STORY AND VIDEO by JOHN ANDERSON
John Koester has stood with his championship trophy in front of 10,000 fans on a Sunday and walked the streets of Hornell unnoticed on Monday.
That all changed on Saturday night during the 47th Annual Hornell Sports Night as he was named Sportsperson of the Year.
Koester, of Arkport, recently broke the 40-year record for most national championship wins for professional motorcycle hill climbing.
It’s amazing to be recognized locally. We are well-known nationally, so to come home and be honored is awesome,” he said.
Koester grew up running around Arkport Cycles which his grandparents owned and once he turned 16, he was able to race professionally. His family supported him and he’s been one of the greatest, nationally and internationally, since.
“We have 3,000 to 5,000 people and some hills we have 10,000 people. That’s a lot of people to entertain and everybody there is just into it,” Koester said. “We do what we can to put on a good show. If anyone can come out to a show, I would totally recommend it. The closest one to Hornell is Freemansburg, Pennsylvania which is about a 3 and a half hour drive.”
Koester signed hundreds of autographs and while waiting to be introduced, former Buffalo Bills legend Cornelius Bennett was checking out his bike and his videos. He was next to former WWF and WWE wrestling hall of famer Greg “The Hammer” Valentine who was also enjoying the motorcycle and watching kids get on the seat to pose for photos.
Koester has won 11 National American Motorcycle (AMA) Professional Hill Climb Championships and his nickname is Flyin’ which he picked up before he turned 5.
Here is the entire interview with the Hornell Sun: