AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Round 10 & 11 Recap - Springfield Mile
NEWS September 5, 2013
Photo by Dave Hoenig
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (September 4, 2013) - This past weekend's AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Labor Day doubleheader at the Springfield Mile produced Kawasaki-stacked podiums and brought to light a girl named Shayna Texter (Crosley Radio/Kawasaki) who might just be revolutionizing the sport.
In Grand National Championship competition, the chase for the No. 1 plate just got a whole lot tighter with Brandon Robinson (TJ Burnett Farms/Kawasaki) ripping off both Springfield Mile victories and putting himself within striking distance of current points leader Brad Baker (Dodge Bros Racing/Harley-Davidson). If someone were to look at the GNC point standings following Robinson's 18th place finish at Peoria last month, discussions of the 23-year-old being a one-hit-wonder might have aroused as he'd had a mediocre season ever since recording his first professional at Daytona earlier in the year.
Since his mid-season woes, however, Robinson has been the hottest rider on the circuit. Having clinched podium finishes at both Indianapolis and Colonial Downs in recent weeks, and then completing the Springfield Mile sweep this past weekend, Robinson has cut deep into Baker's points lead and now sits third in the standings, just three markers behind Bryan Smith and 13 behind Baker.
"This weekend was huge," said Robinson. "My confidence is definitely boosted a lot after having landed on the podium four straight weeks. I kind of felt like it was my time to shine with the combination of having a perfect bike and the momentum I'd be coming into Springfield with after having so much success in Indy and Virginia."
Though current overall GNC points leader Brad Baker's stock took a hit at Springfield last weekend, his two fifth-place finishes weren't too detrimental to his current lead in the chase. Baker was riding one of the few Harley-Davidsons that seemed to stand a chance against the lethal Kawasaki lineup and the Elma, Wash. product could have easily been atop the podium at the conclusion of Race 2, as he only finished less than a half-second off the lead.
Bryan Smith's (Crosley Radio/Kawasaki) two consecutive second-place finishes at Springfield last weekend were bittersweet for the Flint, Mich. native.
"The second race was a lot of fun," said Smith. "It was a hard-fought 25 laps and everyone was going for it from lap one. I remember I was halfway through the race and I still hadn't taken a breather. Luckily I was able to salvage second-place. Brandon (Robinson) was on fire this weekend and I can't take that away from him."
Smith was in position to win the second race but came up .202 seconds short behind Robinson. The 30-year-old Smith now sits just ten points behind Baker in the overall GNC points chase but currently leads the GNC Twins standings by five points over Robinson going into the season's final two races.
Defending Grand National Champion Jared Mees (Rogers Racing/Harley-Davidson) put up average results at Springfield with seventh and sixth-place finishes. Mees was in the final group of riders at the end and was another Harley-Davidson mounted contender that had a chance to claim victory but fell just short.
If Philpot, Ky.'s JD Beach (TJ Burnett Farms/Kawasaki) wasn't a full-time AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike rider in GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing competition, it's possible the young star could rank a lot higher than his current ninth position in the overall GNC point standings. Beach's back-to-back third-place performances at Springfield assure that the versatile rider is comfortable going at high rates of speeds whether it be on dirt or asphalt.
"It was a fantastic race and the battle for the lead was intense the whole time," said Beach when speaking of the second Springfield Mile. "I was just sitting back and trying to save my tires a little bit. I found an awesome line on the last few laps and stayed riding it. I tried to draft off (Brandon) Robinson and pull away at the last second but I came up just a little short there at the end."
Morris, Conn.'s Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Harley-Davidson Motor Co./Harley-Davidson) recorded sixth and fourth-place finishes at Springfield. Coolbeth was another rider in the hunt during Race 2 and even had the lead going into the final turn before surrendering it to Robinson.
Before this weekend, Henry Wiles (Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Harley-Davidson) looked to have a fighting chance at giving Baker a run for his money in the GNC point standings, but after consecutive ninth-place Springfield Mile finishes, Wiles may have put himself out of contention as he now sits 25 points off lead.
Coatesville, N.J. product and teammate to Wiles, Jake Johnson (Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Ducati) has yet to find his groove in 2013. Johnson, who has two Grand National Championships under his belt, has not found the podium all season long and his 15th and 11th place finishes at Springfield indicate the 29-year-old is having an off-year, to say the least.
Alton, Ill. native Jeffrey Carver Jr. (Kiesow Racing/Harley-Davidson) rounded out the top ten in both races with consecutive tenth-place finishes and now sits eighth in the overall point standings.
AMA Pro Basic Twins
The inauguration of the AMA Pro Basic Twins platform last weekend was basically a showcase for Shayna Texter to prove why she belongs at the Grand National Championship level. At 22-years-young, Texter is fast becoming a prolific icon of the sport.
Mounted on a motorcycle with the same engine approved for competition in the Grand National Expert Twins class, but with fewer performance modifications, Texter's two Springfield Mile wins last weekend came by a total margin of 15.691 seconds. Texter's sweep of Springfield puts her at four total victories on the season, plus two second-place performances. It's just a matter of time before she graduates to the elite ranks of the series.
Jason Isennock (High Dairy Stores/Kawasaki) and Cody Johncox (Sunnyside Cycle/Harley-Davidson) proved they could not only excel in AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles competition, but the two battled it out on their twin-cylinder machines to each claim second and third-place finishes in both AMA Pro Basic Twins races at the Springfield Mile.
Mikeal Strable (Bill Built/Kawasaki) found himself in the hunt all weekend with fourth and fifth-place finishes. Strable rarely competes in J&P Cycles Pro Singles competition so it was extra important for the Sioux Falls, S.D. product to put up solid numbers last weekend on the much larger, more powerful machine.
K&N Midwest Challenge
In AMA Pro Grand National Expert competition, Brandon Robinson's two wins at Springfield helped him obtain the K&N Midwest Challenge award. K&N has been a longstanding supporter of AMA Pro Flat Track and this year for a special bonus, they have decided to award the AMA Pro Grand National Grand National Experts at the Springfield Mile as well as the Peoria TT that collected the most points in those particular races.
"We had some extra money that wasn't used in our program with the Illinois Motorcycle Deals Association," said Dennis Mahan, K&N's Powersports Research and Development Manager. "We wanted to do something that would put some money into the rider's pockets and so we came up with this idea that would allow that."
Though Robinson finished 18th at Peoria, his two wins at Springfield were just enough to help him win the award, which pays out $750, with 59 total points. JD Beach's three third-place finishes granted him 55 points and a $500 payday with Brad Baker and his second-place effort at Peoria followed by two consecutive fifth-place efforts at Springfield last weekend helped him earn 52 points and a third-place payout of $250.
Saddlemen Rookie of the Year
Glenmoore, Pa.'s Jake Shoemaker captured the Saddlemen Rookie of the Year Award over the weekend with eighth and 15th place finishes at Springfield. The award goes to the eligible rookie rider who earns the most points in the Grand National Championship. Shoemaker's 66 markers were more than enough to earn him the accolade and the $5,000 year-end payout that comes along with it.
MotoBatt Hard Charger Award
Bryan Smith and JD Beach each received MotoBatt Hard Charger Awards for their impressive display of come-from-behind performances at the Springfield Mile. Smith and Beach were both granted $250 each as the award is given to the rider who improves the most positions from each of the weekend’s main events.
AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles will visit the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, Calif. on September 29, 2013 for the Santa Rosa Mile. For tickets and more information regarding the event, please visit http://www.circlebellmotorsports.com/.