Wednesday, October 13, 2010

AMA Flat Track: 2010 AMA Grand National Championship Season-End Review Part I


Things look calm in the Zanotti Racing pit area during the break between qualifying and heat race action at The Lucas Oil Indy Mile on Saturday, August 28. Team owner and man-in-charge Dave Zanotti can be seen in the blue striped shirt talking on the left under the team's awning and rider Jake Johnson can be seen talking with a fan on the right side of the shot. Team wrench and crew chief Ted McDermitt can be seen working on one of Jake's mounts in the center of the shot.
The Zanotti Racing/Leo Vince/Arai/Tucker Rocky-backed Jersey Jake added to his '06 and '08 AMA Flat Track Singles Championship over the weekend in Prescott Valley by winning the season finale on the Yavapai Downs mile oval in a hard fought race that came down to the wire with championship contender Jared Mees and Sammy Halbert. JJ edged out Jared by just .004 seconds and Sammy by .160 seconds to win the event and claim the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track Twins Championship as well as the AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship for the 2010 season. In less than a year, Jake went from wearing the #14 plate, to carrying the #5 plate in the 2010 season, to winning the Twins AND Overall Championships to wear the #1 plate during the 2011 season.
Jersey Jake started the year off with a bang winning the second round at the Daytona Short Track in the Singles class, adding to it his win on the mile at the spring running of the legendary Springfield Mile, and capping the season with the win at the Prescott Valley mile oval last weekend. It is also the first time a father and son-led team has won the AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship. Dave's father, Mario, won the '79 AMA Grand National Championship with Steve Eklund seven years before flat track and road racing had split off into seperate racing series. Great year guys, and congratulations!



2000 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion Joe Kopp is interviewed on the podium after taking the #3 Latus H-D/Lloyd Brothers/American Agip/MotoConcepts-sponsored Ducati to the win in the second semi on the Springfield Mile on September 5.
Smokin Joe took three wins in the 2010 season, including his breakout win at the Arizona Mile back in May, to give Ducati it's first-ever win in AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Twins competition, and added wins on the half miles on his Latus H-D XR750 at Lake Odessa in July and Hagerstown in August. His lead in the championship started crumbling at the Indy Mile when the Ducati wouldn't fire for the Dash for Cash event, causing him to lose valuable points, and then having to win his semi at Springfield in order to make the National that day. The final doom to his season was his 16th place finish at the Minnesota Mile when the chain came off of the Big Duc and left him driveless on the 19th lap of the main. Unfortunately, the Knoxville Half Mile was rained out the next weekend, making the season one less event to be able to try and struggle back into contention.
Joe wasn't able to overcome his late-season slump that saw him fall from an 18 point lead in the overall championship, and as a result his 5th place finish at the Yavapai Downs mile event left him in second place in the championship behind Jake Johnson, 289-269 points. Joe had stated before the season ender that 2010 would be it and he would be retiring no matter the outcome in the championship and he confirmed that with a reporter from the Spokane newspaper before the season finale, which you can read below.
It's been a great run for Smokin Joe, and we can only hope we will be seeing him behind the scenes in the future helping out some of the younger up-and-comers. We're definitely going to miss the 2000 AMA GN Champ on the track. Thanks for the super memories, Joe!



Jared Mees' #1 Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs H-D/ Oil-sponsored XR750 sits in the pit area at the Springfield Mile on September 5. The table in the left-rear of the shot has some of the AMA Pro Flat Track tech area tools that are used for checking the restrictors on the XRs after qualifying on the legendary mile track.
The '09 AMA Flat Track Grand National Twins Champion had another stellar year during the 2010 campaign, finding himself on the podium in all four types of AMA Flat Track competition throughout the year, but failing to capture that elusive top step for a win this year. However, this man's tenacity, consistency and never-say-die equipment program kept him in the hunt all year long.
Coming up just .004 seconds short of that win to event-winner Jake Johnson at the Yavapai Downs season finale, The Jammer still finished the 2010 season ranked third in the overall points behind Johnson, but tied in points with second-place on the year Joe Kopp with 269. However, Kopp won the tie-breaker in lieu of his three wins on the season to Jared's zip. Nevertheless, the former Rookie of the Year and AMA Horizon Award Winner still had a super year that most people would love to have. Look for Jared to be right back in the mix for the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship at Daytona in March.



The Halbert Brothers are shown talking with and signing for the fans in their pit area during the Lima Half Mile on June 26. The Kings Kustoms/KK Motorcycle Supply/Nelson Racing/Fluid Suspension-sponsored brothers had very un-like seasons for the 2010 campaign. Jethro, who can be seen talking in the background, ended up 14th in the final tally on his #69 machine for the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season, with 77 points.
Sammy, shown signing for the fans at the table in the foreground, ended up 4th in the overall championship on his #7 machine, even after the Minnesota-round suspension he had to serve that was handed down by AMA Flat Track Manager Mike Kidd just before the Minnesota Mile. Returning for the season finale in Prescott Valley, Slammin Sammy backed up his May second place finish at the Arizona Mile with a 3rd place last Saturday, as well as winning the Dash for Cash event on the day's racing, just one of several Dash events won this year by the youngter with the steely-eyed grin. His final 4th place in the championship netted him 249 points, 40 behind 2010 Champ Jake Johnson.



Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. and Kenny, Sr. can be seen in the pit area at the Springfield Short Track talking with some of the fans on September 4. The #2 rider is sponsored by Bettencourts Honda/Jason Perry/Arai/Fox on a Honda 450 in the Singles class and by Screamin Eagle/Harley-Davidson Motor Corp on a H-D
XR750 in the Twins Class, and took both machines to a final ranking of 5th place in the 2010 AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship with 248 points, 41 in arrears of 2010 Champ Jersey Jake Johnson.
The '06-'08 AMA Flat Track Twins Champion and '07 AMA Flat Track Singles Champion had a well-rounded year, but failed to win a main event until the penultimate round in Minnesota on the mile, some 13 months after his previous win at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile in August of 2009. Nonetheless, the Harley Factory rider still had a very good year, with several podiums (including Indy, Lake Odessa and Hagerstown) to go along with his Minnesota Mile win last month. And he was in the hunt at Prescott last Saturday until towards the end of the main, while still bringing it home in fourth, .469 seconds behind winner Johnson.
The King of Cool is the only rider on the AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship trail that still has full factory backing on his XR throughout the season.


With the final checkered flag having waved on the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series season, we wanted to take the time to salute and honor the Top 10 and others for this stellar year of racing on The Rolling Thunder Show circuit.

With a new AND overall AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion being crowned in Prescott Valley, Jake Johnson and the Zanotti Racing Crew made history in the greatest show on wheels by winning the overall championship, winning the final season event at Prescott Valley, and being the first and only father-son led team to win the coveted #1 plate. Dave Zanotti, the team owner for Jake Johnson's 2o1o Championship season, is the son of Mario Zanotti, who won the championship in 1979 with Steve Eklund. Johnson, who previously had won the 2006 and 2008 AMA Flat Track Singles Championship, will now carry the #1 plate in the 2011 season starting with the season-opening round at the Daytona Short Track in March of '11.

In what was earlier in the season looking like 2000 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion Joe Kopp's year in the series, but like with all types of racing, anything can and may happen. Kopp, hoping to take the 2010 title into retirement, had to settle for second place overall in the final point standings, not being able to eclipse the loss of points for several season-ending events including losing the lead along with his chain at the Minnesota Mile last month. However, Joe added three more wins on the season, along with his marque win in Arizona on the Ducati, to sail off into retirement. He will be missed on the track, but look for Smokin Joe to return in some form or another as rider-coach to some of the youngsters coming up through the ranks.

The 2010 season saw AMA Flat Track make a marked turn-around in terms of crowds, sponsors and more excitement in the series than what it has seen in years. The Mike Kidd-led AMA Flat Track team that includes former competitor Steve 'The Findlay Flyer' Morehead, did a stellar job of helping to turn the sport around and working with the race promoters to put and keep butts in the seats, staying on the edge with proper and timely track prep, and introducing true entertainment to the crowded houses that AMA Flat Track visited this year.
With the current rules package allowing several makes, and even more models of motorcycles, to compete against the ever-conquering purpose-built Harley-Davidson XR750 (albeit a restricted one!), the series saw as many as eight different manufacturers try to qualify and get a spot in the big show this season. Kawasaki and Ducati both saw their first major wins in AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Series this year (with Bryan Smith on the #42 Werner Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki taking back-to-back Twins event wins at Indy and Springfield), Suzuki back with a presence in the sport with the likes of Mick Kirkness, Chad Cose and J.R. Schnabel, among others, Triumph winning a semi at Indy with Shawn Baer and the Bonneville Performance team, and KTM getting in the main at Minnesota and Prescott Valley with Jeremy Higgins and the Waters Auto Body team for their first time ever, as well. And Matt Weidman got the Ron Wood BMW into the main in May at Prescott, and tried to do so again last weekend as well. Parity was the name of the game this year in AMA Flat Track. Now, if we can get these promoters and track to quit canceling events (see Grove City, Lexington and Castle Rock) after they have commited to the series, we might really have turned this old ship around.

In the next several days we will be looking at the 6th-10th place finishers in the final 2010 AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Series season, and we will take a look at the Rookie of the Year-which went to P.J. Jacobsen, as well as some of the other great moments on the year. In the meantime, you can check out all of the official stories, results and pictures below, as well as some of the UN-official stories and pictures from last weekend's events at Yavapai Downs in Arizona. With the up-swing in popularity, AMA Flat Track is beginning to gain some more followers, so you will find some parity below in some of the reporting of the series as well. 2010 has been a great year, and we hope the 2011 AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Series season will be even better. And Stu's Shots can't wait!


Here is Cycle's spin on the season finale at Yavapai Downs last weekend:

From AMA Pro Flat Track is the story of the race at the Prescott Valley Arizona Mile and the AMA Grand National Championship, both of which were clinched by Jake Johnson over the weekend:

AMA Pro Flat Track Arizona Mile II official results:

AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series 2010 season-end overall point standings:

AMA Pro Flat Track Arizona Mile II complete event results (PDF):

Dave Hoenig's Flat Trak has the results (and soon will have pics from the event, usually posted within 5-6 days after each event) at the season-ending round 16 in Prescott Valley:

And Dave does a real nice job of posting the points for the AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series after each event. They are color-coded so it is easy to see who was on what and how they finished. Here's the tally for the 2010 season, check it out:

And here are Dave Hoenig's photos from the AMA Flat Track site of the Arizona Mile from last Saturday:

Steve Atlas from has this story with some pics of the season finale at The Yavapai Downs mile oval from last Saturday:

Ultimate has this nice press release from Kenny Coolbeth and his Screamin Eagle H-D factory team on the season's final event:

Greaser Mike does some vintage flat track racing out on the east coast and puts up a super site with his pics of the vintage bikes, and has a really nice Triumph of his own as well. Here is his spin on the season ender at Yavapai Downs last Saturday:

Will Fulford and Yve Assad started The Fast and this year to help showcase the great sport of AMA Pro Flat Track, and they have really done an outstanding job throughout the year of bringing us event photos and videos. They also work alongside to provide an even broader base of flat track coverage to us all. Here is their season ending compilation video of AMA Flat Track highlights throughout the year:

Joe Kopp talked with Doug Pace from the Spokane Spokeman Review in his home state of Washington last week before the season-ending event at Prescott Valley last Saturday. In his talk with Doug, Joe tells him that the 2010 season will be his last before he hangs up his steel shoe. He is surely going to be missed on the track, and hopefully we will see much more of Smokin Joe around the track next year helping out some of the younger riders as he has aspired to do:

Steve Ducharme of the always excellent Motorcycle Picture of the Day site has a couple of great shots from Yavapai Downs, one of which has J.R. Schnabel on the #33 Dave Burks Suzuki (Mick Kirkness' usual mount-Mick was running his XR at Prescott) which he ran instead of his Memphis Shades XR:

Jared Mees talked with Doug Cook from the Prescott Daily Courier newspaper during the rundown to the AMA Flat Track season finale in Prescott Valley. You can read about Jared here:

Steve Warne is a super-avid flat track fan and runs a great site on Blogger/Blogspot called Poppa Wheelie. He has covered and been around flat track for years and always has some super shots and great little reports to put up before and after the west coast events (he had some great stuff from the May race in Arizona, and also covered last year's season-ender in Pomona.) Here are a couple of Poppa Wheelie's reports for the Budweiser Racing Arizona Mile from last Saturday with some really excellent shots. You'll love all of Steve's stuff, but I know you will drool over his run to the flag shot on here, and his candid shots of Jake on the podium before AND after the roar had eased at the podium ceremonies.

Go here for one of his reports:

....and here for another:

A gentleman named Robert (no last name given) that is a forum member at Flat was at Arizona and has these shots on PhotoBucket that he has posted under the name 'rabracing58' that are super. Check them out here:

And Mark Kucera, another Flat forum member who goes by 'mark in phoenix' has this group of great shots he took at Yavapai Downs last Saturday also on


No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it nice, but keep them coming!

---Please note---You can leave comments anonymously, but you can also leave them while logged into Google, Yahoo and other platforms.
We'd love to hear from you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.