A new AMA-featured series for 2013 kicks off this month in Athens, Ohio. The Action Sports Grand Prix Series showcases grand prix racing -- a mix of motocross, open woods racing and grass tracks. The eight-round series runs from April 13 through Nov. 16 in Athens, Ohio.
"Grand prix racing never went away, but for several years it has taken a back seat to motocross and hare scrambles racing, which is typically tighter and rougher than a typical grand-prix course," said AMA Off-Road Manager Chuck Weir. "Recently, though, amateur grand prix racing has been coming back in a big way. Over the past several years, AMA-chartered promoters have created events and series built around grand prix competition."
Action Sports Promotions Drew Wolfe, who runs the Action Sports Grand Prix Series, said the events grew out of the group's existing motocross and hare scrambles events.
"We're getting a lot of motocross riders who don't like tight trails, and we're getting a lot of hare scrambles and enduro riders who want a change from riding hours in the woods," Wolfe said. "The course is easier and faster than hare scrambles, but not quite as fast as motocross."
Wolfe held his first grand prix in 2003, but the local series didn't kick off until 2009. Each year has seen an increase in riders, with 2012 seeing a nearly 100-rider increase in each round, Wolfe said.
"Grand prix racing is also a good value," Wolfe added. "You get a lot of ride time, but you can be in and out in a couple hours if you only race one class. If you want to stay longer and race two or three classes, it's half price for each additional class."
AMA-sanctioned grand prix has been a staple of motorcycle competition for decades. The first motocross and scrambles races resembled what racers today call grand prix. A classic event of the mid-20th century, the Catalina Grand Prix, was one of the biggest races in the country, and in recent years it has made a comeback, attracting some of the country's top off-road racers to its unique location on Catalina island off the southern California coast.
2012 AMA Action Sports Grand Prix Series
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Round 1: Saturday, April 13; Action Sports Moto Park, Athens, Ohio
Round 2: Saturday, May 11; Action Sports Moto Park, Athens, Ohio
Round 3: Saturday, June 22; Action Sports Moto Park, Athens, Ohio
Round 4: Sunday, July 14; Action Sports Moto Park, Athens, Ohio
Round 5: Saturday, Aug. 24; Action Sports Moto Park, Athens, Ohio
Round 6: Saturday, Sept. 21; Action Sports Moto Park, Athens, Ohio
Round 7: Sunday, Oct. 20; Action Sports Moto Park, Athens, Ohio
Round 8: Saturday, Nov. 16; Action Sports Moto Park, Athens, Ohio
About the American Motorcyclist Association
Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world's largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders' interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com.