Factory Husqvarna rider Ryan Sipes wins AMA Athlete of the Year Award

MX Sports Pro Racing, organizers of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, along with its partners at NBC Sports, congratulate veteran competitor and Airgroup/Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider Ryan Sipes on being named the 2015 AMA Athlete of the Year. The longtime Pro Motocross competitor who has transitioned into off-road racing was honored for his landmark achievement of becoming the first American in history to earn individuals honors at the annual International Six Days Enduro (ISDE).

The ISDE is the off-road version of the Motocross of Nations (MXoN), consisting of six-rider teams featuring each country's most talented off-road competitors. Like the Motocross of Nations, the ISDE is hosted in a different country each year but separates itself from the MXoN by lasting for six days, consisting of a series of the most grueling stages imaginable. The winner is determined by combined overall times from each stage, with the lowest coming out on top.


Sipes with his AMA Athlete of the Year Award (Photo: American Motorcyclist Association)

The ISDE is arguably the toughest off-road race on the planet, which makes Sipes' accomplishment that much more impressive. Despite having just two seasons of off-road racing under his belt, stepping away from full time Pro Motocross competition at the end of 2013, Sipes has ascended to the upper echelon of the discipline quickly, finishing eighth in his inaugural Grand National Cross Country Racing Series (GNCC) in 2014 and sixth last season. He was selected for the 2015 ISDE in Slovakia in an effort to help Team USA win its first World Team Trophy, with what many considered to be its most talented lineup in history. While racing luck wasn't kind to Team USA as a whole, Sipes never let up and achieved what can be considered the most significant accomplishment for any U.S.-born off-road racer in history.

"What Ryan accomplished in Slovakia cannot but understated," said MX Sports Pro Racing President Davey Coombs. "Since 1913 the American contingent has valiantly fought for off-road racing's most coveted trophy, only to come up empty in every attempt. Team USA has made exceptional gains in recent years, but still has never tasted victory of any kind. In winning the individual overall Ryan can boast that he was the best off-roader in the world, and will forever be known as the ‘first American' for this historic achievement. His motocross skillset undoubtedly factored into his ability to achieve this feat and hopefully his success is a stepping stone for further success for Team USA at the ISDE."


Sipes competing at the 2015 Tennessee National at Muddy Creek Raceway. (Photo: Simon Cudby)

In addition to his full racing calendar with both GNCC and the ISDE, Sipes didn't let go of his Pro Motocross roots and took full advantage of the summer break in GNCC to contest three stops of the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Muddy Creek Raceway, High Point Raceway and Ironman Raceway. He was in contention for a top-10 overall finish at each race, proving the speed is still there to compete alongside the fastest riders on the planet.

Sipes is already committed to another full season of GNCC competition in 2016 with the Factory Husqvarna effort. The opening round of the championship kicks off on Saturday, March 5, with the Moose Racing Wild Boar in Palatka, Florida.