Speed wins races. Consistency wins American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) championships. That was the message delivered at the 2010 AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships, which ran July 17-23 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in Du Quoin, Ill.
Thanks to his solid performances in four dirt-track racing disciplines and three classes all week, Briar Bauman from Salinas, Calif., won the 2010 AMA Dirt Track Horizon Award. Bauman took home two AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships for the week: 450cc Modified and 451cc-Open Modified. He also scored third overall in the 251cc-500cc DTX class behind Ryan Wells and Hayden Gillim. In individual main events, Bauman had six wins, four seconds, a third and a fourth.
"This was one of our closest AMA Horizon Award competitions in recent memory," said AMA Director of Racing Joe Bromley. "Briar, Ryan and Hayden are exceptional athletes and motorcycle racers, and they all will go on to have successful professional careers, whether on the dirt oval or the roadrace course. Each one is dedicated, passionate and professional. We're proud of all of them, but this week it was Briar who displayed a slight edge in consistent performance when it mattered most on the track, a quality that all champions must have at every level."
Bauman gave his support crew credit for the honor.
"There's no way I could have done this without my family and sponsors," he said. "I can't thank my Grandma enough. She's always been there. I knew there were two other riders battling it out, and we were all really close. I just felt like I could fly! To think they chose me and that my consistency paid off. It's amazing!"
Although the AMA Horizon Award is the highest-profile special award at the AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships, other honors recognize various competitors for standout performances.
The AMA Fast Brain Award recognizes a rider whose speed on the track is matched by stellar grades in the classroom. The 2010 Fast Brain award was presented to Chalon Spore from Metropolis, Ill.
This year, the AMA Fast Brain Award included a $2,000 scholarship, funded by AMA members, including 2010 event special guest and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bill Werner, event honoree Byran Smith, AMA Board of Directors Chairman Stan Simpson, 2009 AMA Grand National Twins Champion Jared Mees, 2010 AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championship Honoree Bryan Smith, the Belleville Enduro Team, Don Schopieray, Mike Sponseller, dirt-track fan Shawn Ralls and AMA Racing.
Spore, who graduated from high school in May, is preparing to go to a local community college and was elated to be chosen as the winner.
"This will really help to pay my college expenses," Spore said. "When I filled out my registration for riding, I saw the information on the Fast Brain and thought, 'Well, I might as well submit my grades.' I never thought I would win. I want to thank all of those who gave money to make this happen. I will certainly put it to good use."
The AMA Youth Dirt Track Rider of the Year was Brandon Price from Sparks Glencoe, Md. Price won the grand championship in both 65cc classes while dabbling in the 85cc ranks, making every main event.
"I really didn't expect that I was going to get it," Price said. "Dalton [Gauthier] won three races on the 85, and I didn't think I would get it."
The Vet/Senior Rider of the year was awarded to Senior Vet 50+ Champion Dan Shaw from Decker, Mich. Shaw actually traveled home for work after the TT, but when local inclement weather canceled those plans, he was free to return to the races. He re-loaded his truck, and he and his nephew set out for the 600-plus mile trip back to Du Quoin, showing up in time to ride the half-mile.
"I didn't realize this award would be given," Shaw said. "I just wanted to come back because I was having fun."
The AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships crown Grand National champions based on their accumulated points in all four dirt-track disciplines: short-track, TT, half-mile and mile racing. 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, all-terrain vehicles and the latest DTX-machinery. DTX bikes are a fast-growing segment of dirt-track racing. They begin as showroom-fresh motocross bikes that are then fitted with dirt-track tires, suspension and other modifications.
For more information on all the disciplines sanctioned by the AMA, see AMARacing.com