Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Vintage Racers Win National Titles at 2011 AMA Racing Vintage Grand Championships
by James Holter
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Three riders rose to the top of the ranks, earning AMA Racing Vintage Grand Champion honors at the AMA Racing Vintage Grand Championships July 22-24 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
The annual amateur national championship event ran in conjunction with AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days featuring Kawasaki, Marque of the Year. The three-day event celebrated motorcycling heritage, with proceeds benefitting the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio.
Adam Giddings won the 2011 AMA Racing Off-Road Vintage Grand Championship, Todd Narduzzi grabbed the 2011 AMA Racing Track Racing Vintage Grand Champion title, and Tim Shepard took home the 2011 AMA Racing Senior Off-Road Vintage Grand Champion trophy.
"The AMA Racing Vintage Grand Championships are growing, and AMA Racing appreciates the increasing support of our members at this exciting event," said AMA Director of Racing Joe Bromley. "All three of our AMA Racing Vintage Grand Champions earned the respect and recognition of both AMA Racing and their fellow racers this weekend."
The AMA Racing Vintage Grand Championships include vintage and post-vintage racing in hare scrambles, motocross, trials, roadracing and dirt track in a range of classes. The AMA Racing Vintage Grand Champions are the riders who emerge with the highest combined score in vintage classes carrying the "A" designation, which represents the fastest riders on the course.
ADAM GIDDINGS WINS OFF-ROAD VINTAGE CROWN
Battling the teammate who he tied for the honor in 2010, Team Pentovarna rider Adam Giddings of Little Hocking, Ohio, edged out his friend and rival, Cory Buttrick, as the 2011 AMA Racing Off-Road Vintage Grand Champion.
Giddings took an early lead in the race for the Grand Champion trophy when Buttrick hit a rock and bent a shifter while running at the front of the vintage hare scrambles event. Both riders won their motocross races. In the trials competition, Buttrick outperformed Giddings, but it wasn't enough to overcome the earlier DNF. Giddings won the title by 3 points.
"It's great to go out there and ride with Cory," Giddings said. "We have a great time here. Every time I come here, I just try to have fun. We're not really thinking about the overall title so much. We just go out and try to get good results in each event and see what happens."
Riders such as 22-year-old Giddings, 20-year-old Buttrick and 25-year-old Josh Gaitten, who won a championship in post-vintage motocross, represent a younger generation of vintage racers that has brought a fresh interest and a new level of speed to the AMA Racing Vintage Grand Championships.
"It's an adaptation to adjust to the older bikes -- the suspension, the brakes -- but it's not hard, especially for guys who grew up with these motorcycles," Giddings said. "It's a good starting point for someone looking to race. It's fun, the tracks aren't hard, and there are good people out here. There are a lot of veterans out here willing to help."
Both Giddings and Buttrick raced for Team Pentovarna. Owned by Kent Knudson and supported by Gary Roach, Kevin Brown, James Giddings and Dennis Buttrick, Team Pentovarna fields Penton motorcycles in vintage competition. In the late 1970s, the Penton brand -- which was founded by American off-road racing legend and Motorcycle Hall of Famer John Penton -- was sold to KTM.
TODD NARDUZZI TAKES TRACK RACING HONOR
Todd Narduzzi, 45, of Wadsworth, Ohio, rode his 1968 Honda 450 to victory in the Grand Prix 500 and Clubman 500 roadracing classes on both Saturday and Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. And in his first dirt-track race of the year, he earned points at the Ashland County Fairgrounds in the 500 Masters class, finishing 10th.
The four wins on the roadrace course combined with the points he gained flat tracking gave Narduzzi the points he needed to earn the prestigious title of AMA Racing Track Racing Vintage Grand Champion.
"This certainly means a lot to me," Narduzzi said. "It's a true honor. The AMA does a good job at VMD. Someone said it's like the Superbowl of [vintage racing]. I only hope that I can live up to what this honor means."
Narduzzi said he attended the AMA Racing Championship Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, Nev., last year and had a great time. He is already planning to attend this year.
"We're amateurs, but for one day we get to feel like pros," he said, referring to the awards banquet.
TIM SHEPARD CLAIMS SENIOR TITLE
The closest race for an AMA Racing Grand Champion trophy was the battle between Tim Shepard and Tim Ferguson for the AMA Racing Senior Off-Road Vintage Grand Championship, a new award created for 2011 that recognizes the fastest off-road racer in senior classes.
Behind in championship points going into the final event, the trials competition, Shepard, from Sugar Grove, Ohio, put in a strong ride to win the title by only 2 points, 46 to Ferguson's 44.
"Trials is not my forte," said the 52-year-old Shepard. "This was my second time riding trials, and after the first loop, I was ready to give up."
He stuck it out, though, and came through with the championship -- an honor he initially didn't plan on chasing.
"I wasn't even going to attempt to win this," he said. "I was going to race the hare scambles and be done, but my friends pushed me through. This is a real honor, and I can't thank them enough for their help and support this weekend."
Shepard's biggest challenge came in motocross during the first 40-plus moto. He had just passed for the lead on the white flag lap when his drive chain came off. He put it back on, but it immediately jumped off again. When Shepard more closely examined his bike, he noticed that the swingarm was cracked.
"I pushed it across the line for 10th place, and after the moto my mechanic was able to fix it with the swingarm off a second bike," he said. "I won the second moto, so that helped."
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS WON
Now in its third year, the AMA Racing Vintage Grand Championships offer national recognition for vintage competitors in numerous disciplines. In addition to recognizing the AMA Racing Vintage Grand Champions, class national championships were decided in trials, vintage motocross and hare scrambles, post-vintage motocross and hare scrambles, and roadracing.
The event's dirt-track event is a round of the AMA Racing Vintage Dirt Track National Championship Series.
Results from all classes will be at AMARacing.com, while photography from the entire weekend will be available shortly at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Gallery. From the gallery, racers can download for free high-resolution images from both the track and the podium.
"This event is so enjoyable because it really brings out some of the best AMA Racing competitors," Bromley said. "Vintage racers are a great crowd, and we're honored to recognize them with national awards. Even though they may be racing bikes that are older than they are, these riders have some of the most fun on two wheels. I invite all of our class champions to come to the 2011 AMA Racing Championship Banquet this November where I can personally award them their AMA Racing No. 1 plates."
The AMA Racing Championship Banquet will take place at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, Nev., on Nov. 20 as part of the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend. The weekend will kick off with the 2011 induction ceremony for the Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 18. On Saturday, Nov. 19, some of the country's finest restored and original-condition classic motorcycles will take part in the Dave Mungenast Memorial Motorcycle Hall of Fame Concours d'Elegance bike show. Also part of the weekend is the final round of the GEICO/AMA Endurocross National Championship Series, which will be held at the Orleans Arena on Nov. 19. Tickets and reservation information are available at AmericanMotorcyclist.com.