X Games Harley-Davidson Flat Track Athlete Spotlight - Jarod Vanderkooi

Note: AMA Pro Racing will be highlighting all 24 of the athletes racing in X Games Harley-Davidson Flat Track, which will take place Thursday, June 4 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and be shown live on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. ET, 5:30 p.m. PT.

Jarod Vanderkooi made plans to come to Austin, Texas, as a second alternate. When Henry Wiles didn’t make the trip with bike troubles and Jeffrey Carver Jr. blew an engine during Wednesday’s practice, the 17-year-old from Ohio became part of the 24-rider field for Harley-Davidson Flat Track at X Games.

In 2014, Vanderkooi burst onto the scene in the GNC2 class. He won the prestigious Springfield Mile in his first AMA Pro Flat Track appearance. He would go on to win the Springfield Mile again later in the year and score two additional victories during the season en route to a fourth place finish in the championship standings.

In 2015, Vanderkooi moved up to the elite Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class and it’s been a smooth transition for the youngster. He won a heat race in Round 1 from DAYTONA Flat Track and he’s qualified for three of the four main events in AMA Pro Flat Track action so far. Vanderkooi is currently tied for lead in the Saddlemen Rookie of the Year battle with fellow X Games athlete Kyle Johnson.

Name: Jarod Vanderkooi

Home: Mt. Gilead, Ohio

Age: 17

Ride: No. 18 Don’s Kawasaki EX650

In their words: “It’s something special to be in the X Games. I was coming in here as a second alternate, one didn’t show up because of bike troubles at Sacramento, and my teammate, Jeffrey Carver, just broke. It’s kind of a bum deal, but I get in and we can see what we can do It’s definitely a tough racetrack and it’s going to mean something special just to put it in the main event and be a part of this whole program.”