year for claiming the Supermini 1 and Supermini 2 crowns.
The Georgia-based rider also won five of his six motos. And Yamaha legend Doug Dubach, a Californian, was named Vet Rider of the Year for sweeping all six of his motos and claiming both the Plus 40 and Plus 45 Championships.
Amsoil/Factory Connection Honda’s Eli Tomac also turned in a dominant performance, winning all six of his motos by large margins and taking the Schoolboy 2 and 250 B Modified classes. The Colorado-born rider also turned in the fastest lap time of the week.
Although classified as a B (intermediate) rider, Tomac’s lap times put him on par with the A (expert) level racers. Wilson took two of the A class titles, with Monster Energy Team Green Kawasaki rider Blake Baggett, of California, delivering the 250 A Pro Sport title. Baggett was plagued with bad starts when matched against Wilson in the 250 A class and had to settle for third in that class, behind Honda of Houston backed Taylor Futrell.
In the 450 A class, Suzuki’s Justin Weeks bought three moto wins back to his Cincinnati, Ohio, home. Kawasaki’s Malcolm Stewart, younger brother of Monster Energy AMA Supercross Champion James Stewart, took second behind Weeks in each moto. Stewart also placed second overall in the Open Four-Stroke Class, which saw Alabama’s Heath Harrison roll to a championship.
Other A class favorites struggled, such as KTM’s Jason Anderson, who saw his title hopes eliminated in his first two motos of the week due to crashes and mechanical troubles.
After Tomac cleaned up in the 250 B Mod class, California’s Michael Lieb won the 250 B stock title in one of the most dramatic races of the week. Lieb won the first two motos, but went down in a first-turn crash in the third moto. His clutch perch broken, and riding in pain, Lieb managed to dig down for a 14th-place finish in the third moto, still enough to edge Ireland’s Edward Allingham and Lance Vincent, who went 4-13-1 in his races. Florida’s Justin Starling won the 450 B stock class, and Gannon Audette won 450 B Mod, both on Suzukis. Yamaha rider Bryce Valle finished second in both classes.
Tomac took the Schoolboy 2 class for 250 four-strokes, while Kawasaki’s Jacob Hayes won the Schoolboy 1 class for 125 two-strokes. Hayes survived the best moto of the week, as the final moto in that class featured a four-rider duel including Kyle Peters, Brad Frace and Joey Savatgy that went down to the final corner.
The C classes were topped by Washington’s Conner Elliot (250 C stock), New Jersey’s Jesse Pierce (250 C Mod) and Oklahoma’s Blake Barnes (450 C Mod).
Bell won both Supermini classes over Suzuki rider Jeremy Martin, of Millville, Minnesota. The coveted 85 (12-13) stock and mod classes featured a dramatic showdown between future pro superstars, with much-heralded Monster Energy Kawasaki pilot Adam Cianciarulo winning both titles. It wasn’t easy on the 12-year-old Florida native, though. He overcame a challenge from Alabama’s Thomas Covington to win the Stock class, but was sitting fourth overall in the Mod division heading into the third moto. Cianciarulo grabbed the holeshot and won the third moto, and improbably, his competitors ran into trouble.
Yamaha’s rider Matt Biscelia and Suzuki’s Jesse Masterpool came into the moto tied for the overall lead. Biscelia crashed, but came back through to challenge Masterpool for second. They tangled and found their bikes locked together, and after taking over a lap to get unhooked, Ciaciarulo had the title in his hands in dramatic fashion.
In the 85 (9-11) classes, KTM’s Alexander Frye turned in a strong last-moto charge to top Kawasaki Blake Green for the title, but Green came back to win the Zach Bell’s younger brother Chase delivered in the stock class to claim a title there. In the 65 classes, Zach Bell’s younger brother Chase won the 65 (10-11) Stock title, with Canada’s Kade Walker winning the 65 (7-11) Modified class. California’s Sean Cantrell won a close fight with Michael Mosiman to win the 65 (7-9) stock class.
The Vet classes were dominated by Dubach and Massachusett’s Keith Johnson, who won the Plus 25 and Plus 35 classes for the second-straight year on his Kawasaki. Kawasaki’s Matt Tedder won the 50 plus class, which had returned to the event this year, over Honda rider Craig Pickett. Mississippi’s Glen Myatt won the 30 B/C class.
The Women’s class usually delivers some of the best racing of the event, and this year was no exception. California’s Alexah Pearson held a big points lead with 1-3 moto scores, but she crashed on the first lap of the third moto. She charged back to 11th, but it wasn’t enough to stop Texas’ Shelbie Brittain from claiming the title with 3-6-3 scores. Kawasaki’s Sarah Price, who finished second in the class last year, took the runner up result again, going 11-1-1 after crashing in a muddy first moto.
Utah’s Amanda Mahue avoided such drama in the Girls (11-15) class, winning all three motos.
The 51cc classes went to Cobra’s Stilez Robertson in AMA Class 1 Stock (4-6) and Jordan Bailey in AMA Class 2 Stock (7-8), and Vance Stiers in the Stock Shaft Drive class on a Yamaha.
MotorcycleUSA.com handed out $100 holeshot awards in every race via its motorcycle-superstore.com site, over $10,000 handed out in all.
As always, the event featured plenty of activity off the track, living up to the reputation as “The World’s Greatest Motocross Vacation.” Talent and fashion shows, a freestyle demo, karaoke and Guitar Hero showdowns, a concert by Hank Williams III, riding seminars and other events kept racers and families occupied during their week at Loretta Lynn Ranch.
Full results from each class are available via this link from www.mxsports.com