The American Motorcyclist Association recently congratulated the 12 riders who won class championships at the 2018 AMA Road Race Grand Championship, as well as the four riders who won AMA awards at the event, at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, Oct. 25-28.
Dallas Daniels won the Nicky Hayden AMA Road Race Horizon Award; Kayla Yaakov was named AMA Novice Road Racer of the Year; Blake Davis won the AMA Youth Road Racer of the Year Award; and Greg Melka was named AMA Vet/Senior Road Racer of the Year.
For Daniels, of Mattoon, Illinois, it was a history-making weekend. He became the first person to win two Nicky Hayden AMA Horizon Awards, having won the Nicky Hayden AMA Flat Track Horizon Award in June at the AMA Flat Track Grand Championship. Daniels competed in the MotoAmerica Junior Cup in 2018, and is planning to return to the class in 2019.
"I was just expecting to try and do my best this weekend," Daniels said. "I had a goal to win two [AMA] Horizon Awards, since no one has ever done that before."
Daniels' father worked as a mechanic for the Hayden brothers early in their career and was elated to see his son win his second AMA Horizon Award.
"Honestly, to win these awards in [Nicky's] honor means the world to us," Nick Daniels said. "Nicky was a good friend of ours."
It was Yaakov's second time winning an AMA award. She won the AMA Youth Road Racer of the Year Award in 2017. The 11-year-old Biglerville, Pennsylvania, resident also won the AMA Lightweight Twins Superstock Novice Class and AMA Lightweight Twins Superbike Novice Class championships.
"Every year, I just try to do my best," she said. "Just to get another one of these big and important trophies is very important to me."
For 12-year-old Davis, of Lynchburg, Virginia, it was his first time winning an AMA award. He also won the AMA 300 Superstock Expert Class title.
"It was fun out there," he said. "I was just hoping I would get some podiums this weekend."
Melka, 50, of Tampa, Florida, was not expecting to win the AMA Vet/Senior Road Racer of the Year Award. He finished second in the AMA 600 Superstock Expert and AMA 600 Superbike Expert races, beating almost all of his younger competition.
"I am humbled a little bit and shocked, but I appreciate it," he said. "I definitely run with the younger guys. I try to push them, and it gives me a lot of pleasure. I have been road racing since 2003."
The AMA Road Race Grand Championship is the United States' premier amateur road racing event. The 2018 edition of the event was held in conjunction with WERA Motorcycle Roadracing's Grand National Finals event. The event featured 14 races and 155 entries.
"It was a great weekend of road racing competition," AMA Track Racing Manager Ken Saillant said. "I offer my congratulations to Dallas, Kayla, Blake, Greg and each of the class champions, and thank WERA Motorcycle Roadracing for putting on a phenomenal event."
The winners of each competition class are recognized as AMA national champions and are awarded AMA National No. 1 plates. They will be honored as part of the AMA Legends & Champions Weekend in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 7-9. The AMA Championship Banquet will be Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Hilton Columbus/Polaris in Columbus, Ohio.