Zemke receives Athlete of the Year nod

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Nov. 10, 2008
Jake Zemke has been nominated for the 2008 AMA SPEED Athlete of the Year Award.

The Paso Robes, Calif. resident is the fifth and final nominee up for the American Motorcyclist Association’s highest honor. Zemke will be up against Flat Track Champion Kenny Coolbeth, Superbike Champion Ben Spies, Motocross Champion James Stewart and All-Terrain Vehicle Association Pro Champion Dustin Wimmer. Past winners include such names as Bob Hannah, Scott Parker, Kenny Roberts and Ricky Carmichael.

“When I found out I was nominated, I was quite a bit surprised,” says Zemke. “It’s obviously an honor. Only five guys a year get nominated, and to have your name put up there as one of the five best out of all the racing disciplines that are represented, it’s a pretty cool deal. When you look back on who has won this thing, it’s a pretty impressive list – not just the winners but the nominees.”

Zemke’s nomination recognizes his achievement in winning the 2008 AMA Formula Xtreme Series Champion. Zemke beat out Josh Hayes for the title by a 336-287 margin. Zemke won five races and earned nine podium finishes in 10 Formula Xtreme races to earn the title. Zemke also competed in the AMA Supersport Championship where he finished second to Ben Bostrom with one win and seven total podiums in 11 races.

The Formula Xtreme title is Zemke’s first professional championship in 12 years of AMA professional road racing.

“This is something that I’ve expected,” Zemke says about his first pro title. “Being as close as I have before, I look at it as something that just didn’t come together, for whatever reason, before this year. This has always been my goal. Of course, I had a great team behind me, and the Erion Honda team played a major role in my success. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

The AMA SPEED Athlete of the Year award winner will be named at the 2008 AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Ala. on Nov. 23.

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