Heath Voss - Minnesota Motorcycle Hall of Fame Member

Heath Voss - Motocross

Prior Lake’s Heath Voss took the sport up late, but quickly honed his skills by racing at the Scott County Fairgrounds in nearby Jordan, many other local county fair races, as well as District 23 events. He turned pro in 1996, and hit the nationals.

Riding for the Great Lakes Aviation Honda team, then Mach One, then Team Yamaha, his results steadily improved. His best year was 2004, when he won the World Supercross Championship and had numerous top five finishes in 450 Supercross. When the Yamaha ride ended, he was back to Honda and a top privateer in 450 Supercross for many years. All told, he raced in 15 seasons.

Years Pro: 1996 – 2010

Competed in 260 AMA Supercross and Motocross events

84 Top Ten, 241 Top Twenty Race Finishes

Major Titles: 2004 World Supercross Championship

Best Races Finishes: 5th (6 times) 250/450 Supercross, 7th (5 times) 250/450 Motocross, 11th 125 Supercross

Best Championship Finishes: 6th 250/450 Supercross (5 other Top Ten!), 9th 250/450 Motocross

Best Race Finishes: 5th 250 Supercross, 7th 250 Motocross, 13th 125 Supercross

Unusual Accomplishment: Heath is one of the few riders to race rounds in East and West 125 Supercross regions in the same year, and to qualify for 125 and 250 Supercross Mains on the same night. He may be the only rider to accomplish both in the same year (1997).

Career Details
In 1994 and 1995, after a few years of racing locally, Heath competed in two of the toughest classes at Loretta Lynn’s; 125 A Modified and 250/Open A Modified. He was in the top 20 overall each time, his best placing being a 10th on the 250 in 1995. After gaining this experience at the national level, he decided to go pro.

Riding Hondas, which would be his bike of choice for many years, Heath qualified for 2 rounds of 125 East Supercross in 1996. His best finish was a 19th at St. Louis. He qualified for 3 rounds of 250 Motocross, his best finish being a 16th at Millville. Heath was a pretty big guy and never did race a 125 Motocross national.

In 1997, he qualified for 7 rounds of 125 East Supercross, his best finish a 13th at Indianapolis. In 250 Motocross, he raced his first full schedule, getting 12th at High Point, for 22nd in the championship.

It was in Minneapolis where he completed 2 unusual feats. The Metrodome was on the schedule, but it wasn’t a 125 East round. As the rules were then, he was allowed to enter a 125 West race. As long as he was there, he decided to give the 250 class a try also. He qualified for the Mains in 125 and 250, one of the few riders to accomplish this, but oddly, not the only Minnesota-born rider to do it. Not only did James Povolny accomplish the same thing, but they are both also in the relatively small group of riders that raced rounds of 125 West and East in the same season.

Heath put the 125 away in 1998, and for the rest of his career. He qualified for 8 rounds of 250 Supercross, finishing 14th at Las Vegas, and ending up 22nd in the championship. He again rode all 12 rounds of 250 Motocross, finishing 8th overall twice, at Millville and Steel City, and 11th in the championship.

On a stronger team in 1999, he continued his steady improvement in the premier classes, qualifying for 13 rounds of 250 Supercross. His best result was an 8th at Indianapolis, on his way to 17th in the championship. In 250 Motocross, Heath missed 3 rounds, his season best a 12th at Broome-Tioga. He was 17th in the points outdoors as well.

Heath qualified for 15 250/450 Supercross rounds in 2000, getting progressively better as the year went on. His best finish, was an 8th at the final round at Las Vegas where he climbed to 10th in the points. It would be his first of 6 seasons finishing in the Top Ten of that championship. He scored points at the 11 rounds of 250 Motocross he competed in, his best a 7th at Broome-Tioga, for 13th in the championship.

He didn’t quite back up his previous season in 2001, but was still solid. He qualified for 14 250/450 Supercross mains, with a season best 6th at Dallas, for 12th overall. He did not compete in any Motocross events.

In 2002, Voss qualified for 15 250/450 Supercross rounds, getting in the Top Ten on a regular basis. His season-best was a 6th in Atlanta. He was 10th in the championship. After not racing any Motocross events the year before, he raced all the rounds of the 250/450 Motocross series. He finished 8th at Budds Creek, for 11th in the series points.

After riding a Honda for every previous professional race, Heath switched to Yamaha in 2003. He had a solid year in 450 Supercross, finishing in the Top Ten more often than not, with a season best of 5th at Dallas and Detroit, and a career best 6th in the points. In 450 Motocross, he had a tough season, missing several rounds to injury, but still finishing 17th in the points.

2004 was arguably the best season of his career. Heath made another switch this year, staying on Yamaha, but going to the 450. He finished in the top ten regularly, with a season best of 5th at Detroit, finishing 7th Overall in the AMA Supercross standings. In 450/250 Motocross, he finished in the top ten nearly every round, finishing 7th 4 times. A DNF at Washougal set him back a bit, but he still finished 9th overall in the series.

He also won the 2004 FIM Supercross World Championship. The “World” Supercross Championship is a story in its own right, and one already well told by others. There were two required rounds in Europe before the AMA Supercross season started. Many of the top riders were so locked into their “programs” that they did not want to travel to Europe for early races. Heath had raced at many overseas races in the off season over the years, so it was not much of a change for him. Voss still had to beat all the riders that did pursue the championship, and his steady early finishes, combined with a career-best stretch run in the AMA series, achieved that goal.

Yamaha rewarded Heath’s World Championship with a promotion to the factory team, signing a 2 year deal for 2005 and 2006. He had another solid 450 Supercross series in 2005, finishing in the top ten most rounds, with a season best 5th at Phoenix and Las Vegas, finishing 8th in the championship. In 450 Motocross, he was injured after only 3 rounds.

In 2006, the second year of his factory contract, bad luck with injuries and his health adversely affected his results. He qualified for 9 rounds of 450 Supercross, finishing 10th 3 times, for 16th overall. Things went worse in 450 Motocross. He missed 5 rounds and struggled for results, his best finish being 12th at Unadilla.

From 2007 to end of his career, Voss was back to being a privateer, back to Honda, and riding a Supercross only schedule. In this next chapter of his career, he was often the top privateer, or in a close fight for the spot. He had a season best of 7th three times, finishing 9th in the championship. He talked about his plans and his life in Texas in a Racer X Privateer Profile. He did not compete in Motocross, choosing instead to explore competitive Water Skiing.

Heath had another strong year in 2008, a little down compared to 2007. His season best was 6th at Daytona. He didn’t quite make the Top Ten, finishing 12th overall in the 450 Supercross Championship. He explained some of his injuries and struggles in a Racer X 5 Minutes With interview.

He matched his 2008 finish in the championship with another 12th in 2009. His best finish was a 7th at Anaheim. Throughout his career, Heath made quite a good living on the off-season, European Supercross races. In 2008, he had one of his biggest paydays. With his big win in a Swiss Supercross race, he won a car and the lion’s share of the big purse.

2010 – Heath raced a few Supercross rounds, qualifying at them all; Indianapolis, Daytona, and Dallas. Voss retired after severely injuring his knee at the Houston Supercross, nearly 14 years after his first pro race.

2011 – Current
MXA caught up with a long-retired-from-Supercross, Heath Voss in this 2016 interview.

Photos provided by MNRacing.com

Millville 2006 on the factory Yamaha