BURKHART BECOMES FIRST AMA SUPERMOTO LITES CHAMPION PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 28, 2005) -- Mark Burkhart, 25, of Pickerington, Ohio, wrapped up the 2005 AMA Supermoto Lites Championship with a victory Saturday (Sept. 24) at the Music City ...
BURKHART BECOMES FIRST AMA SUPERMOTO LITES CHAMPION
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 28, 2005) -- Mark Burkhart, 25, of Pickerington, Ohio, wrapped up the 2005 AMA Supermoto Lites Championship with a victory Saturday (Sept. 24) at the Music City Motorplex in Nashville, Tenn. Burkhart, who rode for the Graves Motorsports Yamaha team, becomes the first champion in the inaugural season of the AMA Supermoto Lites Series.
Burkhart dominated his class this season, winning all five rounds leading up to the series finale in Reno, this coming weekend.
"Tonight is special," said Burkhart on the podium at Nashville. "This is what I've worked hard all year for. It's great for Graves Yamaha and all the people that helped me get this championship. It's just too bad Doug (Henry) got hurt, I know he would have won (his) class for the team too."
Burkhart was speaking of his Graves Yamaha teammate Doug Henry, who led the AMA Supermoto Championship earlier in the season before being forced to miss the rest of the year after suffering injuries in a crash at the Copper Mountain, Colo., race.
Despite getting a relatively poor start in Nashville, Burkhart quickly diced his way to the front of the pack and ran away to claim his fifth consecutive Supermoto Lites victory. Even though Brandon Currie -- his closest competitor in the points -- finished second, Burkhart's win elevated him into a 25-point lead, meaning the best Currie can do at the season finale is tie Burkhart (and lose the tiebreaker due to Burkhart's five victories).
Burkhart claimed nerves didn't bother him as he closed in on the championship.
"My mechanic was joking with me back in the pits that everyone else on the team was more nervous than I was," Burkhart said. "I tried not to get all worked up. Earlier in the day I was a little nervous, but I worked that out and was fine by the time the race started." Burkhart says he will not go for the perfect season by racing the Supermoto Lites class in Reno, but instead will represent Graves Yamaha in the featured AMA Supermoto class at the Red Bull Supermoto A-Go-Go this coming Saturday.
Burkhart is a third-year AMA Supermoto competitor. He comes from a motocross and supercross background. He scored a top-10 finish in the AMA 125 East Supercross round in Atlanta in 2000. Burkhart earned a qualifying spot in some half-dozen motocross events in 1999 and 2000 and scored national points at his home circuit of Troy, Ohio. Injuries started to catch up to Burkhart and his dream of becoming a motocross star began to look bleak. Burkhart decided to try supermoto for fun and discovered that he was good at it.
Burkhart plans on graduating to the AMA Supermoto class and competing full-time in 2006.
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 Motocross Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.