23rd Annual Roadracing World Young Gun Honors:
By David Swarts
Roadracing World started this exclusive special feature recognizing the most promising young road racers as an answer to pessimists who claimed America had no new, up-and-coming young racers. This edition of the Roadracing World Young Gun Awards marks the 23rd consecutive year of showcasing an abundance of new talent.
Roadracing World Young Guns have won:
FIM MotoGP and FIM Superbike races and World Championships;
AMA Pro races and Championships, including eight AMA Pro Superbike Championships;
A KTM RC Cup World Final race;
The Daytona 200 (8 times);
WERA National Endurance Championships and WERA National Challenge Championships;
ASRA/Formula USA Grand National and CCS National Championships;
AMA Road Racing Grand Championships and Horizon Awards;
USGPRU National Championships;
Many regional and local titles.
The competition has continually become more intense as more – and younger—racers with higher levels of accomplishment are nominated, and the level of achievement required to make the grade keeps getting tougher.
We’ve spent the last several months accepting nominations and evaluating road racers between the ages of 11 and 17 (as of the start of the 2019 season) who have, at a minimum, won Expert-level road races and/or Championships on a 125cc two-stroke/250cc four-stroke or larger racebike or had outstanding results as an Amateur/Novice. Most of the Young Guns selected have done far more than the minimum.
The young riders recognized are the most promising young road racers in North America. All have earned the title of Roadracing World Young Gun.
We will feature one Young Gun per day, presenting them in alphabetical order.
(Above) Sean Dylan Kelly on the podium at the 2019 Daytona 200. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
home: Hollywood, Florida.
height/weight: 5’ 8”/144 pounds.
school grade level: 11th grade.
riding at age: 5 years.
road race: 2008, Florida, FLAMRA, Minis, 3rd place.
racebike: Suzuki GSX-R600.
race series: MotoAmerica Supersport Championship.
sponsors: M4, ECSTAR, Suzuki, Arai, Parts Unlimited, medAge, Furygan, Hotbodies,Vortex, EK Chains, Shorai, Venhill, SportbikeTrackGear.com, Vesrah, TCX.
racing accomplishments: 2018 season, won ASRA Team Challenge race during Race
of Champions at Daytona, placed 10th in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Championship (best race
finish was 6th at Assen); 2017 season, finished 17th in Red Bull
MotoGP Rookies Cup Championship (best race finish was 7th – twice); 2016
season, placed 22nd in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup (best race finish was 13th);
2015 season, placed 2nd in KTM RC Cup World Final (1 win, 2 podiums), won the
Mexican KTM RC Cup Championship.
racing goal: Finish on the podium in MotoAmerica Supersport.
career goal: Be MotoGP World Champion.
hero: Nicky Hayden.
hobby: Outdoor activities.
wasn’t racing I would be…: Pursuing a career in business.
Roadracing World Young Guns who have gone on to racing success in National or International series include:
2017 MotoAmerica Superstock 600 Champion Jason Aguilar; 2013 AMA Pro SuperSport East Champion Corey Alexander; AMA Pro Daytona SportBike and British Superstock 1000 National race winner Tommy Aquino (R.I.P.); 2016 AMA Road Race Horizon Award Winner Jody Barry; two-time MotoAmerica Supersport Champion J.D. Beach; three-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier; two-time Canadian Sport Bike Champion Tomas Casas; 2014 Canadian Superbike Champion Jodi Christie; 2011 Daytona 200 winner Jason DiSalvo; two-time AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Champion, two-time AMA Pro XR1200/Harley-Davidson Champion, and four-time Daytona 200 winner Danny Eslick; MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 race winner and MotoAmerica Superbike podium finisher Bobby Fong; 2010 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion, 2014 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Champion, and 2015 MotoAmerica Superstock Jake Gagne; two-time MotoAmerica Supersport Champion and MotoAmerica Superbike racer Garrett Gerloff; 2014 AMA Pro SuperSport Champion Hayden Gillim; 2002 AMA Pro Superbike Champion, 2006 FIM MotoGP World Champion and World Superbike race winner Nicky Hayden (R.I.P.); 2007 AMA Pro 600cc Supersport Champion, 2014 AMA Pro Superbike Championship runner-up, and 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship runner-up Roger Hayden; eight-time AMA Pro Superbike race winner and two-time AMA Pro Supersport Champion Tommy Hayden; 2013 AMA Pro Superbike Champion and 2016 MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 Champion Josh Herrin; former MotoGP and World Superbike regular John Hopkins; 2015 FIM Supersport World Championship runner-up Patrick “P.J.” Jacobsen; 2014 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Championship runner-up and 2017 MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 Championship runner-up Jake Lewis; two-time MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup Championship runner-up and MotoAmerica Superstock 600 race winner Anthony Mazziotto; MotoAmerica Superstock 600 race winner Nick McFadden; AMA Pro SuperSport race winner Stefano Mesa; Elena Myers, the first woman to win an AMA Pro SuperSport race; former AMA Pro SuperSport Champion Huntley Nash; MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup race winner and MotoAmerica Supersport race winner Braeden Ortt; 2012 Daytona 200 winner and 2010 AMA Pro SuperSport West Champion Joey Pascarella; 2016 MotoAmerica Superstock 600 Champion Bryce Prince; AMA Pro and Canadian National race winner Chris Peris; two-time AMA Pro SuperSport National Champion and British Supersport podium finisher James Rispoli; 2015 MotoAmerica Superstock 600 Champion, MotoAmerica Supersport race winner, and Moto2 World Championship racer Joe Roberts; former MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup Champion Benjamin Smith; former Red Bull AMA Rookies Cup Champion and FIM Moto2 European Championship racer Benny Solis, Jr.; three-time AMA Pro Superbike Champion, 2009 Superbike World Champion and MotoGP race winner Ben Spies; MotoAmerica Twins Cup race winner Kris Turner; multi-time AMA Pro race winner Chris Ulrich; French Supersport race winner and MotoAmerica Supersport podium finisher Jayson Uribe; Chinese Superbike Championship race winner and MotoAmerica Supersport podium finisher Cory West; MotoAmerica KTM RC Cup and Junior Cup racer winner Ashton Yates; Canadian Superbike race winner Ben Young; and two-time AMA Pro Superbike Championship runner-up Blake Young.