Wayne Rainey - Motorcyclists of the Year
Wayne Rainey has a lengthy list of achievements both on and off the race track. This - along with his drive-forward attitude - has helped him achieve one of the coolest statuses ever - AMA Motorcyclist of the Year.
The American Motorcyclist Association's Motorcyclist of the Year is awarded annually by the AMA Board of Directors and “recognizes the person or persons who had the most profound impact within the motorcycling community in the previous 12 months.”
Rainey has achieved much in the past 12 months, including the revitalization of North American road racing through MotoAmerica, the organization Rainey had founded that replaced AMA Pro Road Racing (still sanctioned under AMA Pro Racing).
The three-time MotoGP and two-time AMA SuperBike champion, who is confined to a wheelchair due to a crash at the 1993 Misano GP that ended his racing career, is president of MotoAmerica.
"Wayne Rainey and his partners and employees at MotoAmerica demonstrated in 2015 that they had the knowledge, fortitude and collective wisdom to not only restore professional road racing in America to greatness, but to reinvigorate an industry and fan base that had been languishing for years," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman.
"That success is built firmly on the foundation of Wayne's character and perseverance to be successful at what so many before him have realized is one of racing's most challenging tasks. Where others failed, Wayne is succeeding, and his efforts transcend the sport itself in many ways. It is therefore my great honor to recognize Wayne Rainey as the 2015 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year.”
MotoAmerica took the reins of professional road racing in late 2014. That's when a deal was struck between and among MotoAmerica, Daytona Motorsports Group and the AMA that enabled MotoAmerica to take over commercial and promotional responsibility for professional road racing in America and restored the AMA as the sanctioning body for professional road racing, the AMA reports.
In 2015, MotoAmerica operated the first season of its professional road racing series, sanctioned by the AMA and FIM North America. The MotoAmerica series, the new home of the AMA Superbike Championship, built a strong platform and set professional road racing in America on a new path for success, the AMA reports.
"One season alone does not make a successful race series," Dingman said. "But guided by Wayne's ideals of fairness and integrity, and his overarching goal of preparing U.S. riders to challenge for world titles, MotoAmerica is clearly on a path toward long-term success."
The full story of Rainey's creation and development of MotoAmerica can be found in the January issue of American Motorcyclist, the official journal of the AMA.