Ryan Sipes – AMA Athlete of the Year
When Ryan Sipes went pro in 2005, he was quickly recognized for his speed in both the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and Monster Energy Supercross championships. But following the birth of his daughter, Sipes ended his motocross/supercross career after the 2013 season.
Sipes then moved onto off-road competition, and immediately became a major player. His performance levels escalated quickly, and in 2015 the Airgroup/Rockstar Energy Husqvarna pilot became the first US-based rider in history to garner individual honors at International Six Days Enduro (ISDE).
This led to a huge award – the 2015 AMA Athlete of the Year. Shortly after receiving the award, MX Sports Pro Racing – the organizers of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, and its partners NBC Sports, honored Sipes for the reward and his performance at the ISDE, which is considered the off-road the off-road counterpart to the Motorcross of Nations (MXon).
Six rider teams, comprised completely of a particular nation’s top off-road racers, create the field in the ISDE. Every year, the riders face new challenges in an unfamiliar country, as the competition takes place on new soil each time. Unlike the MXoN, which is wrapped up in a single weekend, the ISDE is a harrowing six day enduro race exclusively made up of the toughest terrain available. Winners are determined by combined overall times from each stage, with the lowest time claiming victory.
Revered among off-road riders, the ISDE has solidified itself in the motorsports community as one of the leading off-road competitions. In spite of the fact that Spies has limited experience in off-road events, with only two consecutive years to his name after departing from a full time Pro Motocross career at the close of the 2013 season, Spies has managed to become a force to be reckoned with in the discipline.
During his first year participating in the Grand National Cross Country Racing Series, Spies managed to claim a commendable eighth place overall finish. In 2015, he bested that by finishing sixth overall.
Due to his quick rise in the off-road world, he was selected for the 2015 ISDE in Slovakia for Team USA which won its first World Team Trophy. Spies’ showed massive amounts of determinations while the team faced adversity that hampered their efforts and still secured a first for a U.S. born off-road racer, making history in the process.
“What Ryan accomplished in Slovakia cannot but understated,” said MX Sports Pro Racing President Davey Coombs. “Since 1913 the American contingent has valiantly fought for off-road racing’s most coveted trophy, only to come up empty in every attempt. Team USA has made exceptional gains in recent years, but still has never tasted victory of any kind. In winning the individual overall Ryan can boast that he was the best off-roader in the world, and will forever be known as the ‘first American’ for this historic achievement. His motocross skillset undoubtedly factored into his ability to achieve this feat and hopefully his success is a stepping stone for further success for Team USA at the ISDE.”
While managing a full racing calendar with both GNCC and the ISDE, Sipes never forgot his Pro Motorcross beginnings by take part in three stops of the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Muddy Creek Raceway, High Point Raceway and Ironman Raceway. Sipes secured top 10 finishes in every race which is extremely commendable considering how busy the man is these days.
The Factory Husqvarna team and Sipes have signed on the 2016 GNCC competition. The opening in round begins on Saturday, March 5, 2016 with the Moose Racing Wild Boar in Palatka, Fla.