On July 25-31 in Du Quoin, Ill., the AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships will crown the best amateur racers in short-track, TT, half-mile and mile amateur dirt-track competition. Attending as this year’s event honoree will be AMA Pro Racing Grand National Championship racer Henry Wiles.
“I’m really excited to be serving as the event honoree this year,” Wiles said. “As an amateur who raced the Grand Championships, it was an exciting time to do some traveling and race against guys I never competed against before. You find out a lot more about yourself, and it’s cool to gain the experience that comes with that.”
AMA Director of Racing Joe Bromley said that Wiles is a good role model for the young racers vying for AMA Racing National Championships.
“It’s great that established pros can come back to the AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships and advise tomorrow’s stars on the best path to success,” Bromley said. “Plus, it’s a good opportunity for the kids to see on one level that their heroes are just like them — diehard enthusiasts who are addicted to the rush that comes from racing on two wheels.”
Rosanna Grzebinski, who along with her husband Patrick Grzebinski owns North America Action Sports, the group that is partnering with the AMA to promote and operate the 2011 AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships, said Wiles will provide an invaluable service to the amateur racers at the event.
“We are thrilled that Henry will join us at the AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships this summer,” Grzebinski said. “In addition to being available throughout the week, he’ll be our featured guest at Wednesday evening’s Chillin’ with Henry Wiles, where we’ll all sit around, enjoy some ice cream and ask Henry just what it takes to be a top pro in AMA Pro Grand National Championship competition.”
Wiles joins riders such as Chris Carr, Kenny Coolbeth, Bryan Smith and JR Schnabel who have served as event honorees. He said that he’s looking forward to offering advice to the young racers.
“Current pro racers need to help lead the new crop of riders in the right direction, so they’re not scratching their heads the same way I was,” Wiles said. “I didn’t know enough to ask questions until much later, and it was already ‘go’ time. So to be able to offer some advice and be available to answer questions for the parents and riders means a lot to me, and I hope it means a lot to the racers, as well.”
Wiles added that the Du Quoin facility provides an excellent location for the event.
“The riders will have fun on all these tracks — the short-track, TT, half-mile and mile,” Wiles said. “Of course, it’s always exciting the first time you get out on the mile, so that will be really fun. My best advice for those new to the mile is not to get in over your head. Always remember that you can make a lot up on the next lap if you don’t do a perfect lap. You don’t have to pass everybody in the first corner.”
The AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships crown Grand National champions based on their accumulated points in all four dirt-track disciplines. The top riders compete for the AMA Dirt Track Horizon Award, which honors the amateur racer poised for success on the pro level. Racers field traditional dirt-trackers and the latest DTX-machinery. DTX bikes begin as showroom-fresh motocross bikes that are then fitted with dirt-track tires, suspension and other modifications.