Shaken up AMA Pro Flat Track title hunt moves into uncharted territory at Black Hills Speedway
NEWS August 4, 2014
Photo by Dave Hoenig
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 4, 2014) - No one said winning an AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship was easy.
Riders are tested on short tracks, huge mile circuits and half-mile ovals, and on a variety of different surfaces. And just when everyone is getting in a groove and comfortable navigating the demanding schedule, the Castle Rock TT was thrown into the mix.
The Castle Rock Wash., event on Saturday night was the first TT (Tourist Trophy) of two on the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track schedule. With a single jump and additional right turn, a different set of dirt track skills were tested - and the already ultra-tight championship chase took a new look.
And there's no rest in sight, as AMA Pro Flat Track moves on to the middle event of what's being called the "2-5-8," for three events in seven days - Aug. 2, Aug. 5 and Aug. 8. The "5" is Tuesday's Black Hills Half-Mile by Dunlop at the Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, S.D.
The Black Hills event, Round 10 of the AMA Pro Flat Track schedule, will begin with practice at 4 p.m. MT (6 p.m. ET, 3 p.m. PT) with the opening ceremonies scheduled for 7:30 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. ET, 6:30 p.m. PT), the Pro Singles main at 10 p.m. (midnight ET, 9 p.m. PT) and the Expert main at 10:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m. ET, 9:30 p.m. PT).
The top six in the Expert standings are separated by 50 points, easily keeping the title in sight for many riders with seven events remaining. Jared Mees on the No. 9 Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson stretched his championship lead over second place Bryan Smith and his No. 42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki to six points (165-159) and Jake Johnson, pilot of the No. 5 Ramspur Winery entry, stayed put in third, 11 back of Mees. Sammy Halbert aboard the No. 7 South East Harley-Davidson moved ahead of Zanotti Racing's Kenny Coolbeth by five points to fourth, 21 behind the leader. Brandon Robinson and his No. 44 USC Kawasaki sit quietly in striking distance in sixth with 115 points.
Then there's Henry Wiles on the No. 17 Don's Kawasaki machine and Factory Harley-Davidson rider Brad Baker, tied for seventh with 102 points, and certainly not out of the title hunt either. Both are coming off their best finishes of the season at Castle Rock, with Wiles continuing his dominance of TT events with a victory, and Baker, the defending GNC champion, taking third.
Tuesday will mark the debut of AMA Pro Flat Track at the Black Hills Speedway, a stone's throw from the famous motorcycle rally in Sturgis.
A podium of Wiles, Mike Rush (No. 54 Cascio Rush Racing Honda) and Baker shook up the GNC season as it was the first podium of the year for all three riders. Mees finished a strong fourth, snapping a streak of four straight podiums. Smith saw an identical streak come to an end at Castle Rock with a 10th place effort. Johnson came in seventh, missing the box for the first time in three races.
Coolbeth enters the Black Hills Half-Mile by Dunlop on a mission. The championship contender has been the man to beat multiple times this season, but bad luck has been a factor. On Saturday, he failed to make the main event.
Baker might have finally found his stride, placing third on Saturday and the No. 1 plate holder will look to continue the momentum and move into the championship hunt in South Dakota.
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles
The Castle Rock TT shook up the Pro Singles standings even more than it did for the young guns' Expert counterparts.
T.J. Burnett Farms' Davis Fisher moved into the points lead with his third straight runner-up finish and seventh podium in a row. Kyle Johnson of Parkinson Brothers Racing finished 14th at Castle Rock and slid back to second in points, 11 back of Fisher. Ryan Wells (KTM) placed 10th and stayed put in third, but the leader is well within sight as the New York rider is just 18 points behind.
Motorcycle Superstore's Dominic Colindres is coming off his first win of the season. The Californian has qualified for three straight main events, was fourth at the Sacramento Mile, and looks to be on the move in the standings from his current ninth place.
Bronson Bauman is one of just five Pro Singles riders to qualify for every main even this season, and the Rod Lake Racing rider sits fourth coming into South Dakota. Brandon Wilhelm (Wilhelm Racing) comes to Black Hills Speedway fifth in points and looking to regain some momentum after missing the main event at Castle Rock, and Jarod Vanderkooi (Johnny's Vintage Motorcycle) is continuing his steady climb up the points standings with a streak of six straight main events.
AMA Pro Flat Track Expert top 10 points leaders
1. Jared Mees 165
2. Bryan Smith 159
3. Jake Johnson 154
4. Sammy Halbert 134
5. Kenny Coolbeth 129
6. Brandon Robinson 115
7. Henry Wiles 102
8. Brad Baker 102
9. Stevie Bonsey 93
10. Briar Bauman 71
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles top 10 points leaders
1. Davis Fisher 138
2. Kyle Johnson 127
3. Ryan Wells 120
4. Bronson Bauman 90
5. Brandon Wilhelm 87
6. Dan Bromley 85
7. Jarod Vanderkooi 77
8. Dylan Morin 70
9. Dominic Colindres 69
10. Kolby Carlile 52
How to Watch
FansChoice.tv will be the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Flat Track and AMA Pro Road Racing events in 2014. The site will also provide coverage of IMSA's development and single-make series, and NASCAR's touring and weekly series.
About AMA Pro Flat Track
AMA Pro Flat Track is a national motorcycle racing series in North America and is considered one of the oldest forms of motorcycle racing. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, the Series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track racing in the world. The 2014 schedule consists of 16 rounds on the country's finest flat track courses. For more information on AMA Pro Flat Track, please visit www.amaproracing.com/ft.