2012 was a great year for AMA and ATVA competition. Here, some of the national champions and top competitors talk about the 2012 season, look ahead to the 2013 season, and explain why AMA and ATVA competition is the best racing on the planet. No other No. 1 plate matters.
Harold Goodman: 2012 AMA ATV Extreme Dirt Track champion
February 28, 2013
Harold Goodman dominated the Pro class of the 2012 AMA ATV Extreme Dirt Track National Championship, finishing first six times and second once in the first seven rounds of the eight-round series to win the title. Goodman, of Brownstown, Mich., beat out second-place finisher Brad Riley of High Point, S.C., by 34 points: 223 to 189.
Goodman and Riley also battled in the Pro-Am class, with Goodman again coming out on top and Riley finishing second: 217 points to 192.
The twin titles mean that Goodman now has four Pro championships and five Pro-Am championships on his race resume. We caught up with him to get his thoughts on the season, on Riley and on the future.
Q: Congratulations on earning the Pro and Pro-Am titles in the 2012 AMA ATV Extreme Dirt Track Championship Series for the second year in a row. What’s the secret to your success?
Harold Goodman: I have been racing in the Pro class since 1996, and was able to win at Ashtabula [Ohio] that year, so I have a lot of experience. But more importantly, my starts are really good.
With help from Houser Racing, Rage Racing Engines, Hoosier Tire and Elka Suspension I had the equipment that allowed me to get every Pro main start this season.
Q: Describe your battles with Brad Riley in both classes.
HG: Brad is really fast and a talented rider. We had good races in both classes. My starts helped me a lot. Brad usually had to come from behind and work his way forward.
Q: You also race in the AMA ATV Motocross National Championship Series. Why?
HG: Until 2003 the series were combined, so MX has always been a big part of my life. I really enjoy that series and I’m still relatively competitive. Also, I have a few riders who I help out in that series, so it is good to be there to support them as well.
Q: Describe the start and the first lap around a dirt-track course. What are you thinking and doing, step by step?
HG: Well, first I am just focused on getting a good start. It is so important to get out front because it is typically hard to pass on a TT track.
Second, if I get the holeshot I ride conservatively for a couple of laps to avoid a mistake that could cost me positions. Then I try to pick up the pace a little to try and get some breathing room.
If I can’t pull away then I try and stay mistake free. Then I just focus on running a clean race to the end.
Q: You’re still with the Houser Racing team and racing a Honda TRX450R. How is that relationship going, and how is the machine working?
HG: Houser Racing has been a huge part of my racing program since 2006. They have the best components, which has led to these championships. I can’t thank them enough for their continued support. My Hondas have been great. They have been really reliable and the performance is great.
Q: How will you spend the off-season?
HG: Well, my wife, Jessica, and I have just been at the hospital having our first baby. “Trey” was born on Oct. 4 at 2:04 p.m., 7-pounds 14-ounces, 19 1/2-inches long.
His legal name is Harold Loyd Goodman III—Trey for “3” or “the 3rd.” So I will be spending a lot of time with him.
Of course I will be training and preparing for next year. Also, I will be doing all kinds of work on other people’s bikes.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
HG: I am still trying to get everything organized for next season. But I’m sure I will be racing somewhere.
Q: What do you see yourself doing in five years?
HG: I will probably still ride some and be doing work for others. I’m not sure how interested I am in growing an ATV business but I’m sure I will be doing some select work here and there.
I will probably be wrenching on Trey’s four-wheelers, too!
Q: What do you do in your free time unrelated to ATVs?
HG: Free time unrelated to ATVs? Almost all of my time is somehow related to racing. In the evenings I try to not take racing-related calls and spend time doing “normal” around-the-house things.
I also deer hunt a little. This fall I have also bought a couple houses to resell. I haven’t bought any in a few years, so it was time to get back in that business.
Q: Who are your sponsors? Who would you like to thank?
HG: I would like to thank my parents and wife for supporting and traveling with me.
I would also like to thank all of my sponsors: Houser Racing, Honda East Toledo, Elka Suspension, Hoosier Tire, Rage ATV, Fly Racing, DWT, Hinson Clutch Components, Precision Racing Products, Pro Taper, MSR levers, Hot Cams, Streamline, Pivot Works, Quadtech, Spider Grips, K&N, Rath Racing, Pro Design, Wiseco, JPMX, and ATV Riders.
Q: What advice would you give young people who want to be an ATV racer like you?
HG: The best advice I can give is to always ride within your ability and wear all your gear. It takes a lot of practice to get faster, and you can’t practice if you are hurt.