Jake Lewis, a 15-year-old roadracer from Princeton, Ky., earned the prestigious American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Roadrace Horizon Award at the AMA Racing Roadrace Grand Championships, Oct. 8-9, at central Indiana's Putnam Park. Lewis was one of 22 champions crowned at the national championship event.
"The AMA thanks all the racers who came out and supported this event," said Joe Bromley, AMA Racing and organizer services director. "In addition, we extend our appreciation to our event partner, the U.S. Grand Prix Riders Union, for doing a stellar job organizing and managing this national championship program. We had great weather, a great track and professional organization."
Lewis said he was thrilled to bring home the event's premier honor. The AMA Roadrace Horizon Award is given each year to a young roadracer poised to enter the professional ranks and who demonstrates great promise for a successful pro career
"This has been my goal all year -- to get the AMA Roadrace Horizon Award," said Lewis, who also won the AMA Racing No. 1 plate in the Open SS Expert class. "I'm really excited. I couldn't have done it without Earl Hayden's help. He's sponsored me all these years."
Lewis is a longtime AMA Racing amateur roadracer and dirt-track racer, and has numerous career championships and honors in both disciplines, including the 2009 AMA Youth Roadracer of the Year award. Now, as the AMA Roadrace Horizon Award winner, Lewis joins a class that includes Ben Spies, a three-time AMA Superbike champion, the 2009 FIM World Superbike champion and a current world MotoGP competitor; and current top AMA Pro Racing competitors such as Jason DiSalvo and Blake Young.
"Now I'm going to get ready for Daytona," Lewis said, referring to the famed Daytona 200 roadrace in Daytona Beach, Fla., which traditionally kicks off the AMA Pro Racing roadracing
The AMA Youth Roadracer of the Year Award was won by two riders this year: Nick McFadden, 14, of Owensboro, Ky., and Andre Ochs, 15, of Fallbrook, Calif.
"Both of these young men are great kids, and both did outstanding at the AMA Roadrace Grand Championships," Bromley said when announcing the decision.
McFadden thanked the AMA for the award, and said: "It really means a lot. It's pretty special. The competition was tough. Andre had a really fast bike."
Said Ochs: "This was my first AMA event, so it was awesome to win this award here. The competition was great, especially Nick."
Other awards went to Alex Walker, 24, of Streator, Ill., who earned the AMA Top Novice Award, and Richardo Valdez, 31, of Chicago, who took home the AMA Racing Vet/Senior Roadracer of the Year Award.
"You guys put on a great event and I had a lot of fun," Walker said. "I'm looking forward to coming back again next year as an expert."
Valdez said that he enjoyed the competition at the event.
"Two weeks ago I found out about the Roadrace Grand Championships," Valdez said. "I ran real good, and I was following a fast guy [Jake Lewis]. All the stars lined up for me."
The AMA Racing Roadrace Grand Championships award AMA Racing national titles in a number of roadracing classes for both expert- and novice-ranked riders. It is one several amateur national championship events sanctioned by the AMA. Others include the AMA Racing Ice Race Grand Championships, the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships, the AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships, the AMA Racing Vintage Grand Championships, the AMA Racing Land Speed Grand Championships and the AMA Racing Hillclimb Grand Championships.