By Ashley Price
2017 MotoAmerica AMA Superbike Champion Tony Elias made an appearance on Sept. 21 at AIMExpo at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, to talk about his year of racing and winning in the MotoAmerica series.
"I'm so honored," said Elias. "I'm very happy and it was such a nice thing to have this opportunity."
Elias became the 21st different AMA Superbike Champion as he wrapped up the championship with a win at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J. on Sept. 9.
While at home in Spain and contemplating retirement, Elias recieved a call from Suzuki and was offered a spot to ride for the Yosimura Suzuki team in the MotoAmerica series for the 2017 season. Now he's the 2017 champion.
Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
"I'm very grateful for the American fans," Elias said. "When I first came here, I felt kind of like an outsider, and I was winning races, so I could see why American's may not have liked me. But the support I have received from my fans has been amazing."
After winning the AMA Superbike Championship, Elias carried an American flag on his bike, and he says he's had an American flag hanging over his bed since he was 4 years old.
"I always tell people I am American—I was just born in the wrong country," Elias joked. "I am just so grateful for America, and I really love the country."
Elias now says he will be turning his attention to flat track racing for the AMA Superbike offseason and will compete at Willow Springs this weekend.
"I just want to thank Suzuki, Yoshimura, my team, my family and of course my fans," Elias said. "This was such a good choice to come here—perfect actually. I'm so grateful for everything that has happened this year."