Bobby Bonds named AMA Rookie of the Year

Bobby Bonds is the 2001 AMA Motocross/Supercross Rookie of the Year. The 17-year-old rider from Bakersfield, Calif., finished the year ranked 15th in his debut season in the AMA East Region 125 Supercross Series and 19th in the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championships. Although nagging injuries cut short his rookie season in both supercross and motocross, his season included five top-10 finishes in supercross and motocross and was highlighted by a second-place finish in the first 125 moto at the Hangtown event in Sacramento, Calif. Bonds has been considered one of the top up-and-coming amateur riders in the country for years. He won championships in the AMA Amateur Motocross Nationals as well as numerous West Coast motocross titles during his amateur career.

Bonds was scheduled to make his pro debut during the motocross season in 2000, but injuries delayed his start. Again a pre-season injury kept him from racing the full supercross season in 2001. He finally made his professional debut at the Indianapolis Supercross in February, and despite not being 100 percent healthy, Bonds managed to finish a very credible 10th.

Bonds looked very promising at times during the 2001 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship. He finished second in the first 125 moto at Hangtown and battled for the lead in the second moto before suffering a hard crash. He came back and earned a season best seventh overall in Budds Creek, Md. The season came to a premature end for Bonds when he was advised to have surgery on his elbow after the Troy, Ohio, round. Despite his season being cut short, he’d still turned in strong enough performances to earn the Rookie of the Year Award.

“Winning Rookie of the Year is the best news I’ve had all year,” said Bonds, who began racing when he was four and grew up idolizing Micky Dymond and later Jeremy McGrath. “My goal for 2002 is to stay healthy and try to get a few podium finishes.” Bonds will return with the Splitfire/Pro Circuit Kawasaki squad this coming season and will again race in the 125 division in both supercross and motocross.

Bonds will receive his award at the AMA Pro Racing Champions Awards Banquet, Dec. 7, at the Desert Springs Marriott Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, Calif.