The Honda Red Rider Junior Supermoto Challenge presented by the Honda Riders Club of America is putting America’s future motorcycle racing stars in the limelight. The Junior Challenge is part of the AMA Supermoto Championship and features up-and-coming riders between the ages of 12 and 15. The riders compete on the same track that the big AMA Supermoto stars race on and the juniors ride identically prepared Honda CRF150s. All riding gear is supplied to the kids as well.
Junior Supermoto was formed as a way to give exposure to young riders who are coming up in the amateur racing ranks. Danny Walker, a former AMA road racer, administers the Honda Junior Supermoto program along with his American Supercamp. Walker is terrific with the kids giving them riding pointers as well as encouragement.
“Sometimes I think Danny is more pumped up than the kids,” said Chris Bradley, AMA Supermoto Series Manager. “The fans also seem to enjoy watching the talented young riders tackle the challenging supermoto tracks.”
Already some of the Junior Supermoto riders are making names for themselves. Mike and Jeff Alessi were top riders in Junior Supermoto last season. Mike won the Las Vegas finale last season, earned the 2004 AMA Sports Horizon Award in motocross, and has gone on to become a leading prospect in the AMA Chevrolet Motocross Championship.
This year winners such as Jamie Siever, J.D. Beach, Brandon Dooley, Troy Estabrook and Shane Narbonne are sharing the supermoto spotlight with stars like Jeff Ward and Doug Henry.
Another interesting aspect of Junior Supermoto is seeing the second-generation riders of popular AMA riders. Former Daytona 200 winner David Sadowski’s son Matt competes in the Junior Supermoto Challenge (his big brother David Jr. is already racing the main Supermoto class). Logan and Lucas Scherb, son of 2003 Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance champ Scott Scherb, are Junior Supermoto regulars. Shayna Texter, daughter of former AMA Grand National rider Randy Texter is another second generation Junior Supermoto racer as is Aaron King, Rich’s son. In the upcoming race in Del Mar, Calif., Brandon Ward, son of AMA Supermoto Championship leader Jeff Ward, is slated to make his debut in Junior Supermoto.
Walker says perhaps the best thing about Junior Supermoto is that the kids really strive to do well in school so they can meet the requirements to race in the challenge.
“One neat story is the one of Andrew Brown,” Walker says. “Andrew wrote me a letter explaining how much he wanted to race, but how he had challenges that were keeping him from doing well in school. I called and learned a little more about Andrew and then I talked to him and said, ‘C’mon, don’t use those things as an excuse. You’re mom is willing to get you a tutor and everything. I think you can do better in school.’
“Why don’t you really buckle down and see what you can do and if you can at least show that you’re making progress in your classes we’ll get you in the race.
“He worked hard and did it. He brought his grades up and his mom was so happy when she told me about it she had tears in her eyes.”
AMA Pro Racing awards a U.S. Savings Bond to the top three finishers in the Junior Supermoto Challenge providing they hold a “B” average in school. Last year’s recipients of the bonds were Mike Alessi, Jamie Siever and Aaron King.
For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information and much more, log onto www.amasupermoto.com.
About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Chevrolet Motocross Championship, the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship, the AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.