Q&A: 2014 AMA Dirt Track Horizon Award Winner Hunter Edwards
July 27, 2014
Hunter Edwards, from Mansfield, Ohio, came into the 2014 AMA Dirt Track Grand Championships confident that he could win—but he wasn’t sure just how much he would win, and he certainly didn’t know he would come away with amateur dirt-track racing’s highest honor: the AMA Dirt Track Horizon Award.
AMA Horizon Awards are presented annually to the amateur racer in dirt track, motocross and road racing who is best poised for success in the pro ranks.
Other special award winners at the event include AMA Dirt Track Youth Rider of the Year Dallas Daniels from Mattoon, Ill.; Fast Brain Award winner Chase Saathoff from Hillsboro, Ill.; and AMA Dirt Track Vet/Senior Rider of the Year Jon Nunes from King City, Calif.
We caught up with Edwards -- who also won the 450-Open and 450 Modified Grand Championships and finished second in the 251-500 DTX class at the event -- to get his take on his career and his successful week in Springfield, Ill.
Full results from the 2014 AMA Dirt Track Grand Championships are here.
Click here to view a photo gallery from the event.
American Motorcyclist: Hunter, what was key to winning this award?
Hunter Edwards: Staying consistent all week long. That was the biggest thing and what helped me get the two championships and stay in the top five. Making every main and not having to transfer through a semi really helped. That of course gives you a chance for a better start in the main and lets you focus more on the main. Tristan Avery [who crashed mid-week and was unable to continue] was my toughest competition. He challenged me whenever we were on the track together. I was confident in my skills on the half-mile because being from Ohio, I ride a lot of half-miles and do well there, but we were really equal.
AM: When did you feel like you were in contention for the AMA Horizon Award?
HE: Right from the beginning when I won the first 450 Mod main event in the Monday short-track. That win right at the beginning was where I got all my confidence. Last year at the Dirt Track Grand Championships, in the 251-500 DTX class, I got third overall and then in the 450 Modified and Open Singles, I had top 10s last year. I knew I would come in as one of the top runners. I didn’t expect to be the fastest, but I knew I had the best equipment, and that first win gave me the confidence.
AM: Who builds your bikes?
HE: My dad works on my bikes, and [engine builder] Ron Hamp and Race Tech suspension have helped us more than anything else to make my bikes good.
AM: When did you start racing, and where do you ride around home?
HE: I’ve been racing since I was four years old. It’s always been dirt track. My dad used to race dirt track way back, and he taught me just about everything I know. I do a lot of cross-training on a motocross tracks close to home and some mountain bike riding. The mountain bike riding helps me stay in shape. I mostly ride at [Ohio’s] Mohican State Park and the local bike trail around my house. I go for about a 25 mile ride every couple days. The local tracks are Western Reserve Motorcycle Club near Salem, Ohio, and the races at Ashland Co. Fairgrounds.
AM: What pro riders do you look up to?
HE: Henry Wiles. He’s helped push me to where I am now, and all the advice and coaching he has given me have really helped. He’s one of the guys who doesn’t give up. Whether it’s a good day or a bad day, he always gives it his all. He inspires me to stay in dirt track and to help and be a future of dirt-track racing.
AM: What’s your plan for this year and next year?
HE: The rest of this year, I’ll race as many of the Steve Nace All-Star Series races and I can. As far as next year, I’m going to turn pro and trying to make the main event in Pro Singles.
AM: Who do you like for the AMA Horizon Award in 2015?
HE: Brandon Price, for sure. He was right there in contention for it this year, and he’s a great all around rider on the short-track, TT and half-miles.