AMA Horizon Award: Hayden Gillim

AMA Racing News

Hayden Gillim, a 15-year-old roadracer from Philpot, Ky., earned the prestigious American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Roadrace Horizon Award at the AMA Racing Road Race Grand Championships, July 12-14, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Gillim, who is the cousin of 2006 World MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden, won three races and finished second in another to earn the coveted award, which is given to the amateur roadracer who shows the most promise for a successful professional roadracing career.

Joe Bromley (AMA Director of Racing) says: “Hayden was impressive all week, taking every challenge and, just as importantly, conducted himself as a professional would. We expect big things from this young man’s talent on the professional roadrace circuits, and this award represents our confidence that Hayden can deliver on those expectations.”

Gillim had his sights set on the Horizon Award from the first day of the three-day event. He was elated to see his dream come true.

Hayden Gillim says: “I feel amazing. I feel great. It’s a hard award to get. I had to work for it. Garrett Gerloff gave me a hard time.”

Gillim is also a talented dirt-track racer and is currently vying for the AMA Dirt Track Horizon Award at the AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships in Du Quoin, Ill.

Other special awards were also presented at the AMA Racing Road Race Grand Championships. Garrett Gerloff, 14, of Trussville, Ala., earned the AMA Youth Rider of the Year Award, Nemo Cockrell of Oklahoma City, Okla., earned the AMA Roadrace Top Novice Award, and Gene Burcham of Plainfield, Ind., took home the AMA Vet/Senior Roadracer of the Year Award.

Gerloff, who was Gillim’s toughest competition for the Horizon Award and battled with the older racer throughout the event, said he was pleased to earn the AMA Youth Rider of the Year Award.

Garret Gerloff says: “This is awesome. I get to go to Las Vegas (referring to the AMA Racing Championship Banquet set for Nov. 21 at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas). I’m really excited. And I’m really happy for Hayden. He really deserves it. He beat me three times straight up.”

Gillim began roadracing as a Novice in 2006 and earned his Expert license in 2007. He finished second in the AMA Red Bull Rookies Cup Championship in 2008, and was chosen to compete in the MotoGP Red Bull Rookies Cup Series in 2009. He also has earned 10 AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand National Championship No. 1 plates.

The AMA Racing Road Race Grand Championships award AMA Racing national championships in a number of roadracing classes for both expert- and novice-ranked riders. Not only do riders get ample track time and an opportunity to race against the country’s fastest amateur racers, but the best compete for the AMA Roadracing Horizon Award, which goes to the rider showing the most promise for success in the professional ranks.

Past winners of the AMA Roadracing Horizon Award have included Ben Spies, Blake Young, Jason DiSalvo and Miles Thornton. Other awards at the event include the AMA Racing Top Novice Award, the AMA Racing Youth Award — presented to an outstanding racer under the age of 16 — and the AMA Racing Vet/Senior Award, presented to a standout rider who is 30 years old or older.