Monday, May 25, 2015

Bryan Smith Wins AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Springfield Mile I on Crosley/Howerton/Kawasaki-sponsored Rocket

 




























The 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Twins season got off to a roaring start yesterday at the Springfield Mile I, and an old favorite in the name of Bryan Smith on the #42 Crosley Brands/Howerton Motorsports/Villa-Esparza/Kawasaki-backed Kawasaki EX650 emerged as the winner after the 25-lap Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines National main was complete. Shown leading 24 of the 25-lap event, Smith had the power to stay ahead of 2nd-place Jared Mees on the #1 Rogers Racing XR750, who also held off Brad Baker on the #6 Harley-Davidson Motor Company XR at the line.

Smith was relegated to race one of his back-up bikes, a slight variation of the mount that took him to four wins during last year's campaign, with the C&J chassis. Flyin' Bryan's new mount for the 2015 season, which actually resembles a razor on two wheels, was giving him shock handling problems in the first four lap practice session, so the Crosley/Howerton team parked it in the trailer and went with the combination that worked so well last year. More on the new mount later.

Although Smith and Mees shared the laps led stats at the line, several other riders including Sammy Halbert, Willie McCoy and Brandon Robinson appeared to get the nod on the field, albeit just past the stripe, in first 8-10 laps of the race. Robinson, on the Latus Motors/Castrol Triumph ran with the lead pack during the first part of the race, to slowly fade and eventually drop out with an unknown mechanical problem. McCoy, on his self-built H-D of Wausau XR750, stayed with the lead pack until after the restart caused by Johnny Lewis's Lloyd Brothers Motorsports bucking him off on the front straight (thankfully mostly unhurt, at least to him). McCoy finished 5th, while Halbert stayed in the lead draft on his new ride with the BriggsAuto.com/Johnny Goad-tuned Kawasaki to finish in the 4th-place slot.

Other then some issues with the timing light system on the starts during the heats and semis, both for the GNC1 and GNC2 classes, the day went off with very few hitches, and thankfully the ambulance never had to roll once during the warm, windy and even at one point slightly-wet day. And AMA Pro Flat Track's new house cleaning over the off-months had little effect on the race's running.































An 'in the trailer' shot of Flyin' Bryan's new mount for this year, shows that obviously engineer/flat track maniac and devotee and again-team head Ricky Howerton has his hands back in the mix full time with the Kawasaki team that he originally introduced to the fans and paddock four seasons ago at Springfield.

For those that don't remember, Howerton stepped away at the end of the 2013 season in order to spend more time with his family, due to the commitment to the team and needing to be able to spend more quality time with his boys, now 13 and 14 years of age. While we all knew that this wouldn't last long for a guy who has been around the sport since the early-mid '80s, he was able to return to the competition that he truly loves and that is obviously ingrained in his bloodstream, while making a few arrangements in order to keep the family involved. So instead of working out of his Howerton Products shop on Gasoline Alley in Indy, or out of a race shop set up in the Speedway area just blocks from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the long time flat track nut is now working out of his own house on the far northwest side of Indy, thusly close to home where the boys can now help out Dad and his fellow cronies and stooges as they burn the midnight oil in search of that illusive dream-winning it all in the form of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship.

Shortly after Christmas of last year, Slick Rick went back to the drawing board and designed a whole new machine to again put underneath star rider, Michigan Man Flyin' Bryan. And redesign is far from complimenting the big re-do that he came up with. Slick and slim as a razor, the new machine sits 3" shorter at the head, and what appears to be at least 3-4" narrower then his original creations, which are now adorning his house in Indy as new interior decorations.

The small cutout you can see in the middle of the seat is the plug cover for the gas tank, which now sits completely underneath the rider, and the whole 'tank' and tail and number plate section is a one-piece monocoque design, all carbon fiber, and stiff as a steel door for rigidity. Howerton told me yesterday, "I have roughly 500-600 hours just in the computer design of the bike," (but didn't have enough fingers to add up the rest of the time put into this truly sleek, new machine), "but unfortunately Bryan had some shock-related handling issues occur during the first practice, and without enough track time to sort it out, we rolled out the back-up, which is just a slight variation of the bike he rode to four wins last year. We'll be ready for Sacramento next Saturday with the new one" where Smith is going for five wins in-a-row, three of which have come on Howerton-created and inspired bikes, and with any luck will add the fourth to have done so come late this Saturday.

If you make it to a race this year, you owe it to yourself to take the time to go down ,say 'hi' to Rick, Jeff Gordon, Dink and the rest of the team and check the new mount out. Radical is an often-used word, but it totally fits this new Howerton-created machine. Or maybe 'simply awesome!'































Of course, probably the next big story of the weekend was the appearance of former 3-Time World Superbike Champion, former MotoGP winner and Australian and British Superbike Champ Troy Bayliss, who finally appeared on the track in front of the fans on the #21I Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Ducati/Ducati.net/Vintage Motorcycles-sponsored Ducati 1100 'L' twin.

Many expected a good showing out of the popular Aussie, who during the fan walk portion of the day couldn't even be seen due to the throngs of fans and people swarming the LBM camp trying to get a word with the new AMA Pro Flat Track phenom. Although Bayliss didn't make the main (and not for want of trying, maybe more so for lack of time and comfort on the bike), every session he made laps at the mecca of speed he would saw a little more off of his lap times, and was visibly becoming little-by-little more comfortable aboard the sleek yellow and pearl machine.

With still four events left on TB21's schedule, he still has plenty of time to become more acclimated with the new bike and in getting into his comfort zone. And with the might of the LBM boys behind him, that curve should be narrowed considerably, and we may even see more out of him come this Saturday at the Sacramento Mile. Either way, his presence in the sport is a great shot in the arm for AMA Pro Flat Track and the show we all know as The Rolling Thunder Show.

We'll have more before the end of next weekend, as we will do one of our mini photo reviews of all that went down yesterday in Springfield.

In the meantime, you can check out the full results here thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track, read up on the race here thanks to my great traveling partner, Larry Lawrence and his short story over on Cycle News, and below check out the press release from AMA Pro Flat Track as well as the link below to see all of the action from yesterday's super events in Springfield.








Bryan Smith caps action-packed Springfield Mile with thrilling victory 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 24, 2015) - Bryan Smith surprised very few people on Sunday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds when he swiped the Springfield Mile checkered flag in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines main event.
 
Piloting his powerful No. 42 Crosley Radio Kawasaki, Smith was tested by Jared Mees on the race's final lap when the defending Grand National Champion went low in turn four and took the lead from Smith for a brief moment. However, he reclaimed the top spot on the front stretch after putting his Kawasaki in perfect position to outrun Mees' No. 1 Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson to the finish line.
 

 
 
Bryan Smith #42 leads Jared Mees #9, Sammy Halbert #7, Willie McCoy #59, Brad Baker #6, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. #2 and Brandon Robinson #44 in the early laps of the Springfield Mile I on Sunday, May 24. Smith led 24 of the 25-lap National main (Mees led lap 10 at the line) to claim the win in an exciting race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile oval. AMA Pro Flat Track photo.
 

 
 
"This win feels great," said Smith. "Everyone kept it clean and it was a really good race. I have to thank my team as they've been behind me from the start. I also want to thank Kawasaki for coming on board this year, that's really huge."
 
The win marked Smith's 18th career Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines victory and his fifth at Springfield. The Flint, Mich., native now sits seventh in the point standings and will be looking to earn another win next weekend when the series visits Sacramento, Calif., for the Sacramento Mile. It's a track where Smith has been dominant, winning his last four main events there.
 
Three-time World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss failed to make the main event aboard his 21I Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati, however, the Aussie showed signs of improvement as the day went on, decreasing his lap times in every on-track session.
 
"I'm really pleased with the way things went," said Bayliss. "These guys are younger than me and they cut their teeth on this sport. They've been doing it year-in and year-out for many years and they're very good. After my first session, I was like 'Wow, this is going to be quite difficult today.' But every session I gained a second and by the end of the day I was basically one second off the fast time. I knew making the main event would be hard. It was good to race these guys. It was sweet. The bike was nice and there's a few little things we need to work on, but it's about me getting comfortable."
 
Mees didn't have enough to take the win from Smith at the end of the main, and he was even left with a battle for third with Brad Baker on the No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson as the two crossed the line. Mees now sits second in points and remains arguably the most consistent rider on the circuit.
 
Baker was barely a wheel behind Mees, showing the 2013 Grand National Champion is fully healed from an arm injury suffered during the offseason. Baker sat behind No. 7 Briggs Auto Kawasaki rider Sammy Halbert for the majority of the main, but got by late to challenge Mees for the second spot. Baker's third place finish improves his position in the point standings to eighth, while Halbert's fourth place effort moves him to third. Rounding out the Springfield Mile top five in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class was Willie McCoy, aboard his Harley-Davidson of Wausau XR-750. Kenny Coolbeth maintained the points lead with a seventh place finish on his No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson.
 
GNC2
 
In his second career Springfield Mile start, Davis Fisher rode his No. 67M Racing Unlimited Kawasaki to the GNC2 main event victory. Starting from third on the grid, Fisher benefited from earning the holeshot following the second staggered start of the main, proving once again that he is one of the fastest riders in GNC2 today. 
 
Fisher edged a charging Jamison Minor in the race's final laps to earn his first victory of 2015, and his win puts him atop the point standings after three rounds. "As the race went on, I knew it was going to come down to the final laps," said Fisher. "I saw (Jamison) Minor catching up to me and I just didn't want to make any mistakes. It was definitely a battle and a great race. It feels good to get the win and achieve my goal today."
 
Minor's second-place effort aboard his No. 27U Roy Built Kawasaki moves him to sixth in the GNC2 point standings.
 
Closing out the podium was the No. 44E Goeken Racing Kawasaki rider, Nick Armstrong, while Brandon Wilhelm, riding the 24J Mike Butler Racing Kawasaki and Dan Bromley, aboard the No. 54A Bill Werner Racing Kawasaki, rounded out the top five, respectively. Andrew Luker owned the GNC2 points lead heading into Springfield, but a crash on lap three of the main event forced him out of the race, clearing the way for a big shakeup in the standings. Luker's 18th place finish puts him back to third in points.
 
Next up, the stars of AMA Pro Flat Track will visit Sacramento, Calif., for the Sacramento Mile on May 30. For tickets and information regarding the event, scheduled to take place at the Cal Expo, please visit https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/b/ae283e or call 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453).
 
Fans can also watch every round of the AMA Pro Flat Track season live online, in high definition and free of charge at www.FansChoice.tv.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines.  Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.   
 








AMA Pro Flat Track Round 3 from the iconic Springfield Mile now available for VOD viewing

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  (May 24, 2015) - The legendary Springfield Mile didn't disappoint Sunday, May 24. The best flat track racers in the world took to the legendary track to battle it out at arguably the most prestigious event on the calendar. See Jared Mees, Bryan Smith, Kenny Coolbeth Jr., Sammy Halbert and Brad Baker battle it out in the elite Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class, and watch the up-and-comers of the GNC2 class try to establish themselves on the fastest Mile on the AMA Pro Flat Track Circuit. 

 
Springfield Mile I Harley-Davidson GNC1
presented by Vance & Hines main event
 
 
Springfield Mile I GNC2 Main Event
Springfield Mile I GNC2 Main Event
 
 
Other videos from AMA Pro Flat Track can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/user/AMAProVids/videos
 
Every round of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track season will be available live, in high definition and free of charge for fans to watch online at www.FansChoice.tv.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines.  Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.   
























Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tomorrow Will See the Riders of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Take to the Springfield Mile I



















The big event that kicks off the meat of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season is nearly upon us, as the men and women of The Rolling Thunder Show will take to the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile oval tomorrow morning in the season's first Twins Series event at the renowned Springfield Mile I.

With too many rider and team changes, let alone stories to go along with this year's championship battle, this year's first big race of the year will see spectators, fans, riders and teams all alike not only paying attention to the fast-paced action on the track, but to the various changes within the series ranks and the new stars that will be taking to the track along with the series' veterans to do battle over the course of the Memorial Day weekend classic.

With changes among the ranks in the Ducati camp-which will see former AMA Supermoto Champions Johnny Lewis #10 aboard a Lloyd Brothers Motorsports mount, the team will also be hosting the first of five events for former 3-Time World Superbike Champion, Australian Troy Bayliss.

With former 2-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson having split from the LBM team over the course of the off-season, Jersey Jake will be joining another former Rookie of the Year, Briar Bauman, on the also totally revamped Hart Racing/USC Kawasaki team.

Brandon Robinson, the 2013 double mile winner at the Springfield Mile, has joined up with the Triumph ranks, as has former Rookie of the Year Jake Shoemaker, while former Triumph rider and one of the first ladies of racing, Shayna Texter, will be aboard a Crosley Brands-sponsored Kawasaki. Former Pro Twins/Pro Singles rider Jarod Vanderkooi, who blitzed both of the Springfield Mile Pro Twins rounds last year on his family-owned Kawasaki, has joined former Pro Singles Champ Jeffrey Carver, Jr. on the Don's Kawasaki team for the new season. And Henry Wiles, the former Don's Kawi rider, has split from the team and is now a team mate to the second-winningest rider from the 2014 season, former 3-Time AMA Grand National Twins Champion Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the Zanotti Racing team.

One of Zanotti's former men, Stevie Bonsey, a 2-time AMA Grand National race winner, has joined back up with the Dodge Brothers racing team, who won the championship with Brad Baker in the 2013 season, and whom he raced for when he won his first Grand National main back several years ago. Sammy Halbert has left his family owned team and joined forces with Scott Powersports, while one of the Fast Boys from Illinois, Rob Pearson, made use of his tryout with the Waters Autobody KTM team from late last season to return to battle with the New York-based team for this season. And former AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Champion Mikey Martin has returned to the Iowa-based Weirbach Racing team that took him to the championship during the 2011 season, to race their sleek and fast new Kawasakis.

And two new teams have also emerged over the course of the down time since late last year in the forming of Myers Motorsports with California Kid Chad Cose behind the throttle of their sharp looking new Kawasakis, and Cory Texter will be aboard a Babe Demay-built Yamaha FZ-07-based parallel twin that will be looking to reinstate the long history of flat track racing that the twin tuning fork brand made in the sport back in the '70s with a fairly well known racer by the name of Kenny Roberts.

I may have missed some changes and placement swaps over the course of the off-season, but like I said the stories and changes made over the last 6-7 months is pretty long and deep and should make for what should be one of the most historical seasons of bar banging action in the greatest racing series on two wheels in the world.

In the shot above, riders get ready to take their sighting lap prior to the start of the Springfield Mile II over the Labor Day weekend on August 31, 2014.

(L-R)  Jake Shoemaker on the #55 USC Kawasaki/Hart Racing/Hot Shot-sponsored Kawasaki EX650, Henry Wiles on the #17 Don's Kawasaki/DPC Racing/EA Racing-backed Kawasaki, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the #2 Zanotti Racing/Moroney's H-D/Burt Ives Honda-sponsored Harley-Davidson XR750, Bryan Smith on the #42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio/Howerton Products-sponsored Kawasaki, Jared Mees on the #9 Rogers Racing/Las Vegas H-D/Blue Springs H-D-backed XR750 and Jake Johnson on the #5 Ramspur Winery/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Parkinson Brothers Racing-sponsored Kawasaki get ready to lead the pack off the line to check out the track before settling in to do battle during the 25-lap main event at the mecca of speed.

Others viewable in the shot are: Brandon Robinson on the #44 TJ Burnett Farms/Bob Lanphere's Beaverton Motorcycles/Dan Wall Racing-sponsored Kawasaki (just behind Mees' right shoulder), Sammy Halbert on his #7 South East H-D/White's H-D/Specialty Fabrication-backed Kawasaki, Willie McCoy on his #59 H-D of Wausau/Tucker Rocky/Independence H-D-sponsored XR750 and Rob Pearson on the #27 KTM/GE Capital/Waters Autobody Racing-backed KTM LC8 950 all get ready to follow suit at the wave of the AMA Pro Flat Track official's arm.

And although there are a bunch of changes to watch out for at Springfield, there are also lots of non-changes happening. Willie McCoy returns to the track where he won two back-to-back mile events on his Texas XR750, Brad Baker returns to the track on the factory H-D with his new #6 number plate, Bryan Smith returns for the fourth season aboard a slightly different variation of the Howerton/Villa-Esparza/Crosley Kawasaki (we knew Rick Howerton couldn't keep from getting his fingers in the middle of things for too long!), Jared Mees is back with Rogers Racing and Kenny Tolbert sporting the #1 plate again, the team and combination that he won the 2014 championship with, and Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. as mentioned is back for his second season with 3-Time AMA Grand National Champions Zanotti Racing.

Although the weather forecast for Springfield on Sunday isn't looking very favorable at the moment, we are all hoping that the day of great racing gets off without a hitch and we all see a super race among the ranks of the best of the best racers in the world at Springfield.

You can follow all of the action here, including the link to FansChoice.tv, should you be one of the very unfortunate ones that won't be able to be there in person to witness the great day ahead of us. And with any luck, Stu's Shots will be there to bring back a truckload of shots, gossip and meat to chew on as we get ready for one of the strongest seasons of racing in recent history in The Rolling Thunder Show's version of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship. It's almost time to go racing!








AMA Pro Flat Track riders gearing up for
highly anticipated Springfield Mile

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 20, 2015) - Thanks to increased factory support, special superstar competitors and new motorcycles destined to contend with Harley-Davidson and Kawasaki for podium appearances, the upcoming Springfield Mile is perhaps one of AMA Pro Flat Track's most highly anticipated events in recent memory.
 
Roughly a month ago, news broke that Australian road racing legend and three-time World Superbike champion, Troy Bayliss, would compete in the premier Harley-Davdison GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines division at five AMA Pro Flat Track events during the 2015 season. The first of those much-anticipated races is Memorial Day Weekend's Springfield Mile, set to take place this Sunday, May 24, at the historic Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. Bayliss will ride a Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati Scrambler with the No. 21I. Powered by an air cooled Hypermotard-based 1100cc V-twin, the motorcycle has made steady progress since the Lloyd Brothers began racing it in 2010.
 
Not only will Bayliss challenge the world's greatest dirt track racers, but he'll do so on their home turf. The Springfield Mile is the crown jewel of the AMA Pro Flat Track schedule and each Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines competitor will be licking their chops at the opportunity to show the Aussie what racing in the world's premier flat track series is really about.
 
Bayliss and his Lloyd Brothers teammate, Johnny Lewis, will both be trying to put a Ducati on the podium. The iconic Italian manufacturer has shown speed in AMA Pro Flat Track events before, and with extra support and tons of talent pushing the bikes around the track, there are high hopes for a strong showing.
 
Springfield is also one of the final AMA Pro Flat Track events before the sport makes its debut in the X Games, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on June 4. In addition to fighting for the podium, the riders who received invites to compete in the immensely popular action sports showcase will certainly be looking to make sure they are ready for the international spotlight.
 
Defending Grand National Champion Jared Mees is aiming for his third title in four seasons, and the Clio, Mich., resident knows he must perform well at Springfield if he wants to achieve his goal. Last year, he recorded two third place Springfield Mile finishes and he'll look to improve on those results this go-around aboard his No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson/Rogers Racing XR750.
 
The defending champion's eagerness to perform well extends far beyond wanting to retain the coveted GNC1 No. 1 plate, as Harley-Davidson has agreed to pay $25,000 to the top rider utilizing their equipment in 2015. Mees was the undisputed top Harley-Davidson rider last year, but he'll have to be at the top of his game again this season if he wants to cash in on Harley-Davidson's generous bonus fund with a collection of elite riders hot on his tail. Mees is coming into Springfield fourth in GNC1 points.
 
One of Mees' biggest competitors, Kenny Coolbeth Jr., is certainly a rider to look out for in 2015, and this weekend at Springfield. The No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson XR750 rider will look to build off his six-point lead in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines point standings, as well as preserve his impressive run at Springfield.
 
Coolbeth made headlines last season by winning the second Springfield Mile aboard a Harley-Davidson, ending a streak of four straight Kawasaki victories at the hallowed fairgrounds. He finished second in the first Springfield Mile in 2014.  The Morris, Conn., native got off to a hot start this year at the DAYTONA Flat Track doubleheader, earning third and first place finishes to lead the GNC1 title chase heading into Springfield. Look for him to not only finish high in the running order this weekend at Springfield, but to be in contention for the championship all year.
 
Coolbeth leads Brandon Robinson in points after two rounds, and Sammy Halbert is another six points back of Robinson. Springfield will see Robinson make his debut on the No. 44 Latus Motors Triumph while Halbert will ride his No. 7 Briggs Auto Kawasaki for the first time.
 
Robert Pearson rounds out the top five in points coming into Springfield. The rider of the No. 27 KTM already has a pair of top 10s to his credit in 2015.
 
Brad Baker represents another Harley-Davidson rider gunning for the podium at Springfield. The No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson pilot had an off year in 2014 by his standards, finishing fifth in points just one season removed from winning the Grand National Championship. He was, however, admittedly hampered by an arm injury early in the season. The Dryad, Wash., native will look to get his momentum back at Springfield after recording fifth and ninth place finishes in the Mile last year, but he's again recovering from an offseason arm injury incurred at the Superprestigio in Barcelona, Spain. Baker wasn't 100 percent at Daytona, but still made both main events, so with extra time to heal, he'll look to be a contender at Springfield.
 
 
 
 
 
Jake Johnson #5, Bryan Smith #42, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. #2 (partially hidden), Brandon Robinson #44, Henry Wiles #17 and Jared Mees #9 battle during the Dash for Cash event at the Springfield Mile I in May 2014. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
 
 
 
 
 
Flint, Mich., product Bryan Smith will pilot the No. 42 Crosley Brands Kawasaki EX650 at Springfield, and there's no argument that Smith has been the dominating force on Mile courses over the last several seasons. Smith won three out of five Miles last year and was second to Coolbeth in the other two. He's sitting 21st after both Daytona rounds, but will look to skyrocket up the point standings in Springfield.
 
Smith, along with the other Kawasaki competitors in AMA Pro Flat Track's elite GNC1 class, will benefit from a new contingency program installed by Kawasaki to reward riders competing on their machinery for the 2015 season. The reigning AMA Pro Flat Track Manufacturer of the Year has graciously agreed to post a total of $75,450 in the form of per-race and year-end payouts to Kawasaki riders.
 
Along with Harley-Davidson and Kawasaki, another prominent manufacturer is making a splash in AMA Pro Flat Track this season. Riders on Yamaha equipment in both the GNC1 and GNC2 classes will benefit from a dramatically increased contingency program by the manufacturer in 2015. A total of $106,400 is up for grabs between both classes for eligible "bLU cRU" riders over the course of the season.
 
In addition to Yamaha's increased contingency, the manufacturer will have Cory Texter pilot the new No. 65 Yamaha Motor USA/Memphis Shades Yamaha FZ-07 built into a frame made by dirt track legend Babe DeMay at Springfield for the first time ever.
 
Cory's sister, Shayna Texter, will ride a No. 52 Crosley Radio Kawasaki EX650 at Springfield. It's her second season competing in GNC1 and the first time she'll use her new National Number on a twin. Cory and Shayna are the first brother and sister to both earn National Numbers.
 
Bayliss isn't the only road racer adding crossover appeal to the Springfield Mile. Two-time defending DAYTONA 200 champion Danny Eslick recently announced he will compete in the Springfield Mile aboard a T&R Racing Harley-Davidson XR750 in GNC1 competition. Eslick has a flat track background, but has enjoyed success during his career as a road racer. He also received a coveted invite to the X Games, giving him added incentive to get up to speed quickly on the dirt.
 
The GNC2 field includes up-and-comers like DAYTONA Flat Track winner and current points leader Andrew Luker, who is scheduled to pilot the No. 11Z Kennedy Racing Harley-Davidson this weekend, and Davis Fisher, last year's GNC2 runner-up. Fisher is set to ride his No. 67M Racing Unlimited Kawasaki.
 
Whoever emerges victorious in the GNC2 will be a first-time winner at Springfield. AMA Pro Flat Track moved to the thundering twins at the Mile in 2013 with Shayna Texter pulling a sweep that year. Last season, Jarod Vanderkooi dominated both Springfield races. Both riders have since moved up to GNC1, clearing the way for the likes of Luker or Fisher to taste victory. GNC2 rookie Dalton Gauthier sits third in points and is coming off the first podium of his career with a third place showing in Round 2. Fisher is fourth in the standings, three points back of Gauthier and a single point in front of Brandon Wilhelm, who rounds out the top five coming into Springfield.
 
So far, there are 28 GNC2 riders pre-entered to compete in the Springfield Mile, and this number will only grow as we approach race day on Sunday.
 
J.R. Addison will look to rebound this season after suffering a crash at Springfield a year ago. The accident left him sidelined for several races but the No. 24F Smith Racing Kawasaki rider appears healthy in 2015 and ready to give it another go.
 
For tickets and more information on the Springfield Mile, fans are encouraged to call (217) 753-8866 or visit http://www.illinoismda.com/. The entire event will be broadcast live, in high definition and free of charge for fans around the world at www.FansChoice.tv.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines.  Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.   


























Jim Rice Named as Grand Marshal for AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Sacramento Mile on May 30


Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jim Rice Named Sacramento Mile Grand Marshal
SACRAMENTO (May 20, 2015) – Jim Rice, the Motorcycle Hall of Famer from Northern California, has been named Grand Marshal for the 50th running of the Sacramento Mile, which takes place May 30, 2015 at Cal Expo. Rice, who perhaps is best known for a hard crash he suffered into the outside fence at the Sacramento Mile that was captured on film and featured in the iconic movie On Any Sunday, was one of the top motorcycle racers in America in the late 1960s and early ‘70s.
Rice was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2001.
“Jim is true legend here in Northern California and across the country for his racing accomplishments,” said SMI’s Steve McLaughlin. “We’re happy he’s letting us honor him as Grand Marshal and allowing our fans to show him their appreciation for all he did during his career.”
Rice was a leading AMA Grand National racer during an especially memorable period of the series. During his six-year professional racing career, Rice scored 12 AMA national wins. He won on mile, half-mile and TT circuits. All but one of his victories came on BSA motorcycles.
Rice was a championship contender for most of his career. He scored a series-leading six national wins in 1970, but came up just short in the final standings, finishing second to Gene Romero in that year’s championship. That season was famously chronicled by the movie On Any Sunday and showed a brutal crash Rice suffered at the Sacramento Mile that may have cost him that year’s title.
Chuck Palmgren immediately shut off the throttle on his bike upon taking the checkered flag in his heat race. Rice, who was inches behind Palmgren, wasn’t expecting the abrupt slow down and had to veer to the right to avoid hitting Palmgren.

Rice clipped the gearshift and put it into a false neutral. He tried desperately to put it back into gear and slow it down with the rear brake at the same time. At the last second, Rice found he was approaching the turn way too fast and he slid down and crashed into the outside barrier with the motorcycle flying up into a photographer who was taking photos of the crash.
 
 
 
 
Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Mile, by Dan Mahony.
 
 
 
 
 

Rice, battered and bleeding from a broken nose, was taped up and bravely raced in the Sacramento final, but was only able to finish 15th, while Romero won the race. It was a major turning point in the season and Romero went on to win the championship over Rice.
“As a racer you do what you’ve got to do,” Rice said of riding in spite of his dire condition back in the 1970 Sacto Mile. “I was doing everything I could to reach my dream of being number one. To this day people love to talk to me about that part of On Any Sunday.
“I’m looking forward to coming to the Sacramento Mile. It’s an honor to be asked to be Grand Marshal of such an historic event and I look forward to talking with the fans and sitting right there with them to watch some great racing.”
The AMA Pro Grand National Championship series is one of the longest running motorcycle racing championships in the world. On the long straights of the Sacramento Mile top speeds can reach 130 miles per hour. Flat track racing has produced many of America’s Motorcycle Grand Prix Champions such as Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts, Jr. and Nicky Hayden. Visit www.sactomile.com to keep up with all the latest on the event.
Practice for the 50th Sacramento Mile begins on Saturday, May 30 at 2:00 p.m. and opening ceremonies for the evening program kick off at 6:00 p.m.
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*** 2015 Ticket Information: Ticket information is available for the May 30, 2015 Sacramento Mile at www.sactomile.com.
Fans can order tickets online  at https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/b/ae283e, by calling 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453).
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the Cal Expo Group Sales Department at boxoffice@calexpo.com for more information.







Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sacramento Mile Round 4 of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Asks Whether Anyone Can Break Bryan Smith's 4 Wins In-a-Row Streak



























In less then seven days, the bulk of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season kicks off at the Memorial Day weekend running of the Springfield Mile I on Sunday, May 24. But the big question on everyone's mind out west now is whether anyone can bust the streak that Bryan Smith has going at the next round on Saturday, May 30 at the Sacramento Mile.

Springfield is known as not only the fastest circuit on the series' calendar, but arguably the most popular as well. At least for the majority of fans residing in or near the iconic mecca of speed located at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile oval. But if you're from the Left Coast, Sacramento's version of the run for the money at the Cal-Expo Fairgrounds located at the California Capitol is also a very popular place. Having hosted what will be 50 editions of this great race, The Rolling Thunder Show's trek west will not only make it five decades of racing out west, but will also conjure up the big gamble to many as to whether there is another rider in competition today who can dethrone Bryan Smith's #42 from the top of the box at the end of what will be a very long day for some in Sacto.

As is widely known, Smith has reset the bar in terms of wins at Cal-Expo, starting during the 2011 season while riding his father's Moroney's Harley-Davidson XR750 to his first of four-straight wins. Since that time, on somewhat similar Villa-Esparza/Howerton Motorsports & Products/Crosley Radio-sponsored Kawasakis. And although those wins didn't come easy for the Michigan born and bred rider, his streak may leave another thought about the ease of those wins just looking at the final tallies over the course of the last four seasons. But is this the year that someone else steps up to take away that streak?

In the shot above, riders rocket off the line in the Dash for Cash event at the Springfield Mile I round on May 25 during the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship's stop over the Memorial Day weekend hosting of the great American race in the Illinois State Capitol.

(L-R) Jared Mees on the #9 Rogers Racing/Las Vegas H-D/Blue Springs H-D-sponsored Harley-Davidson XR750, Brandon Robinson on the #44 USC Kawasaki/Hot Shots/Hart Racing-backed Kawasaki EX650, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the #2 Zanotti Racing/Moroney's H-D/Burt Ives Honda-sponsored XR750, Henry Wiles on the #17 Don's Kawasaki/DPC Racing/EA Racing-sponsored Kawasaki and Jake Johnson on the #5 Ramspur Winery/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Parkinson Brothers Racing-backed Ducati 'L' twin all try to get the jump on Bryan Smith on the #42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radios/Howerton Products-sponsored Kawasaki at the start of the four-lap money race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

After next Sunday's running of Springfield, the troops in the greatest racing series on two wheels in the world will pack up and head west for the quick turnaround to do battle at the Sacramento Mile, and all of those men pictured above and several other contenders in this year's championship will do their best to keep Flyin' Bryan from making it five-straight.

Check out the full release below thanks to SMI as we all get ready to rumble and watch what great action there is to come in the next 13 days that will kick off the bulk of what will surely be a bar banging action packed season in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship.

Press release courtesy of SMI Promotions, the promoters of the Sacramento Mile.

Sacramento Streak Buster
Reviewing the Riders Who May Have the Best Chance to Break Bryan Smith’s Sacto Mile Win Streak
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (May 15, 2015) – When riders line up for the start of the 50th running of the Sacramento Mile on Saturday, May 30, there will be only one among the field who has won the Sacramento Mile Grand National and that’s Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki’s Bryan Smith. Last summer Smith continued his dominance on the historic Cal Expo track by earning his fourth-consecutive victory. This year Smith, now with factory backing from Kawasaki, could be considered even more of an odds-on favorite than he was before, if that’s possible. Yet a slew of other top GNC1 riders will be looking to dethrone Smith from atop the Sacto Mile podium when they take the green flag for this year’s event.
Perhaps chief among those challengers will be defending AMA Pro Grand National Champion Jared Mees, of Clio, Michigan. Mees will be sporting the No. 1 on his Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson and he’s known to be a leading contender week in and week out, no matter the track. He comes into Sacramento this year with a solid record at Cal Expo, having scored podium finishes three-straight times, including runner up to Smith in 2013.






Brandon Robinson (44), Jared Mees (9) and Kenny Coolbeth (2) are three of the top riders who hope to break Bryan Smith’s four-race winning streak at the Sacramento Mile on Saturday, May 30 at Cal Expo. (Photo by Dave Hoenig/AMA Pro Racing) 





When asked what it might take to beat Smith at Sacramento, Mees joked, “I think taking him out in the first corner.” And then he continued, “Bryan’s always strong there, but I think he can be beat. I had a shot last year, but we had a small issue with the adjustment on my clutch. I’m not saying that would have made the difference, but we were close.
“I think it’s going to take hanging in there with him and then trying to lead him going into turn three and just cutting a good corner. His bike is fast, but if you can have a big enough of a lead coming out of the last turn you might be able to hold him off. I’m sure Kenny Tolbert (Mees’ mechanic) is thinking of some ways to give me an even stronger bike this year, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.”
Veteran Kenny Coolbeth Jr., has the know-how to get a victory at Sacramento. He’s the winningest active rider in the series, leads the current point standings and although the Mile at Cal Expo has not been his strongest track, he’s riding a proven winner in the always powerful Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson. There’s also factory Harley-Davidson rider Brad Baker, who is looking to rebound after winning the national title in 2013 and then suffering through an injury-plagued 2014.
The wildcard is new Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati rider Troy Bayliss. Bayliss is a three-time World Superbike Champion and former MotoGP winner who is attempting to make a run in select AMA Pro Grand National races, including Sacramento. A well respected flat track racer in his native Australia, going up against the top flat trackers in America, the birthplace of this form of motorcycle racing, is a tall task for anyone, even for a rider with the amazing racing credentials of Bayliss. If Bayliss could somehow break through and win at Sacramento it would be one of the biggest stories in the 61-year history of AMA Grand National racing.
Then there are riders like Brandson Robinson, who was third at Sacto in 2013, the always speedy Sammy Halbert, along with local favorites Stevie Bonsey and Briar Bauman (both of Salinas, Calif.), who could break through with a Cal Expo victory in 2015.
Whatever the case, any rider who is going to beat Bryan Smith at one of his favorite tracks is going to have to have a strong machine and be at their very best as well.
The AMA Pro Grand National Championship series is one of the longest running motorcycle racing championships in the world. On the long straights of the Sacramento Mile top speeds can reach 130 miles per hour. Flat track racing has produced many of America’s Motorcycle Grand Prix Champions such as Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts, Jr. and Nicky Hayden. Visit www.sactomile.com to keep up with all the latest on the event.
Practice for the 50th Sacramento Mile begins on Saturday, May 30 at 2:00 p.m. and opening ceremonies for the evening program kick off at 6:00 p.m.
---
*** 2015 Ticket Information: Ticket information is available for the May 30, 2015 Sacramento Mile at www.sactomile.com. 
Fans can order tickets online  at https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/b/ae283e, by calling 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453).
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the Cal Expo Group Sales Department at boxoffice@calexpo.com for more information.






Sunday, May 10, 2015

Kawasaki Antes Up $75K in Prize Monies For AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship




























Kawasaki took a big step late last week and upped the ante to help out the Expert/GNC1 riders in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship by providing $75K in prize monies that will be disbursed among the field at each event and at the end of the season in points pay outs. They will join Harley-Davidson who announced several weeks ago that they would be providing $126K in prize monies to the premier class in The Rolling Thunder Show.

The Kawasaki EX650-based parallel twin burst onto the scene in August 2010 when Bryan Smith, riding Bill Werner's original model, won not only the Indy Mile, but just eight days later also took home the spoils at the Springfield Mile II in early September of that year. Werner, the 13-time AMA Grand National Championship-winning tuner, had been working on perfecting the Mean Green twin for several seasons, and with Smith taking the two big track victories broke the long hold that the H-D XR750 had held in terms of wins on the big tracks since Honda's last win in August '98, and ultimately knocked the door down for a big handful of teams to start contesting the series on the reliable, and less costly Japanese twin.

Since that time almost six full seasons ago, Kawasaki has all but been the bike to beat on the big tracks, mostly under the control of mile specialist Flyin' Bryan Smith. However, in 2013 Brandon Robinson on a TJ Burnett Farms Kawasaki, took home the double win at the Springfield Mile I & II on August 31 and September 1 and showed the fans, the field and the teams that there was another force to be reckoned with. Smith also helped Kawasaki earn the manufacturers championship and won two Twins Series titles, and was within three points of winning the big pot of gold in the form of the 2014 AMA Grand National Championship if not for a DQ late in the season relegated him to finish second to fellow Michigan rider and long time racing friend and foe, Jared Mees.

In the shot above, Brandon Robinson and the #44 TJ Burnett Farms/USC/Hart Racing-backed Kawasaki team head out for rider intros prior to BRob44 winning the first of his double mile wins at the Springfield Mile I on Saturday, August 31. Robinson, who just four years earlier nearly had his career ended due to a nasty crash at the Indy Mile, totally dominated the Labor Day weekend at the Illinois State Fairgrounds by setting fast time, winning the fastest heat races, winning both Dash for Cash races, and taking home the king's share of the gold in totally dominating the rest of the field to win both Grand National mains on the James Hart-prepped and TJ Burnett-funded Kawasaki rockets. Robinson added to his first Grand National win at Daytona over five months earlier, and ended the season ranked as the 3rd-place rider in the greatest racing series on two wheels in the world. Team owner Burnett can be seen along the fence in the background.

There have been several other teams that have put a dent in the competition since Smith's first win on Werner's Monster Energy Kawasaki effort in August '10. Scott Powersports' effort, with Johnny Lewis and Matt Weidman turning the throttle both showed some grand results. This year they will have Sammy Halbert turning the throttles for them. Weirbach Racing will be in their second full season of campaigning the ultra fast Kawi twin, this year with 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Champ Mikey Martin back in the team's saddle, and no fewer then five or six other big teams that have made the switch to the Mean Green brand. And let's not forget Shayna Texter's dominating double wins at Springfield in 2013 aboard an Alan Rodenborn-prepped Racing Unlimited Kawi in the Basic Twins/Pro Twins class.

So it goes without saying that seeing Kawasaki step up to the plate in terms of big money for the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship is not only a great marketing tool for them but a super deal for the series, riders and teams. Seeing them come on board with not only race event pay outs but year-end pay outs is a big shot in the arm for the sport, and we say a big thank you and tip of the helmet for them taking this on for The Rolling Thunder Show. BRAVO and thank you Mean Green!

Check out the full release below thanks to AMA Pro Racing, and remember it's just two weeks time until racing gets into full swing for the season when the boys and girls of The Rolling Thunder Show head to the Illinois State Capitol for the Springfield Mile I on Sunday, May 24, and between you and me and the fencepost, I can't wait!








Kawasaki to post over $75,000 in contingency to AMA Pro Flat Track riders in 2015

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 6, 2015) - Kawasaki has entered the contingency battlefield in AMA Pro Flat Track's premier Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class. The reigning AMA Pro Flat Track Manufacturer of the Year will post a total of $75,450 in the form of per-race and year-end payouts to participants competing on Kawasaki machinery throughout the 2015 season.

"We would like to thank Kawasaki for supporting the sport and investing in our riders," said Michael Gentry, Chief Operating Officer of AMA Pro Racing. "Week in and week out, the riders are the ambassadors of our sport and the brands that they showcase on the race track. The 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track season is about to kick into high gear, and we're excited to see how the twin-cylinder competition unfolds at Springfield."

The twin-cylinder EX650 has been the bike to beat on many of the Mile courses over the past few years, but in 2014 the Kawasaki platform proved its diversity when Bryan Smith took the checkered flag at Hagerstown and gave the brand its first ever Half-Mile victory. The single-cylinder Kawasaki KX450F has also been competitive in GNC1 Singles competition, sitting atop the podium at the Peoria TT in six of the last seven years with Henry Wiles on board.

"This is a clear case of Kawasaki listening to our riders and expanding our Team Green program," said Chris Brull, Kawasaki Vice President of Marketing. "Over the last four years we have seen competitors in the AMA Pro Flat Track series choose Kawasaki and we want to reward them for that choice. Our Team Green program has been around for more than 30 years and our renewed support of Flat Track racing shows how the Team Green program continues to evolve."

The pay day for Kawasaki riders will begin in less than 30 days as the series will visit Springfield, Ill., on May 24 for the iconic Springfield Mile. Kawasaki has been the machine of choice for the winner of four of the last five Springfield Miles.

For tickets and information regarding the Springfield Mile, set to be held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill., on May 24, fans are encouraged to call (217)753-8866. The entire event can also be viewed live and in high definition at www.FansChoice.tv.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines.  Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.   









Saturday, May 9, 2015

Can Bryan Smith Make it 5 Wins In-a-Row at the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Sacramento Mile on May 30?


































The 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship gets into full swing in just 15 days with round 3 of the season set to roll off at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on May 24 with the Springfield Mile I, one of the most, if not THE most popular events on the series' calendar. But just less then 6 days later, round 4 will fire up on the Left Coast as the boys and girls of The Rolling Thunder Show head west to duke it out and try and knock the reigning four-time winner, Bryan Smith, off of the proverbial chopping block at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds-hosted mile oval.

Flyin' Bryan, who for the last four seasons has won the event in Sacramento four times in-a-row on a combination of Kawasakis (Howerton Motorsports 2012-13, Villa-Esparza 2014) and Harley-Davidson XR750s (Moroney's H-D 2011) and has been the one to stand on the top step of the podium after each of those 25-lap Grand National mains. But will the Michigan native be able to make it five in-a-row, an almost unheard of feat in today's ultra competitive Grand National series?

In the shot above, Smith acknowledges the crowd after taking the #42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio/Howerton Products-backed Kawasaki EX650-based parallel twin to the win in the Dash for Cash event at the Springfield Mile I on May 25, 2014 while AMA Pro Flat Track announcer Barry Boone gets the crowd fired up and one of the Harley-Davidson trophy ladies holds the $1K ceremonial check that will be presented to Smith for winning the Dash at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mecca of speed.

Smith, who has more then proved his dominance not only on the mile tracks on the Howerton/Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio-backed Kawasaki over the course of the last three seasons, and was also able to card Kawasaki's first-ever half-mile win at Hagerstown last July. And betting against him to win a fifth Sacto Mile event could be a Vegas odds makers long shot. Smith has also won two of the last three Twins Series championships, and all but had last year's overall title sewed up before a DQ towards the end of the season due to a slight oil leak caused him to miss out on the championship by a scant three points against fellow Michigan man Jared Mees.

Here's a big tip for all of you flat track heads out west--you DON'T want to miss this one (not like you ever want to miss any of the events in the greatest motorcycle racing series on two wheels in the world), but this event will surely further cement Smith's overall dominance on the mile ovals as well as crowning him the King of Cal Expo. I'm not a betting man, but I wouldn't bet against this one!

Check out the full release below, thanks to the great group of folks out west at SMI Promotions, who will be bringing you all of the action in just three week's time that is guaranteed to keep you on your feet all day and night as the riders bang bars, throw monster roosts of dirt and just plain out race away into the evening trying to do their best to keep Flyin' Bryan Smith off of the top of the box on Saturday, May 30.

Press release courtesy of SMI Promotions, the promoters of the Sacramento Mile.


Bryan Smith Hoping to Extend Sacramento Mile Winning Streak to Five

Already the holder of the longest winning streak Smith looks for more on May 30
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (April 29, 2015) – The Sacramento Mile has been the domain of one rider for nearly half a decade, and that rider is Bryan Smith. Last year the racer from Flint, Michigan, became the first ever to win four-straight AMA Pro Grand Nationals on the famous mile at Cal Expo. Next month, on Saturday, May 30, 2015, Smith will attempt to push his record-setting winning streak to five during the milestone 50th running of the Sacramento Mile.
Since the return of the historic event to the AMA Pro Grand National Championship calendar in 2011, the race has been dominated by Smith.  But while he’s won four-consecutive Sacramento Miles that doesn’t mean it came easily.
Smith said last year’s victory was his toughest one yet.  In the 2014 edition any one of six riders looked to have a good shot at taking the win, but in spite of enduring relentless pressure all the way to the finish, Smith managed to win yet again on his Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki. Smith battled with as many as five other riders in the lead pack throughout the 25-lap main, in the end the race came down to a drafting war with Smith just holding off a surging Jake Johnson by 3-100ths of a second. Jared Mees and Brandon Robinson were in the hunt as well, the top four separated by just 4-10ths of a second in one of the closest finishes in the long history of the race.
The win not only gave Smith a record of consecutive wins at Sacramento, it also moved him to the series lead at the halfway mark in the season. Unfortunately Smith could not quite hold on to that lead. In a heartbreaker a two dollar part failed (an oil sight glass) on Smith’s Kawasaki in the penultimate round of the series costing him the championship. Jared Mees went on to clinch the title.



Bryan Smith, of Flint, Michigan, will attempt to win a fifth consecutive Sacramento Mile on Saturday, May 30 at Cal Expo. (Photo courtesy AMA Pro Racing.)








So Smith will have more than enough incentive this year to try to earn the title he and many others felt he deserved to have last season and a record fifth win at Sacramento would help him move towards that goal.
“What we’ve been doing the past couple of seasons seems to have worked pretty well at Sacramento,” Smith said, stating the obvious. “Last year we got some serious competition at Sacramento and I think it’s even going to be tougher to win this year. There are several teams who have stepped up their programs for 2015, but our team has improved as well, so hopefully we’ll present a moving target to our competition.”
Smith said the sting he and his team felt after losing last year’s title over a something as inconsequential as a broken oil sight glass didn’t last long.
“Obviously it was disappointing,” he said. “But we knew that the championship should have been ours and I think all the fans saw that as well. But things like that happen in racing and we know we left nothing on the table. We went to the final round at Pomona (Calif.) last year and won that race and I think that left us with a positive outlook as we looked ahead to this season.”
Smith has some ground to make up after a difficult opening to 2015 at the Daytona Short Track in March.
“Obviously after the bad week I had down at Daytona I need all the wins I can get to put myself back in the championship picture,” he admitted. “Sacramento will be a big race for us and to be able to win a fifth straight there would be amazing.”
In addition to watching Smith attempt a “five-peat” in the premier GNC1 event at the Sacramento Mile this year, fans will also get the opportunity to see three-time World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss racing a Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati in his run at AMA Pro Grand National racing. They’ll also see the stars of tomorrow in the GNC2 class and watch legendary AMA Grand National Champions Jay Springsteen and Chris Carr renew their friendly rivalry in the “Clash of the Titans II”. Springsteen took victory in last year’s inaugural Clash by the slightest of margins. He’ll be looking to repeat at this year’s event, but look for Carr to go all out to try to even the score.
Red Lion Woodlake Hotel Sacramento will once again be the Official Hotel for the 2015 Sacramento Mile. Make your reservations today by calling 1-916-922-2020 and mention AMA Pro to secure your fan rate. Limited space is available.
The AMA Pro Grand National Championship series is one of the longest running motorcycle racing championships in the world. On the long straights of the Sacramento Mile top speeds can reach 130 miles per hour. Flat track racing has produced many of America’s Motorcycle Grand Prix Champions such as Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts, Jr. and Nicky Hayden. Visit www.sactomile.com to keep up with all the latest on the event.
Practice for the 50th Sacramento Mile begins on Saturday, May 30 at 2:00 p.m. and opening ceremonies for the evening program kick off at 6:00 p.m.
---
*** 2015 Ticket Information: Ticket information is available for the May 30, 2015 Sacramento Mile at www.sactomile.com.
Fans can order tickets online  at https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/b/ae283e, by calling 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453).
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the Cal Expo Group Sales Department at boxoffice@calexpo.com for more information.