Jon-Erik Burleson, president of KTM North America, has been named the American Motorcyclist Association’s Motorcyclist of the Year, the AMA announced Thursday.
The AMA’s annual award goes to the person or people who had the most profound impact within the motorcycling community over the previous 12 months.
"Jon-Erik's innovation and leadership have positioned his company to take full advantage of what could only be described as a challenging environment in the motorcycle industry — an industry that is fighting back from its worst downturn in history," AMA president and CEO Rob Dingman said. "It is also important to recognize our honoree's passion for, and commitment to, motorcycling. Jon-Erik exemplifies the motorcycle lifestyle. He was raised in a motorcycle racing family and has been around motorcycling his whole life."
Burleson, an AMA member, was named president of KTM’s North American arm in 2005. Since then, he transformed the company from an obscure European brand with moderate penetration in the off-road market to a premium brand under the tagline “Ready to Race.” From 2009-12, KTM’s sales increased almost 20 percent, with much of that growth coming in the last year. KTM also took home its first AMA Pro Racing National Motocross Championship in 2012, when Ryan Dungey took first in the 450 class.
“That, paired with his professional success leading KTM North America through and beyond the recent economic recession, makes him an obvious choice for the 2012 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year,” Dingman added.