Las Vegas welcomed the American Motorcyclist Association’s awards banquet this past weekend. Held at the Rio Resort and Casino, the banquet allowed the AMA to formally recognize its best racers for their accomplishments in 2007, as well as crown the Speed Athlete of the Year.
The Motocross/Supercross category joined Superbike, ATV, Hillcross, and Supermoto categories for a ceremony with a production level reminiscent of a televised music award show. After a reception and formal dinner, the co-hosted award ceremony first honored the mechanics and techs behind the teams’ success before recognizing each category’s top three finishers.
And it just would not be an award ceremony without hosts trying to ad lib when they should be sticking to the teleprompter. As dynamic as this ceremony’s hosts were, they did provide some semi-awkward exchanges between themselves and honorees, as well as attempt some humor with unfortunate reception. But all in all, the proceedings were entertaining and well-orchestrated.
The first rider in the motocross category to be honored was Ryan Dungey, who accepted the Rookie of the Year honor, which was announced prior to the ceremony. Shortly thereafter, Ryan Villopoto and Ben Townley accepted #1 plates for the West Coast Supercross Lites and East Coast Supercross Lites respectively. Ryan and Ben returned to the stage shortly after to be recognized for their 1-2 overall finish in Outdoor Nationals as well.
James Stewart, Chad Reed, and Tim Ferry made their way to the stage for their performance in the premiere Supercross class. James took the overall title with Chad and Tim finishing 2-3 respectively.
Grant Langston’s championship in the premiere Motocross class brought him to the stage next to be honored, along with second and third place finishers Mike Alessi and Andrew Short.
With the Motocross and Supercross championships honored, the AMA brought the 2007 Motocross of Nations champions onto the stage. James Stewart, who did not participate in the race due to injury, joined Ryan Villopoto, Ricky Carmichael, and James’ replacement Tim Ferry for the honor. After some pleasant words from Roger DeCoster, the team received an enthusiastic applause from the crowd.
The ceremony concluded with the announcement of the AMA Speed Athlete of the Year. Nominees included Supermoto champ Mark Burkhart, Flat Tracker Ken Coobeth, road racers Josh Hayes and Ben Spies, and Motocross phenom Ryan Villopoto. And yes, our sport’s man, RV took the honor. Ryan humbly accepted the honor with a few words at the podium and the night concluded shortly after.