The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

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 

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