The American Motorcyclist Association announced today its AMA Motorcyclist of the Year: AMA member and president of KTM North America Jon-Erik Burleson. Awarded annually, the AMA Motorcyclist of the Year designation recognizes the person or persons who had the most profound impact within the motorcycling community in the previous 12 months.
“Jon-Erik’s innovation and leadership have positioned his company to take full advantage of what could only be described as a challenging environment in the motorcycle industry-an industry that is fighting back from its worst downturn in history,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “It is also important to recognize our honoree’s passion for, and commitment to, motorcycling. Jon-Erik exemplifies the motorcycle lifestyle. He was raised in a motorcycle racing family and has been around motorcycling his whole life.”
Burleson was brought to the company by former KTM North America President Rod Bush. Bush, who passed away in 2005 and is a member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, laid the foundation for much of KTM’s growth in recent years. However, it was Burleson who took the reins in 2005 and led KTM away from its reputation as an obscure European motorcycle company with moderate penetration in the off-road market to a premium brand under the tagline “Ready to Race.”
Indeed, from 2009 to 2012, KTM sales bucked the declining trend in the industry, increasing almost 20 percent. Much of that growth occurred in the last year, when industry-wide motorcycle sales were essentially flat. In addition, the company won its first AMA Pro Racing National Motocross Championship in 2012 when Ryan Dungey claimed the AMA No. 1 plate in the 450 class.
“Through both his professional success and his volunteer efforts, Jon-Erik Burleson’s commitment and influence make him one of motorcycling’s most effective advocates today,” Dingman added. “That, paired with his professional success leading KTM North America through and beyond the recent economic recession, makes him an obvious choice for the 2012 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year.”
The full story of Burleson’s history with KTM and his contributions to the world of motorcycling can be found in the January issue of American Motorcyclist.
About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA honors the heroes and the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit www.AmericanMotorcyclist.com.