More than 195 motorcycle and ATV hillclimbers faced off at the 2015 AMA Hillclimb Grand Championship, held Aug. 8-9 in Waterford, Ohio. At the conclusion of the weekend, 24 champions were crowned in various competition classes.
Luke Cipala named AMA Hillclimb Rider of the Year
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- More than 195 motorcycle and ATV hillclimbers faced off at the 2015 AMA Hillclimb Grand Championship, held Aug. 8-9 in Waterford, Ohio. At the conclusion of the weekend, 24 champions were crowned in various competition classes.
"The Pioneer Motorcycle Club put together a phenomenal hill for our competitors to tackle," said AMA Track Racing Manager Ken Saillant. "The turn at the base of the hill was a challenge that tested each rider's ability to approach the hill and allowed the top riders to shine.
"Congratulations to all of the competitors who took home AMA National No. 1 plates from the event," Saillant said.
In addition to national championships, racers competed for AMA Hillclimb Rider of the Year, AMA ATV Hillclimb Rider of the Year and Youth Hillclimb Rider of the Year specialty awards.
Fifteen-year-old Luke Cipala of Ellsworth, Wis., was named the AMA Hillclimb Rider of the Year. He rode the 125cc, 200cc, 250cc and 450cc classes, taking home the national championships in the 200cc and 250cc classes.
"I was at this track in 2008 for the national, and that's when I won my first national championship in the mini class," Cipala said. "It means a lot to win this award. There's a lot of fast people that could get this award, and I'm honored that they chose me."
Bodee O'Neil (pictured left) of Hager City, Wis., captured the AMA Hillclimb Youth Rider of the Year award. He won the 65cc national championship and got second in the 85cc Mini Junior class.
"It means everything," O'Neil said of the honor. "I've won it two years in a row now, and I'm really happy. I've been riding hillclimbs since I was 3. I like the challenge."
Kenny O'Brien (pictured below) of Warner, Ohio, captured the ATV Hillclimb Rider of the Year award. He raced in the 450 two-stroke, open two-stroke and vet ATV classes.
"It means a lot," O'Brien said who lives just 20 minutes from the facility. "It feels good. I've been doing it for about 18 years. I've ridden on this hill many times."
Austin Coon (pictured right) of Spencer, W.Va., took home the exhibition award for "King of the Hill" from the event promoter. To receive the honor, the riders with the top 10 fastest times of the weekend competed in a one-run class at the end of the program on Sunday.
"I think I won my last national championship in 2007, so this is the first time I've won one the 400cc stock wheelbase class and got King of the Hill," Coon said. "That's the first time I've ever won this award, so I'm pretty excited about it."
Coon said the hill got slick on Sunday and it was a "battle for traction more than speed."
The 2015 AMA Hillclimb National Champions are:
ATV 450 Two-Stroke: Kenny O'Brien
ATV 450 Four-Stroke: Eric Dumm
ATV Open Two-Stroke: Josh Schafer
ATV Open Four-Stroke: Matt Novak
ATV 450 Senior: Kenny O'Brien
Micro Mini: Lane Brookshaw
65cc: Bodee O'Neil
Mini Girls: Hannah Shilling
Mini Junior: Brandon Hager
Mini Senior: Gage Stear
Super Mini: Sami Jerls
125cc: Brock Riffe
200cc: Luke Cipala
250cc: Luke Cipala
450cc: Steve Cain
600cc: Joseph McGurer
750cc: Travis Schroedl
Open: Curt Mueller
400cc Stock: Austin Coon
Open Stock: Joseph McGurer
Four-Stroke: Nathan Prebe
Womens: Amber Fraedrich
Senior: Todd Cipala
Super Senior: Gary Slater
Hillclimb is one of the American Motorcyclist Association's oldest disciplines, and the AMA Hillclimb Grand Championship always draws the country's top amateur hillclimbers, who are each determined to get the fastest time to the top of the hill.