As the checkers fell on Saturday at Steel City Raceway, one of the most unforgettable and ground-breaking seasons in the history of American Motocross came to a close. In the end, a pair of first-time champions stood atop the men’s classes while a young phenom continued to rewrite the history books in the women’s class in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.
Rockstar/Makita Suzuki made it a clean sweep of the 250 and 450 class championships as Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey both captured their inaugural titles in AMA Pro Motocross, while Honda Red Bull Racing’s Ashley Fiolek soldiered to her second consecutive WMX Class crown, the first for a full factory-supported female.
To honor the champions of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship as well as their teams and the other world-class competitors of the series, MX Sports Pro Racing hosted the first annual season-ending celebration at the legendary Grand Concourse in downtown Pittsburgh.
Serving as an opportunity for all members of the industry to get together one final time and commemorate an outstanding summer of racing, the celebration was a who’s who of American Motocross and honored all integral participants of the first season of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. From sponsors to important figures both behind the scenes and out on the track, MX Sports Pro Racing expressed its appreciation for all the support in making 2009 a memorable and successful season while extending congratulations to the top 10 of each class by recognizing them on stage and awarding them medals.
MX Sports Pro Racing also introduced perpetual championship cups for the 450 and 250 classes, as well as for the Women and also ATV Pro riders. Similar to the Borg-Warner Trophy for the Indy 500, the Harley J. Earl Trophy for the Dayton 500, or the Chamberlain Cup for the Motocross of Nations, the new cups serve as historical symbols of the sport of American Motocross, honoring each champion and their team since the inception of AMA Pro Motocross in 1972 by engraving the winners’ names on the trophy.
The Edison Dye Motocross Cup for the 450 Class is named for the late Edison Dye, a motocross pioneer and organizer of the first professional motocross series in this country. The Gary Jones Motocross Cup for the 250 Class is named after the first multi-time champion in AMA Motocross. Jones won the inaugural ’72 series title in the 250 Class and then successfully defended his title in ’73 and ’74. Each of these trophies will reside at American Suzuki’s headquarters in Brea, Calif. for the next year.
The Women’s Motocross Cup, presented by WMA founder Miki Keller, will travel to Torrance, Calif. where it will rest at the headquarters of Ashley Fiolek’s Honda Red Bull Racing team, while the Gary Denton ATV Pro Cup, named for the ATV legend, will also reside at America Suzuki, as series champion Dustin Wimmer is also a member of the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team.
In addition to their on-track success, Reed, Valli Motorsports Yamaha’s Kyle Regal, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Justin Barcia and Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Sara Price were given special recognition for their efforts in 2009.
After returning to the outdoor nationals for the first time since 2006, Reed showcased an unrelenting determination to achieve the only championship to elude him in his career and for that he was named the 2009 Sportsman of the Year.
Regal turned heads from the beginning of the season, showing outstanding speed as a true privateer competitor. He made the transition to Valli Motorsports halfway through the season and despite not having any factory support, became a fixture at the front of the pack. His efforts resulted in the 450 Rookie of the Year award.
Barcia was a revelation in the 250 Class, showing the world how talented he is by leading most of the laps in his very first professional race. His relentless, hard-charging style needed to be acclimated to the pace and distance of professional motocross and once he figured out what it took, he was a regular front-runner, breaking through for his first career victory at Southwick. There is little doubt based on his fifth place result in the standings that Barcia was named 250 Rookie of the Year.
For Price, her rookie season at the top level of women’s motocross was met with some adversity, but the 17-year-old amateur star never gave up and claimed fourth in the season standings, leading to WMX Rookie of the Year honors.
With the success of the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship on the track, the season-ending celebration served as a fitting conclusion to look back on the summer that was and much like the sport, it will continue to grow as the years pass.
"We would really like to thank all of the riders and teams, plus their families and our industry friends, for coming out to celebrate a job well done by all," said MX Sports VP Carrie Russell. "Spending the evening celebrating and bench-racing was a great way to put an exclamation point on the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship."
Other awards given on Sunday evening included:
Team Manager of the Year: Roger DeCoster
Doug Henry Award: Ivan Tedesco
Motocross Team of the Year: Warthog Racing Academy
Event of the Year: RedBud
Transport Driver of the Year: Andy Holl (Honda Red Bull Racing)
ATV Rookie of the Year: Thomas Brown
ATV Manufacturers Cup: American Suzuki