AMA: Ben Spies wins AMA Road Race Horizon Award
2 August 2000
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The AMA Road Race Grand Championships were pretty good for Texas teenager Ben Spies. Over that June 12-13 event, he turned 16, won three finals in the AMA Grand Championships at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and he was named the 2000 AMA Road Race Horizon Award winner. Spies, of Longview, Texas, hopes to follow in the footsteps of other Horizon Award winners who have gone on to successful pro careers, such as the road-racing brothers Nicky and Roger Lee Hayden and motocross star Travis Pastrana. Spies, who rides a Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki, won two finals on Wednesday and took the win in the final race of the championships on Thursday. Spies' momentum carried well into the weekend running of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championships, where he entered his first pro race. The recently crowned Road Race Horizon Award winner finished seventh in the competitive Lockhart Phillips 750 SuperSport race -- an impressive debut. Spies was honored to win the award, but seemed even more focused on his pro debut. "It's great to win an award like this, but you can't let it go to your head," he said. "I know that riding against the pros is going to mean I have to bring my riding to a new level. It does give me a certain amount of confidence knowing that I've put a good number of pretty decent laps on the track before the pro weekend starts. "I wanted to race this event mainly to get ready for my pro debut, but in the back of my mind I was thinking about winning the Horizon Award," he continued. "I found out that some pretty good riders, like Nicky Hayden, have won it in the past, so it's nice to have my name in there with some of those guys." Spies started road racing 50cc minibikes at the age of 8. He began a relationship with Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki after an impressive trial run in the Suzuki GSXR600 Cup finals during the WERA Grand National Finals in October, where he finished second. He will be a high school junior this fall.