Motorcycle Racing's Best Honored at AMA Pro Racing Championship Awards Banquet - News - Dirt Rider Magazine

It was a star-studded evening Sunday where all of motorcycle racing gathered for the 31st Annual AMA Pro Racing Championship Awards Banquet at Paris Las Vegas. The evening was hosted by Jamie Little and Todd Harris. Champions of 2005 were honored and highlights of the evening included the announcement of the 2005 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year Award and the special announcement that Toyota signed as the new series sponsor of the AMA Motocross Championship. The evening continued with an after party hosted by Toyota.AMA Pro Racing's SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year Award is the highest honor an AMA racer can receive. Past recipients include such racing greats as Bob Hannah, Scott Parker and Kenny Roberts, among others. Essentially, the award goes to the rider judged to have had the most successful racing year. A "lifetime achievement" approach can also be considered if the season complements a remarkable career.Ricky Carmichael was named the 2005 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year. Setting yet another record, Carmichael is the only rider to have won Athlete of the Year four times. In accepting the award RC thanked his team, sponsors and complimented his fellow competitors."It was a great night of celebration," said AMA Pro Racing Vice President and Director of Communications Kerry Graeber. "It was nice to honor Ricky Carmichael as AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year. Ricky had a remarkable season and added to his already solid legacy among the greatest riders in the history of AMA racing. It was also a real thrill to make the Toyota announcement. We look forward to a successful relationship with them and hope to push AMA Motocross to even higher levels of recognition."Others honored on Sunday night included the 2005 AMA Pro Racing Rookies of the Year. Nick Cummings, of Mount Morris, Mich., was named the 2005 Ricky Graham Flat Track Rookie of the Year. Cummings, 19, battled back from injury to finish ranked 15th in the 2005 AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship.Jason Perez earned the 2005 AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year Award. The 21-year-old second generation AMA road racer from Brentwood, Calif., finished ranked 27th in the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited in spite of only participating in the final six rounds of the 17-race series and battling back from a serious elbow injury.Juss Laansoo made his first full season racing AMA Motocross a successful one by earning the AMA Motocross/Supercross Rookie of the Year honors. Laansoo, a native of Estonia, burst onto the scene this year with a fifth-place finish in the 250 class at Hangtown in May.Chris Carr was awarded the AMA Pro Racing Sportsman of the Year and Pro Circuit's Mitch Payton received the Award of Mechanical Excellence. Along with Carr, the Motocross of Nations Team USA, Mat Mladin and Danny Walker were nominated for the Sportsman Award. Richard Stanboli and Kenny Tolbert were nominated along with Payton for the Award of Mechanical Excellence.Introduced in 2004, AMA Pro Racing recognized advertisers and agencies for race win advertising. For the second year, Fox Racing took the prize for best ad, and The Creative Works who represents Suzuki, won for best campaign.AMA President Rob Rasor presented the Chamberlain Trophy to the 2005 Motocross of Nations winning team of Ricky Carmichael, Ivan Tedesco and Kevin Windham.AMA Sports top athletes were also recognized. Honored for their achievements in amateur racing were Horizon Award winners, Ryan Villopoto for Motocross, Stevie Bonsey for Dirt Track and Blake Young for Road Race. Juhu Salminen was crowned earlier on Friday with the 2005 AMA Sports Athlete of the Year.About AMA Pro RacingAMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship presented by FMF, the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit