Halbert: Pomona Report
NEWS October 29, 2009
The track turned out to be very challenging as they tried to make it hard packed, but the soil was too soft, and it was obvious right away that it was going to be a rough track all night. I qualified 9th but was confident I would be upfront when it came down to race time.
There was a few restarts in my heat race and I was getting shuffled backwards in most of them, I was worried as I fell back out of the top five before the restart. On the last re-start I didn't come off the line well, but I just charged into the lead through the first turn, but was soon passed by Henry Wiles. I tried my best to hang with him, but he was just a little faster. Then I had to give it everything I had to hold off challenges from Matt Weidman and JR Schnabel. Top two in this heat was crucial as it meant front row starts for the GNC Main event and Dash for Cash. I knew I had just barely kept my title hopes alive by finishing second.
The Dash for Cash just didn't go my way, I tried to find some good lines to pass, but found some bumps instead and dropped back to 6th place. Joe Kopp finished second which meant that we would be tied in the Overall Grand National Championship going into the Main event with Mees just one point behind.
In the main event I had kind of a rough time, and went backwards a little. I was running right behind Mees when all of a sudden Steve Bonsey crashed running the low line in turns three. His bike slid right in front of me,and I went up and over at high speed. I was layed out hard on the track, and it looked like it was all over, I felt like my leg might have been broken. After a few minutes I stood up, and luckily the bike wasn't to damaged to continue. I started in last place on the single file restart and worked my way around riders and continued to search for a fast line. Halfway through the race I had developed enough courage to try running the low line Thur the bumps in turn one, that turned out to be the key to my success as my Harley-Davidson XR750 was set up to handle the bumps well. I was then able to go just a little faster in each corner than everyone around me so I worked my way past Kopp, Johnson, and Carr. then I caught and passed Weidman and Mees for third, and it seemed I was catching the leaders, but it was too little to late. I finished in third place and was happy to limp onto the podium. I finished the season in third place for the AMA GNC Twins Championship, and won the "Overall Grand National Championship" by 1 point marking the closest ever top three riders in the Grand National Championship Series! I am also the first rider under 23 years old to win the Grand National Championship (combined points) since 1978.
I am so happy to end the season on such a high note by charging from last place to third in the Pomona GNC Main Event! They know I am coming for them! I also feel very honored to have won the www.flattrack.com overall Grand National Championship by having the most points in the singles and twins class for 2009.
I am looking forward to expanding my team for next year with the addition of my older brother, National #69 Jethro Halbert. I am really looking forward to working alongside him week in and week out, like we did as Amateurs. We will be stronger as a team together and will come to Daytona Bike Week prepared to gang up on the rest of the GNC Regulars.
Thanks to all my sponsors for helping to make the 2009 Racing Season a great success for me!