The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) welcomed a full house of AMA Racing champions and their families, friends and fans to the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, Nev., on Saturday, Nov. 20, for the AMA Racing Championship Banquet, presented by World of Powersports. The banquet celebrated racers' championship seasons and awarded a number of special awards that acknowledged the standout performances of a few top competitors.
Speaking at the banquet, Stan Simpson, the chairman of the AMA's Board of Directors, thanked all AMA racers for helping make racing the exciting sport it is.
"On behalf of the board of directors of the American Motorcyclist Association, our AMA staff, and each and every AMA member, I want to congratulate all of you for earning a place among this elite group of champions," Simpson said, addressing the crowd. "Your skill and determination, along with the support of your family and friends, have taken you to the top of amateur racing. You represent the future of motorcycle racing. You may not realize it, but you are the also backbone of the AMA."
Hundreds of top competitors, in disciplines ranging from land-speed racing to motocross to woods racing and everything in between, received their national championship trophies and No. 1 plates at the AMA Racing Championship Banquet, presented by World of Powersports. Special awards included AMA Racing Athlete and Sportsman of the Year honors.
The AMA Racing Athlete of the Year award was won by Charlie Mullins, the overall champion of the 2010 AMA Racing Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series, presented by Moose Racing. Mullins excelled in the 10-round series, winning six rounds, while also competing in the AMA-sanctioned Can-Am Grand National Cross Country (GNCC
) Series, where he finished second in overall points to Josh Strang.
"This is kind of a dream come true," Mullins said. "I never expected to win an award like this. It's a great honor, and I can't thank everybody enough. It's really special for me to win this."
Chris Borich won the AMA Racing ATV Athlete of the Year Award. Pennsylvania's Borich had a remarkable season in both the GNCC series and the AMA Racing ATV Hare Scrambles National Championship Series and won the overall title in both. Borich won 11 races in the 13-race GNCC series.
The AMA Racing Youth Rider of the Year was Jake Pinhancos. Jake won the national No. 1 plate in the 65 Stock (10-11) class at the AMA Racing Amateur National Motocross Championships, presented by AMSOIL. Pinhancos also won a World Championship in 2010. Jake led AMA Team USA to the overall win at the FIM Junior World MX Championship by taking the title in the Junior 65cc class.
"The most fun and exciting thing is going to all these races, hanging out with my dad and mom and seeing all these riders have fun," Pinhancos said. "To go out there and win this award just means so much to me."
When asked about his aspirations, Pinhancos wasn't afraid to set high goals.
"I dream of being the next Ricky Carmichael," he said, referring to the multi-time AMA Motocross and Supercross Champion believed by many to be the greatest motocross racer of all time.
Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jeff Fredette was named the AMA Racing Vet/Senior Rider of the Year. Fredette, already a legend in off-road racing, added to his reputation in 2010 by not only successfully competing in his 30th consecutive International Six Days Enduro, where he won another gold medal, but in winning two AMA Racing National Championships. Fredette won the Senior 40+ A class title in the AMA Racing Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series and claimed the 86cc-200cc Modern class No. 1 plate at the AMA Racing Vintage Grand Championships.
After accepting his award, Fredette was asked what advice he had for younger racers.
"The longer you ride, the easier it becomes," Fredette said. "Keep focused, and make friends along the way. They come in handy in every aspect of your racing career."
The AMA Racing Female Rider of the Year was Maria Forsberg, from Brier, Wash. Forsberg had a phenomenal year in the GNCC series, where she won 11 of 13 races in the Women's class. Forsberg rode for the RPM/KTM
Randy Texter, a longtime fixture in the dirt-track racing community, was named the AMA Racing Sportsman of the Year. This award is given to an individual who has elevated the sport of motorcycle racing through his or her unselfish demonstration of outstanding sportsmanship.
Texter passed away on Aug. 28, 2010, from an extended illness.
In announcing the award, AMA Director of Racing Joe Bromley recalled how Texter generously supported amateur dirt-track racers for decades and raised two children -- a son and a daughter -- who ascended to the highest levels of competition in AMA Pro Racing Grand National Championship competition.
AMA-chartered organizers, the clubs and promoters who run AMA-sanctioned events around the country, also were recognized for their efforts. Winners in those categories were Victory Sports, AMA Racing Motocross Organizer of the Year; Rausch Creek, AMA Racing Off-Road Organizer of the Year; BUB Racing Inc., AMA Racing Track Racing Organizer of the Year; Salinas Ramblers, AMA Racing Club of the Year; Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, AMA Recreational Road Riding Organizer of the Year; Buckeye Dual Sporters, AMA Off-Road Organizer of the Year.
Racer X Illustrated won the 2010 AMA Racing Media Award for its in-depth coverage of AMA-sanctioned events over the course of the season.