AMA

Jeff Ward earns Athlete of the Year nomination

Ward earns 2004 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year nomination PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 29, 2004) -- Jeff Ward has received a nomination for the 2004 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year. At 43 Ward is the oldest rider...

Ward earns 2004 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year nomination

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 29, 2004) -- Jeff Ward has received a nomination for the 2004 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year. At 43 Ward is the oldest rider ever to earn a nomination for the Athlete of the Year, which is the highest honor bestowed on a motorcycle racer in America. He won the award in 1989 after winning the AMA 500cc Motocross Championship and being a member of that year's winning U.S. Motocross des Nations team.

Ward, the Scottish-born racer who began his professional racing career in 1978, is launching his third racing career. After winning seven AMA Motocross and Supercross titles, primarily in the 1980s, Ward switched to open-wheel cars. He was named Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1997 and went on to have a successful stint in the Indy Racing League. In addition to winning one race and finishing as high as sixth in the final season standings, Ward had finishes of second (1999), third (1997) and fourth (2000) in the Indianapolis 500.

Even though he made a successful jump to car racing, Ward never left his motorcycle racing roots. He continued using motocross and later supermoto as a training tool to maintain fitness and keep his racing reflexes sharp. The training regimen paid off, and Ward proved he'd lost none of his renowned speed and aggressiveness when he returned to AMA Pro Racing last year with the launch of the AMA Supermoto Championship. He won three rounds of the series in its inaugural season.

This year Ward took over the lead of the AMA Supermoto Championship after winning the second round in Copper Mountain, Colo., and has held the No. 1 spot in the series standings ever since, even though he has ridden much of the season with an injured leg. He needs only to finish fourth or better at the Las Vegas Supermoto-a-Go-Go on Nov. 13, to secure his eighth AMA racing championship.

"I think supermoto has a great future and I'm glad to be a part of reviving the sport in America," Ward said. "This has been a great season for me and the Troy Lee Designs Honda team. It would be even better if we can take care of business in Las Vegas and win the championship."

Ward's roots in supermoto racing are deep. He finished third in the very first ABC's Wide World of Sports Superbikers competition at Carlsbad (Calif.) Raceway in 1979 that launched what later become known as supermoto.

Ward joins Mat Mladin and Ricky Carmichael as nominees for this year's AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year Award. Past recipients include racing legends such as Bob Hannah, Kenny Roberts, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Scott Parker, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael.

The 2004 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year will be announced at the 30th annual AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet, to be held at the Paris Las Vegas, on Sunday, Nov. 14. For more information on the banquet, call (614) 856-1900, ext. 1232.

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Series AMA
Drivers Jeff Ward , Ricky Carmichael , Jeremy McGrath , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Eddie Lawson , Freddie Spencer