ATV Motocross

10 Minutes with Harv Whipple

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 | 12:00 AM

We sat down with AMA Pro ATV Race Series Manager, Harv Whipple and spoke with him about the ITP/Moose AMA Pro ATV Motocross Championships and the ATVA Amateur National Motocross Championships. Harv has been around motor sports and racing all his life. He moved over to the AMA Pro ATV series fresh off a long and successful tenure with the most successful arenacross series in the world in the Toyota AMA National Arenacross series. There are very few series directors in the business with credentials as shiny as Harv’s.


 Last year was his first taste of managing the nation’s top professional ATV series. Harv broke down the advancement procedure from Amateur to AMA Pro and gave us some exciting insight as to what this year will hold for ATV participants.

Harv, explain your role with the AMA Pro ATV portion of the ATVA National Motocross Championship.

Harv Whipple


Basically, I oversee everything from licensing to what happens at the race track. It’s my responsibility to take care of the riders’ needs and I do my best to see to it that it all happens.

What are your thoughts on the 2007 Championship?

First off, I wasn’t involved with ATV Racing until last year. When I got the phone call I said, ““I have to be honest, I’m not sure if I’m the right guy for the job, but I’ll give it my best shot.” My biggest concern was me not knowing enough information about the sport to take care of the riders. Once I showed up, though, I immediately figured it out that it doesn’t matter if you’re on two wheels, four wheels, or six wheels - racers are racers. After the first event, my mind was set - I was there because I wanted to be there, not necessarily because I needed to be. I think some people may have a certain stereotype of quad racers, but they were some of the easiest and most professional racers I’ve ever worked with. And, you know, it was with that motivation that AMA Pro Racing and I are here to help take the sport to the next level. Last year was a very positive building year. We did our best to be fair with everyone involved, from the guys in the 40-foot haulers to the racers in pick up trucks. I am from the grass roots level myself, so I have a ton of respect for the privateers and always will. Eventually they will be the ones in the big rigs. 

What can riders expect to see during this year’s championship?

Well, there aren’t any major surprises. Basically just more of the same. We have one new facility, Pleasure Valley that is very ATV friendly so we are excited to go there. The AMA Pro ATV Open is back on and that was a ton of fun and a big opportunity for ATV enthusiasts. Ryan Holiday who is AMA Racing’s Amateur MX Manager and Anthony Grilli the Tech Manager, as well as myself sat down and configured the 2008 rule book. There are only minor changes. We’re not planning to change something that isn’t broken. There are some things I want to personally approve, and I will. There are some improvements being made to the facilities for safety and some minor race procedure stuff. For the most part, the series will just be a stronger version of last year’s.

As a Pro Am rider, why would you choose to compete in the ATVA Amateur National Motocross Championship?


Obviously, the purpose of racing in the ITP / MOOSE Racing Series is because it is the premiere racing series in the sport. An AMA Pro Racing #1 plate is very prestigious! The amateur portion is sanctioned by the ATVA, and our goal is to build AMA Pro racers through their association into ours. The Pro Am class is going to provide a pyramid of progression-type system. Once you graduate from the Pro Am stage it will be the feeder system into the next stage, which is the Pro class. At this point the ATVA National Motocross Championship is the only series where riders can earn their Pro License from the AMA. Ryan and I sat down and set up a point’s structure and figured how many points a rider needs to accumulate to advance. We want to graduate only those riders that are ready for the Pro level, so if you collect 150 points in the 2008 season in the Pro Am class, then you are eligible to apply for a pro license to participate in the AMA Pro ATV division. We also have a panel that consists of myself, Ryan and Doug Morris, the Director of the ATVA, to review resumes for licenses, but the only sure way is to collect 150 points in the Pro Am production class. 

Plus, by competing in the Pro Am division, the riders are making themselves noticeable in front of the sport’s top OEM manufacturers and major sponsors. This gives them the ability to impress those people and secure sponsorship for when they step up to the Pro ranks.

What benefit does a rider in our series gain by competing with an AMA Pro License?

An AMA Pro Racing license comes with a rider medical insurance policy. Too many times riders get hurt at the track & can’t pay the medical bills and you never see them at another event. The AMA is here to take care of the riders. It always has been and always will be. In addition, riders can again count on consistency at our events. They can show up for work, so to speak, show their credential at the front gate and know exactly what to expect every day.

Harv, you’ve been around motorsports for a long time. What advice do you have for up and coming participants who may be looking to go Pro?

The best advice is to have fun and stick with it. Even on the professional level I tell the riders all the time that when you’re out there riding if you don’t have a smile on your face you better look for something else to do. I don’t care if you’re making a million bucks, it has to be fun. The sport is growing tremendously and there are going to be more opportunities for participants than ever before. Then again, there are more and more racers showing up so nothing will be handed to you, you will need to earn it. Once you get there don’t forget where you came from and you will be a great AMA Pro ATV Racing Champion!