Halbert Wins Santa Rosa Mile in Front of Packed House
NEWS September 30, 2012
Photo by Dave Hoenig
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (September 30, 2012)- In a blazing end to a hot Santa Rosa Mile, Bryan Smith (Crosley Radio/Kawasaki) let a five-second lead slip and Sammy Halbert took full advantage during the 25-lap race at the Somona County Fairgrounds. On lap 20 of Sunday’s AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com and Lucas Oil main event, Halbert slammed the throttle and stole the lead from Smith, notching his fourth win of the season. The final laps brought the crowd of 12,000 to their feet in what proved to be an absolute thriller between some of the best flat track talent in the world.
“In the beginning, I was playing cat and mouse with Bryan (Smith),” said Halbert. “Once I passed him, I just kept looking back and saw the guys catching me but I adapted and overcame it. It was a great win. I loved coming out here to Santa Rosa and really want to thank all the great fans. I also want to thank my mom, dad, girlfriend and all of my sponsors.”
Smith took the holeshot right from the start and was looking as if he was about to cruise to his second consecutive mile-track victory. With 10 laps to go, Smith opened up his biggest lead of the race at 4.9 seconds but it didn’t last. Halbert turned on the jets and Smith seemed to lose significant time on the corners causing him to lose his lead.
Jared Mees looked very impressive as he came all the way back from 13th position to finish 2nd in the race. Though Smith dropped the ball at the end, he was able to salvage a podium finish as he barely nicked fierce competitor Jake Johnson by .18 seconds for a third place finish. Johnson and Robert Pearson rounded out the top five finishers, respectively.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles
Michigan product Stephen Vanderkuur (Parkinson Brothers/Honda) had no mercy on the field today as he was the clear-cut winner by almost a full 10 seconds over second-place finisher Rodney Spencer Jr. (831 Pinnit/Honda). Vanderkuur started from pole position and increased his lead every lap on his way to claiming his second victory of the year.
“I was just riding my own race,” said Vanderkuur. “I knew I had to get ahead early and I did just that. This is a big accomplishment for my team as far as the point standings go. I have to thank my team and sponsors for all their support, without them I would not be here. I also want to give a shout-out to the great fans here in California.”
The best race on the track was the battle for third. Cole Anderson (Diesel Minnesota/Honda) edged out Jake Shoemaker (Montgomeryville Cycle Center/Honda) by .26 seconds for an impressive third-place finish after starting from eighth on the grid. Less than a second was the difference between finishing in third place and finishing in seventh.
AMA Pro Flat Track heads to Tucson, Ariz. for the Tucson Half-Mile, scheduled for October 6, 2012 at the Tucson International Speedway.
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