This award has special meaning as it is not automatically presented to the Grand National Cross Country Champion at the end of the year. Riders from the top ten of the GNCC classes attending the GNCC Banquet make a special vote for their choice of a deserving rider.For his winning ways, he also collected a championship ring and trophy commemorating his amazing first AMA off-road season. In addition, Salminen was officially presented with the GNCC National number one plate, even though he received one when he wrapped up his season at round 12 in Clairsville, OH. The Finnish rider burst onto the 2005 GNCC circuit and dominated in his first year of AMA competition, which in turn, earned him the 2005 AMA Amateur Athlete of the Year. Juha was honored at the AMA Awards Banquet in the Orleans Hotel and Casino in late November. Juha now joins the ranks of such great riders like Ricky Carmichael, Mike Lafferty, and three-time award winner, Dick Burleson.Salminen won nine of the thirteen rounds in the series, collecting the AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Championship.Juha said, "This is a great honor for me; I now have received the AMA Amateur rider of the Year and the GNCC Rider of the Year. I came to the States to win and with the help of my mechanic, Antti Kalloneen and the KTM Off-Road team, I have been able to succeed. I know that the American off-road riders will be after me, and I am prepared. I am looking forward to next year."