John Raun Wood has been named 2003 Ricky Graham AMA U.S. Flat Track Rookie of the Year. Wood, 23, of Dublin, Pennsylvania., scored points in six rounds of the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship this year. He scored three top-10 finishes, all on short tracks. Wood finished the season ranked 20th in the final AMA Grand National point standings.
Wood started the year off impressively with a ninth-place finish in the prestigious Daytona Beach Short Track National during Bike Week in March. He moved up another notch at the end of May when he scored an eighth at the short track event in Chillicothe, Ohio. His other top-10 result came in front of thousands of Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary participants in attendance for the Hales Corner Speedway Short Track race in August. Wood also scored national points at the short track in Haubstadt, Ind., on the half-miles at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio, and the State Fair Speedway in Sedalia, Mo.
“It’s cool,” said Wood, the 2001 Pro Sport 600 and 505 Hot Shoe Champion. “I didn’t even know I was in contention for the award until Saturday night’s short track at Springfield.”
Wood, who goes by his middle name Raun or John Raun as his buddies call him, admitted his strong suit is short track racing. “I grew up racing on little clay short tracks,” he said. “I rarely rode half-miles as an amateur and never miles, so I’m still getting used to the bigger tracks.”
Wood is backed by Scott Powersports a multi-brand dealership located in Coopersburg, Pa. His bikes are owned and built by Bob Berry.
Wood becomes the 33rd recipient of the AMA U.S. Flat Track Rookie of the Year Award. Numerous AMA National Champions launched their careers after being named the top rookie including riders like Jay Springsteen, Scott Parker, Bubba Shobert, Doug Chandler, Chris Carr, Ben Bostrom and Nicky Hayden. The award is given to the rider who has earned the most points in his or her first full year of competition as a Grand National Championship license holder.
Wood will be presented his award at the 29th annual AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet to be held at the Rio Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, on Saturday evening, Nov. 22.