Story by Michael Marino
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Dallas Daniels, Kayla Yaakov, Greg Melka and Blake Davis were the big award winners as the 2018 AMA Road Race Grand Championship came to a close Sunday.
Daniels was named the 2018 Nicky Hayden AMA Road Race Horizon Award winner.
Yaakov won the 2018 AMA Novice Road Racer of the Year Award, Melka was named the 2018 AMA Vet/Senior Road Racer of the Year and Davis captured the 2018 AMA Youth Road Racer of the Year Award.
Yaakov and Davis also were among the 12 riders who won AMA class championships at the event.
2018 Nicky Hayden AMA Road Race Horizon Award winner Dallas Daniels (left) with his father Nick Daniels. Photo by Joe Hansen
Daniels, of Mattoon, Ill., won the 2018 Nicky Hayden AMA Road Race Horizon Award and is the first person to win two AMA Horizon Awards. He won the Nicky Hayden AMA Flat Track Horizon Award at the AMA Flat Track Grand Championship in June. Daniels finished sixth in the AMA Lightweight Twins Superstock and 13th in the AMA Lightweight Twins Superbike Expert races on Saturday aboard a Kawasaki Ninja 400. He scored a top-10 finish in the AMA 600 Superbike Expert race on Sunday on a Yamaha YZF-R6, and finished the AMA 600 Superstock Expert race in 13th place. Daniels' father Nick worked as a mechanic for Nicky Hayden early in Hayden's career.
"I had a goal to win two horizon awards, since no one has ever done that before,"
Dallas Daniels said. "I wasn't expecting to win it though. It means so much to me because my dad worked for the Haydens, and Earl [Hayden] helps me out now."
2018 AMA Novice Road Racer of the Year Award winner Kayla Yaakov. Photo by Joe Hansen
Biglerville, Pa., resident Yaakov, 11, won the AMA Lightweight Twins Superstock Novice and AMA Lightweight Twins Superbike Novice races on Saturday on route to winning her second AMA award. She also won 2017 AMA Youth Road Racer of the Year Award. She was competing aboard a Honda-powered Moriwaki 250.
"I just tried to do my best," Yaakov said. "I wasn't expecting to win the Youth Road Racer of the Year award last year either. Just to get another one of these big and important trophies is important to me."
For Melka, 50, it was his first time winning the AMA Vet/Senior Road Racer of the Year Award. The Tampa, Fla., resident began road racing in 2003. He took second place in the AMA 600 Superstock Expert race on Saturday and the AMA 600 Superbike Expert race on Sunday.
"I wasn't expecting this," Melka said. "I was humbled a little bit and shocked, but I appreciate it."
2018 AMA Youth Road Racer of the Year Award winner Blake Davis. Photo by Joe Hansen
Davis, 12, of Lynchburg, Va., won the AMA 300 Superstock Expert race Sunday. He began road racing when he was 6 years old, and is hoping to make his MotoAmerica debut when he is old enough to compete in the MotoAmerica Junior Cup. Davis said he was not expecting to win the award.
"I was just hoping I would get some podiums this weekend," Davis said. "It was a fun race today."
The AMA Road Race Grand Championship is the United States' premier amateur road racing championship event. It was held Oct. 25-28 at Barber Motorsports Park in conjunction with WERA Motorcycle Roadracing's 46th Grand National Finals.
The event drew 155 entries to compete in 14 races, vying for AMA No. 1 plates on Barber Motorsports Park's 2.38-mile road course.
AMA 300 Superstock Expert
- Blake Davis, No. 122, Va., Yamaha 320
Joshua Jovi, No. 102, S.C., Yamaha 320
- Hunter Durham No. 17, Ga., Yamaha 300
AMA 300 Superstock Novice
- Isaiah DeBusk, No. 15, Tenn., Yamaha 300
Owen Fairbairn, No. 48, S.C., Yamaha 300
- Paul McKee, No. 29, Ala., Kawasaki 300
AMA 600 Superbike Expert
- Deion Campbell, No. 194, Calif., Yamaha 600
Greg Melka, No. 71, Fla., Yamaha 600
- Daniel Paine, No. 56, Ga., Yamaha 600
AMA 600 Superbike Novice
- Caleb Odom, No. 529, Ga., Yamaha 600
Jose Lloreda, No. 145, Fla., Yamaha 600
- Steven Roth, No. 38, Pa., Yamaha 600
AMA 1000 Superbike Novice
- Jan Satori, No. 307, Ga., Yamaha 1000
Mike McAbier, No. 257, Ohio, Yamaha 1000
AMA 1000 Superbike Expert
- Geoff May, No. 99, Ga., Kawasaki 1000
Vasiliy Zhulin, No. 16, N.Y., Yamaha 1000
- Michael Hilton, No. 100, Tenn., Ducati 1000