While one of the country’s greatest flat-track AMA motorcycle riders has moved on to bigger and better things, his prodigy prepares this weekend for a professional debut that has been building for more than a decade.
Five-time AMA champion Joe Kopp spotted Colbert’s Wyatt Anderson at the tender age of 4 and has guided the 16-year-old Mt. Spokane High School sophomore to championships in the junior ranks for many years. This weekend the Springfield (Ill.) Fairgrounds will be the site of Anderson’s debut in the top division of flat-track racing.
Making the dual main-event format is the biggest challenge Anderson faces this weekend. With 57 riders on the entry list, Anderson understands the importance of making the finale in each of the two days of action. Using the weekend as a stepping stone for a solid summer of racing will be the return for all the hard work put in by Anderson and his family, including parents Mike and Lisa along with brothers Jeremy and Cole.
“My goal is to make the main events this weekend and then we’re hoping for top-five finishes,” Anderson said.
Straddling a Suzuki RMZ 450 motorcycle that is capable of speeds of more than 120 mph on a tight 1-mile track is nothing new for Anderson, who has wins in the junior 250cc ranks on the Northwest swing of AMA’s barnstorming tour. Anderson has his sights on the AMA event in Castle Rock, Wash., on Aug. 4
“The competition I’ll be faced with this year is super tough,” Anderson said. “I have raced with many of these guys for most of my life, so I know what I have to bring to the table. We also know that there will be some riders in the class that have more experience (then the young crop of rookies) and consistently get good finishes.”
While Kopp will not be on the track banging handlebars with Anderson, his teachings will be.
“Joe tells me never be anything more than humble, because no one likes a cocky rider,” Anderson said. “I’ve learned from him to stay focused on the task at hand and not be intimidated by the other riders.”
With Kopp operating Spokane Speedway, the region’s only flat-track motorcycle racing facility, Anderson can practice against his mentor and focus on his line and style.
“As I have prepared to turn pro it’s been great to go out there and practice, because I need as much practice as I can get,” Anderson said.
Fans can track Anderson’s progress amaproracing.com.