AMA returns to Red Bud this weekend

Published 1:16 pm Friday, June 29, 2007

By Staff
BUCHANAN – Many years ago, a small framed, petite young lady named Lisa Akin, from Niles, made a great accomplishment at the Loretta Lynn's AMA Amateur Nationals.
The stars of the AMA professional ranks return to Red Bud MX in Buchanan this weekend. Opening ceremonies are Sunday at 12:30 p.m. with the first pro race scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
She won the very first women's class title in 1982 and then she returned to win that same title for the next three consecutive years, 1983, 1984, and 1985.
Lisa had determination and guts during those times. Especially in 1984, when she rode the third moto in severe pain due to a leg injury with one idea in mind, taking home the overall win. Akin's strongest asset was her determination. She didn't give up very easily.
"On Easter Sunday in 1984, I had broken my leg and I was only able to start racing again about qualifier time. I pushed myself and I trained twice as hard as the guys. I bicycled everyday and worked out on lift machines. I spent as much time as possible riding." the talented champion said.
At age seven, she started drag racing her motorcycle in Plymouth, Indiana. Her first motocross was also in Ind.
"My cousins, Mark and Scott Hinkle used to race. Mark raced first and said it was really fun. So then the rest of us started racing. My mom, Jane, used to race motocross until she hurt her wrist. She used to ride with me to make me rider harder and she would tell me to go faster," she added.
Lisa rode mini 'B' on a Yamaha JT 60 when she initially began her motocross career. She has a multitude of sponsors with Yamaha always being at the top of her list followed by Hi-Point, Scott Goggles, Lancer and Dynamic Racing.
"I started riding for Team Dynamic and the guy that owned the shop told Yamaha about me and then they picked me up. I held second in the women's invitational that year," she said.
Lisa's finishes range from her 1979 second place finish in the 125 class and her fourth on a 250 at the Women's Nationals in California to her 1988 Women's Loretta Lynn's AMA Amateur Championship.
Of course, her favorite female competitor was Mercedes Gonzales who she had lots of heated competition with throughout their racing careers. In 1988, at Loretta's Mercedes and I were tied going into the third moto.
"I gave it my all for the moto win and the championship to defeat Mercedes," Akin said.
Akin enjoyed racing her male counterparts but racing with females there was a higher chance of being successful.
"The hardest thing for me racing against guys was if I passed a guy all of a sudden he goes faster. I think they just know I was a girl and they don't want to get beat by a girl. I didn't really get pushed around out there. Sometimes they bump me but they would bump anybody else, I think. Generally everybody was really nice to me," she said.
Lisa admitted there have been many great times in the Akin family with their racing, but there also has been some embarrassing moments too.
"My dad, Drex, twice forgot to fill the bikes up with gas. I was winning the hare scrambles at the Mini-Olympics in Florida one year and was in sight of the checkered flag and ran out of gas," she pointed out.
She continued by saying the promoters are such an important aspect of racing.
"Some promoters don't care about the riders. Sometimes they charge alot and then won't pay anything back to the riders," Akin said.
But she now knows first hand all about promoting as she married another motocross competitor Bobby Wagner.
Bobby and Lisa are the track promoters for Dutch Sport Park in Michigan. She and Bobby wanted to have a place that was fun and where people could see improvement and know where their money was going.
She and Bobby have two sons, Brett and Austin, who both race motocross.
Brett has made it to Loretta several times.
Both, Bobby and Lisa believe in not pushing their children to ride or yelling at them. "We want them to have fun," she said.