Monday, August 30, 2010

Mean Green is On The Scene as Bryan Smith Takes Werner/Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki to Record Breaking AMA Flat Track GN Twins Indy Mile Win


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Bill Werner talks with AMA Technical Director Al Ludington about 45 minutes after Bryan Smith took the Werner Springsteen Monster Energy/Wossner Pistons/Millenium Technologies/Redline Oil-sponsored Kawasaki to the top of the box at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile on Saturday evening. In background-center can be seen AMA Flat Track Manager Mike Kidd talking with Kenny Tolbert, who wrenched Chris Carr's #4 Lancaster XR to second place and his 200th podium appearance in AMA Pro Flat Track competition.
Besides winning the main event and giving Kawasaki it's first-ever win in AMA Flat Track Grand National Twins competition, Flyin Bryan also topped the charts in qualifying and won the fastest heat of the night to start from the pole in the main event.
Bill was his usual more-than-gracious self in celebratory congratulations, pointing out, again, that it was a combination of rider as well as team that took the team and the Kawasaki to their historic Grand National Twins first-ever win. His smile was priceless, just like the win by Bryan was. One of THE best battles in AMA Flat Track competition I have ever seen in 37 years of watching this series.
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Chris Carr's Lancaster H-D/DFW Honda/Arai/Wiseco Pistons/Cometic Gaskets-backed XRs sit under the awning during the afternoon break at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile round of the AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Superstore.com GNC Twins stop. Kenny Tolbert wrenched Carr to his 200th podium appearance in 26 years of competition. Carr and Smith had an epic battle throughout the 25 lap main event, trading the lead back and forth all over the track, and until they crossed the line to take the checkers there was no telling who was going to be leading in the end. Smith had the nod by .140 seconds over Chris, who looked as strong as I have ever seen him in my years of following this great 7-Time former Grand National Champion in this great sport. Chris also won the dash earlier in the evening to collect the winner's check, the five bonus points and a super nice Tissot Nicky Hayden-replica watch. Not bad for a guy who professes to be 'living his mid-life crisis.'
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The 'King of Cool' managed a solid third place for the evening on his H-D Motor Corp/Screamin Eagle/Arai/Fox/Motion Pro-sponsored factory XR750. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., the '06-'08 AMA Grand National Twins Champion, had a good, solid night on the #2 machine to keep himself a solid 6th in the overall Grand National Championship. Coolbeth was the defending winner of the Lucas Oil Indy Mile and placed second to winner Chris Carr in the event's return to Indy in September of 2008. Pretty good average out of this seasoned veteran who has been campaigning the AMA Pro Flat Track Series since '94 when he was named AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year.
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One of Jake Johnson's #5 Zanotti Racing/Leo Vince/Arai/Tucker Rocky/S Designs-backed XRs sits in the pits during the break before all the action begins at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile. The former GN Singles Champ ran a race to bring it home in the fourth spot, 3.057 seconds back from winner Smith. But most important, he gained four solid points over points leader Smokin Joe Kopp to close his third place in the overall standings to within 14 points, 221-207. With Jersey Jake's mastery on the mile tracks, the remaining schedule could play very well into this veteran's hands. And having won the last two Springfield Miles, you know he must be looking forward to the upcoming weekend at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, where he has also has a win at the arena on the Singles bikes. Don't count this man out with three miles, one half mile and one short track yet to go in the season.
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The Kings Kustoms/KK Motorcycle Supply/Nelson Racing/Motion Pro/Cometic-sponsored XRs of brothers Jethro Halbert #69 and Sammy Halbert #7 sit in the pits at Indy as they talk with the fans and the team goes about various duties before the racing action begins. Jethro had a round night and looked to have suffered oil pan failure just half-way into the night's main. Sammy ran his usual fierce race to come home fifth in the main and closing to within 12 points in the overall AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship over points leader Joe Kopp, 221-209. He also came up just .026 seconds short of winning the dash, and the five valuable points that go with it, to winner Chris Carr. This young man is slowly inching his way towards the top and could have the best chance of the top three over the course of the last events of the season.
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Honorable mention goes out to Matt Weidman for his mastery of the outside line in Saturday night's Lucas Oil Indy Mile main event. Qualifying in the 13th spot for the evening and also placing fourth in heat one to get a direct transfer to the main, he rode the high, wide and handsome outside line in the final event, and looked like a cat with it's tail on fire in swooping around the other competitors while running right up next to the airfence in the corners to help advance his position. At one point in the early part of the race, Matt was battling for third and fourth before either the outside line went away or his tire did. But he put on one of the best shows in the main from this person's viewing and it was extremely thrilling to watch. After falling off the pace Matt ended up 9th in the final standings, and now sits in 10th place in the points with 81 points, one point back of 9th place in the points Johnny Lewis.
Matt can be seen sitting just behind his #20 machine as it gets the final touches before the night's racing commences at Indy. His team is sponsored by White's H-D/SNIP/Silkolene/
Shoei/K&N and Motion Pro. Matt was a busy man over the weekend making an appearance for his sponsor SNIP (Spay Neuter Indiana Pets) at a local fund raiser, as well as making a stop at one of the local H-D dealers on the southside of town to sign some autographs for the fans. Great show by this young man who carded the the '08 AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year award and was the District 3 50CC Champion in his home state of New York in 1997.
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Shawn Baer talks with some fans while signing autographs at Indy during the break in the day's program. His #32 Bonneville Performance/Marines/Wiseco Pistons/Motion Pro/K&N-backed Triumph machines set at the reay behind him in the Bonneville Performance pit area.
Shawn took his Triumph to the win in the first semi by .077 seconds over Jethro Halbert to put it into the main for his third AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Twins event of the year, putting on a heck of a show in the process.
After overcoming some electrical maladies earlier in the season, the team looked good and ended up 16th in the main event. Shawn's win in his semi was a first by a Triumph on an oval track in close to three decades if my memory serves me correctly and he rode like a seasoned veteran. Hats and helmets off to Shawn and the whole Bonneville Performance team for a fine showing at Indy.
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History was made Saturday night at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile, round 12 of the AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters sponsored by Motorcycle Superstore.com Series, when Bryan Smith wheeled his #42 Werner Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki to the win over 7-Time Grand National Champion Chris Carr, and putting Kawasaki on the top of the box for it's first-ever Twins Series win. Battling with Carr throughout the 25 lap main, Flyin Bryan traded the lead numerous times all over the track to lead the most laps and secure his and his team's place in AMA Grand National history. In doing so, he is the second man this year to win over the venerable H-D XR750's after series championship overall points leader Joe Kopp won on the mile in Arizona back on the first of May after winning every GN Twins event since August of 1998.
The evening was full of delights and thrills as former flat track competitor, '02 AMA Superbike Champion and '06 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden not only announced his re-signing with the Marlboro Ducati team for 2011-2012, but saw him spin some laps on a specially prepared Lloyd Brothers Ducati 1098 to the thrills of the screaming crowd. Spinning it up in the corners like the flat track racer he is at heart, The Kentucky Kid thrilled the crowd with his demo ride and promised after removing his helmet that he 'would be back' one day to contest the AMA Flat Track Series. He also had a smile the width of the Mississippi River after his thrilling ride. It was a pure joy to see the Grand Marshall of the Lucas Oil Indy Mile put on such a great show for a few of his legions of fans, this one included. It wasn't quite as thrilling as Kenny Roberts laps on the TZ last year, but it was pretty darn close. Thanks Nick!
Also of note for the evening was Shawn Baer's performance in the first semi on the Bonneville Performance Triumph who won by .077 seconds on Jethro Halbert, taking a Triumph to an oval track win in at least three decades by this writer's memory. Great job!
The win by Bryan Smith is just another great story on the return of AMA Flat Track to the prominence it has deserved for some time. With the multi-brand racing, the closeness in competition, and expert work by AMA Flat Track Manager Mike Kidd and Company in making the track the best I have seen it in my 37 years of watching AMA Flat Track Grand National racing (I don't remember seeing any track prep being done once the green flag flew for the evening's first event, and other then a couple of short red flag delays, the program clicked all night. My first Indy Mile was in August of 1974 when Gene Romero took his #3 Team Yamaha parralel twin to the XS-based motor's last mile win. Kudos to Mike and brother Gary and Steve Morehead and the rest of the AMA team for making this a premier event and for bringing AMA Flat Track back to the fore front of two wheeled competition. I'm telling you, this isn't your father's AMA Flat Track anymore.
Series overall points leader Joe Kopp came home in the sixth spot after suffering some sort of mechanical problems in the dash on his Lloyd Bros. Ducati, that forced him to miss out on the four lap race and a shot at the very valuable five points that go to the winner. And Henry 'Hammerin Hank' Wiles missed the main after having to race his way out of the semi and coming up just .315 seconds back of third-placed semi two finisher Brandon Bergen. Wiles still sits in the 5th spot in the overall championship standings with 188 points, and should clinch the Singles Championship this Saturday at the Springfield short track, barring any mechanical or injury-related problems.
Kopp's lead in the overall did shrink to 12 overall to second place man Sammy Halbert, 221-209. Halbert carded a fifth in the main at Indy, and third place in the overall points man Jake Johnson, who finished fourth at Indy, now has 207 points, just 14 back on Smokin Joe. Jared Mees, the defending Twins Champ, carded eighth in the Indy main to stay in the fourth spot overall in points at 198.
The series resumes Saturday night in the arena at the Illinois State Fairgrounds running of the Springfield short track, and hits the fastest mile on the circuit on Sunday. It's go time for all competitors in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship and the overall title is still very much up for grabs with five total races to run in the 2010 season.
You can read on below about this historic evening of competition and the thrills that are the best show on two wheels below!
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Check out Larry Lawrence's story on this historic evening for AMA Flat Track over at his site TheRiderFiles.com:
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This is the official story of the evening along with complete results and standings courtesy of AMA Pro Flat Track:
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And from the staff scribes over at the bible of motorcycle racing news, CycleNews.com, you can read their take on this great evening at the Indiana State Fairgrounds running of the Lucas Oil Indy Mile:
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And also from the AMA Pro Flat Track site is this great gallery from the AMA's offcial photog, Dave Hoenig:
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And from Dave's great site, FlatTrakFotos.com, comes this link to the full list of results, sponsors and photos (soon to be posted as of this writing-usually online within 2-3 days of each event) from this most historic of wins by Bryan Smith and the Werner Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki on and at the legendary Indy Mile:
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And here is a great album of shots from the great lens of Jim Grant at JGPhotowerx on SmugMug:
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Dean Adams does a super job on his SuperBikePlanet.com website, and he has some of the infamous Brian J. Nelson's shots from Saturday night at Indy:
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David Emmett runs one of THE best websites in the racing business over at MotoMatters.com. As is pretty obvious from the title, the majority of his coverage is of MotoGP, but his ace photographer, Scott Jones, was on-hand at the Indy Mile the night before last and they have these fine shots up from this great race:
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Here is the link to AMA Pro Flat Track's event PDF results with complete breakdown for each race and for both the Pro Singles side of the show as well as the GN Twins side of the show from Indy:
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Motorcycle-USA.com has been doing a super job of covering the AMA Pro Flat Track Series this year, and for those of you that were at Indy, they were the one's giving out the free mags at each of the entrances Saturday night. Matt Davidson has his spin on Saturday night's race events right here:
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2 comments:

  1. I gotta be honest, I know I am his mom, but I am also an objective person and can let him know when he sucks- and I can't believe you are the only one who gave him an honorable mention! (thank-you for that) There wasn't even much of a race again this year with the tiny groove that the other riders all had to tip toe on. Matt went from 12th or 13th on the restart and actually led for a couple feet in turn one/two, he tucked in behind Smith- and then fell back to third behind Carr in the nex t turn. When the little bit of cushion up top went away, he was forced to run the groove on his <80hp Harley. It is still very depressing for us to have to try and compete with slow bikes, but he definitely tried to put on a show and I think it was the most exciting race of the race! Even Sammy Halbert told him he was nuts after the main! You know your'e cushion crazy when Slammin Sammy tells you he couldn't run that line. And yes, the tiny amount of cushion got pushed up high and he started tapping the air fence with his tire and decided it wasn't "safe" at that point!! Thanks for your accurate observation- he pours his heart into it.

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  2. Thanks Rachel! Matt put on one heck of a show, and even the other six people in out group noticed and enjoyed it when I started going crazy watching him zip around the high line. Great ride by Matt for sure and very exciting.

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