AMA Pro Flat Track recap of last week's Rounds 9, 10, & 11
NEWS August 12, 2014
Photo by Dave Hoenig
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 12, 2014) - A race won by milliseconds, an unprecedented victory by a Harley-Davidson on a mile track, a flooded front-stretch, a milestone win for one Grand National Championship contender - these are just a few things that defined last week's AMA Pro Flat Track action, that took place in three separate time zones all across the United States.
The week started with Round 9 on Aug. 2, in Castle Rock, Wash. when the series visited Castle Rock Race Park for the Castle Rock TT (Tourist Trophy). Henry Wiles, aboard his Don's Kawasaki, used a move late in the race to pass Mikey Rush to earn his 25th GNC win of all time and become the second-most winningest TT rider in series history.
Though he has been so successful in TT competition throughout his career, it was Wiles' first win at the Northwest venue.
"I really like coming to Castle Rock," said Wiles. "The fans are always so hardcore and it's just an honor to race there every time."
Though he coughed up the lead, Mikey Rush's second place finish aboard his Cascio Rush Racing Honda was far and away his best finish of the 2014 season.
"I can't complain at all about landing on top of the box at Castle Rock," said Rush. "I've been sitting out a lot of races this year and to come back like I did is just awesome."
After a tough season so far for the defending Grand National Champion, Brad Baker finally landed on the podium at Castle Rock. The No. 1 plate holder, aboard his Brothers Power Sports Honda, even contested for the lead at times throughout the race.
"It feels amazing to get my first podium of the year," said Baker. "I was on the box a lot last year and to finally get my first one here this year feels amazing. After a rough outing at Daytona on my Honda, it felt great to bust it out of the stable and perform well on it."
In AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles action at Castle Rock, Dominic Colindres won his second consecutive Castle Rock TT. Colindres did so riding his Motorcycle Superstore Honda to a 6.120-second win margin.
"It was a perfect night," said Colindres. "We rolled my motorcycle off the truck and didn't change a thing. I felt great all day and came out first in practice and set the fastest time. I can't thank my dad and my mom enough for all of their support and for sticking with me through all these races."
Following the Castle Rock TT, the series then headed east for the Black Hills Half-Mile in Black Hills, S.D., but unfortunately, torrential downpours caused the midweek showdown to be completely canceled.
AMA Pro Flat Track's next stop on the schedule was the famed Indy Mile in Indianapolis, which ran on Aug. 8. Kenny Coolbeth, riding his Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson, stole the show with a dominating 2.470-second victory, on a Harley-Davidson, and has now earned three main event wins in 2014.
"It's good to finally beat Bryan Smith on a mile, that's the biggest thing," said Coolbeth. "That's his forte, he's got great equipment for it and he rides it well. I just wanted to regroup after the last couple races. I'm happy with everything right now and the people I have working behind me."
Bryan Smith entered the race as the favorite to earn his third Indy Mile victory in four seasons. However, it was second place that the Flint, Mich., product had to fight for down the stretch. Fortunately for him, he was able to seal the impressive runner-up finish aboard his Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki.
"It was definitely a scrap the whole time," said Smith. "Kenny (Coolbeth) did exactly what I did last year. He got out front and let everyone race for second. Jared (Mees) and I were going at it a few times for sure as it was just a battle from second place on."
Mees' third place finish aboard his Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson was his sixth podium of the season and his consistency in 2014 has him atop the overall point standings.
Mees emerged from the stretch with a single-point advantage in the GNC title hunt over Smith (182-181).
In AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles action in Indianapolis, Jarod Vanderkooi continued to impress in what isn't even a full season for the youngster, since he was too young to compete as a professional in the season opener at Daytona. The 16-year-old took the checkered flag at the famed Indy Mile with a draft pass by Kyle Johnson on the final stretch.
"Getting a win by not even half a wheel is awesome," Vanderkooi said. "I wanted to go into Turn 3 and hopefully draft ahead for the win."
The demanding stretch of race dates wore on all the competitors, including Vanderkooi, but the young Ohioan was the lucky one to get the week off with the sweet taste of victory still fresh.
"It was a long time on the road, about 7,000 miles, but it was all worth it now," Vanderkooi said.
Johnson was happy to bounce back with a strong finish. Even though he wasn't on the top of the podium, he was able to regain the points lead he lost after the season's only other TT event, the Castle Rock TT.
"We kind of had a rough weekend last week at Castle Rock, we were 11 points back," Johnson said. "So we're four points in the lead now. Hopefully we can get a couple more wins this season and come away with this points championship."
Nick Armstrong was confident coming off a podium finish in another mile, the Sacramento Mile, just weeks ago. The Californian rolled off the truck with speed, but his night wasn't easy.
"First practice I thought I had a bike that could be on the podium," Armstrong said. "I did well at Sacramento and later in the night here (at Indy) the track felt pretty similar, it was a little more hooked up. But about halfway through (the main event) I didn't think I had it. I lost my brakes out there. So I was just trying to roll it in, be smooth and keep it on the groove. I slipped off a few times over there in (turns) 3 and 4, and I would lose a spot. But coming to get the checkered, I was pretty close to those two."
Top 10 in points in AMA Pro Flat Track GNC Combined
1. Jared Mees 182
2. Bryan Smith 181
3. Jake Johnson 174
4. Kenny Coolbeth 157
5. Sammy Halbert 138
6. Brad Baker 118
7. Brandon Robinson 117
8. Henry Wiles 115
9. Stevie Bonsey 105
10. Briar Bauman 82
Top 10 in points in AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles
1. Kyle Johnson 146
2. Davis Fisher 142
3. Ryan Wells 121
4. Jarod Vanderkooi 100
5. Bronson Bauman 100
6. Brandon Wilhelm 99
7. Dan Bromley 98
8. Dylan Morin 70
9. Dominic Colindres 69
10. Kolby Carlile 52