Monday, November 1, 2010

AMA Flat Track: 1st Time Milestones in 2010 Season

The 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series season saw only one first-time winner on the year, but that didn't make the monumental effort any less important than what it was for not only this rider, but for the series itself as well. Steve Bonsey took the #80 Johnny Goad/Alpinestars/Arai/Dodge Brothers-sponsored H-D XR750 to his first win in the series' first race in Northern California in over 12 years.
At the Calistoga Half Mile event at the end of July, Bonsey started the day off strong timing in second in practice, qualifying in third overall (in a field of 32 riders), and taking 2nd place in the 3rd heat race of the day to punch his ticket to the main event. Heat 3 winner Sammy Halbert, 3rd place Jared Mees, and 4th place Henry Wiles made things pretty honest for Bonsey in the heat. He also managed to score one point bringing it home 5th in the Dash for Cash. In the main, Stevie worked his way through the field to beat the likes of Halbert, Jake Johnson, Chris Carr and Jared Mees to win by 1.176 seconds and put his name in the record books as a first-timer on the top of the podium in AMA Flat Track GNC Racing.
After having been road racing in Europe until the end of the 2009 season, Bonsey was expected to get a ride in the new Moto2 World Championship Series with Kenny Roberts for the 2010 season. The one-time prodigy of The King, who hails from Salinas, CA. (home to other notables such as Wayne Rainey, Doug Chandler and the late Ricky Graham) lost that ride when sponsorship dollars failed to appear for Kenny and the team. But as a result, the AMA Flat Track Series and it's fans were elated to see the youngster campaigning one of the legendary Harley XRs for one of the tuning legends in the sport, Johnny Goad.
Bonsey earned his National number at the Springfield TT in May of '09, and rode his first mile event the next day at the legendary Illinois State Fairgrounds mile oval. For 2010 he would wear the #80, ditching the 'Y' from his rookie campaign season.
Although he wasn't able to duplicate his great run at Calistoga with another podium on the year, Bonsey still finished 12th in the points in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series with 81 points. He also qualified for eight other events on the year including his 6th place finish at the Springfield Short Track over the Labor Day weekend, and his 7th place finish on the Yavapai Downs Mile at the end of the season. And although we wish him the very best in the coming future, we sure hope that 'best' is in the AMA Flat Track Series!
The attached shot shows Steve Bonsey in the Dodge Brothers pit area at the Springfield Mile on September 5, where Stevie brought the #80 machine home in the 10th spot in the main event.
With the rules for AMA Pro Flat Track in the 2010 season having been set to allow several other manufacturers to run in the Expert Twins Series alongside the long-standing H-D XR750 prototype, the season saw several new entries in GN Twins main events that were either first-timers to the show, or first-time winners. The Lloyd Brothers team with rider Joe Kopp managed to put the icing on the cake for their efforts in May with the big Ducati 1098, and at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile at the end of August we saw the breakout win with Bryan Smith at the controls of the Werner Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki.
Somewhat overshadowed by these events were the efforts of Rookie-Expert Jeremy Higgins on the #82B Waters Auto Body/Power Sports Institute/Arlen Ness/Bell-sponsored 'Project K' KTM 950-based team. Jeremy set a major milestone in the series (and for his team!) by putting the big KTM in the main events at both the Canterbury Park and Yavapai Downs races at the end of the season, giving Jeremy and the KTM their very first points in an AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Twins Series event. Higgins earned his first-ever ticket to a Twins main event with a fine ride into 3rd place in heat 2 at the Canterbury Park Mile, and came home 12th in the final to earn his National number for the 2011 season. He also finished 10th in Prescott Valley, where he had to come off the back row in the 25 lap final event, after having qualified for the main via a 5th place finish in the only semi for the day. Team mate Chad Cose on the #49 KTM 950 also put the team's other machine in the main at the season-ender on the Yavapai Downs Mile, where he finished 13th on the day, and also making history for KTM and AMA Flat Track for having two representatives in a Twins event. Higgins finished the year in the 29th spot in the overall point standings with 16 points, based on his year-end results.
A very fine effort by Jeremy and his family-run and operated team for the year! It is a major undertaking to take on anyone in any major racing series, but to do so with a manufacturer that is new to the series is great for the sport. And from the shot attached of the team at Lima in June (you can also see Cose's #49 Waters Auto Body Suzuki sitting in the rear of the shot) you have to appreciate the looks and layout of these fine machines, as they are visually stunning. The picture really doesn't do the looks of these well-prepared bikes any justice. Great job Jeremy and Company, and we're looking forward to seeing more in the 2011 season! Once this young rider and team completely come together in the Twins Series, look to see more of them in more mains in the coming season.
J.D. Beach had an extremely busy year in motorcycle racing during the 2010 season. Competing full-time in the AMA Pro SuperSport East Road Racing Series, he won eight events while competing on the Rockwall Performance YZF-R6, and had wrapped up the overall East Series title after the VIR round in early August. In the AMA Pro Motorcycle Pro Singles events, he qualified for six events, winning four rounds including the Peoria TT and the Lucas Oil Indy Mile while competing on his #95C Red Bull/Top 1 Oil/Rockwall Performance/
Alpinestars-backed Honda 450. And to wrap it up, Beach jumped to the Expert Class for the Springfield Short Track round the weekend after Indy, and in his very first appearance in the premier AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series, managed to put his #95C Craig Rogers-backed Honda 450 on the podium with a great run into 3rd place behind winner Henry Wiles and runner-up Jake Johnson.
Beach's past accomplishments include running the Red Bull Rookies Cup alongside the MotoGP World Championship Series in 2008, where he finished the season ranked 16th in the overall standings. Learning the high-speed tracks along the way surely helped J.D. as he also jumped on a Rogers Lake Racing-backed XR during the Springfield Mile the day after his first Expert Class podium, and managed to bring it home in the 12th spot in the veteran-filled main event.
In the shot shown, Beach is sitting in his pit area at Springfield several hours before putting it on the podium in the Expert Singles final. He was being interviewed at the time by the tv crew on hand to film for Mav TV. Next to his pit area was his team mate for the weekend, #21 Jared Mees.
With the lure of road racing looming on his future, getting to see J.D. at least run a few events in 2010 was wonderful, and the personable young man has a very bright future ahead of him no matter where he goes and what he races. Obviously, we hope he stays in the AMA Flat Track Series for at least part of the time to shine that big smile around the circuit, let alone showcase his talents on the dirt tracks. Great year J.D.!
With the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series celebrating a magnificent year in terms of attendance, competition and turn-around in the sport, there were many stories to be told for the year. Obviously Ducati's big win in May on the Yavapai Downs Mile leading off the season, and then
towards the end of the summer seeing the Kawasaki wins at Indy and Springfield were the 'big' break-out stories of the year.
But along the way, there were many other 'first time' events and happenings that also helped to define the great turnaround in AMA Flat Track racing. I've only touched on three of those events for the season, knowing there were many more. These were the one's (other than what we have talked about since the end of the season, that is) that also helped shape the great year that the series has had. (For that matter, I would love any/all suggestions from readers to add to the list, or just to write and read about through the off-season. So if you are reading this, and want to add to the mix of what you think would be a good read here, by all means drop me a line and a suggestion to help us all get through the winter months!)
So join me in congratulating these, and all the entrants and participants in the AMA Flat Track Series, for a year, and a job well done. Here's looking back on 2010 and looking forward to the 2011 season!
Here are a few links to check out on Jeremy Higgins from the #82B Waters Auto Body/Power Sports Institute/Arlen Ness/Bell-sponsored KTM 950-based team. This was a monumental undertaking in setting up the big KTM for AMA Pro Flat Track, and along with Ducati and Kawasaki coming into this great sport (and winning, in their cases) is another fine example of the machinery available under the current rules in place for the series.
Jeremy putting the bike in the main in Minnesota and he and Chad Cose both putting the KTM 950 in the main at the season-ender in Prescott Valley were HUGE for the sport, let along the team! This is the kind of story that is bringing AMA Flat Track Racing back to the forefront in terms of helping to put more paying butts in the seats as well as getting the word out on this great sport. Excellent job by both Jeremy and Chad this year!
Here's the link for Jeremy Higgins' Team Project K Racing:
Steve Warne's great Poppa Wheelie site has these shots of Project K/Waters Auto Body team mates Jeremy Higgins #82B (that number will be changing to a 'solid' number for 2011 based on putting the KTM in the final at Canterbury Park alone) and Chad Cose #49 on the team's Suzuki from the season-ender at Yavapi Downs:
Jeremy filed this year-end report after putting the KTM in the main for the second race of the 2010 season (and second race in a row!) in the AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship season-ending round in Prescott Valley. Check it out at THE place for flat track racing and fans,
Here's some more info on 1st-time winner in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series, Steve Bonsey of the #80 Johnny Goad/
Alpinestars/Arai/Dodge Brothers-sponsored team. Congrats on a super season, Stevie, and we're looking forward to seeing more of you next year with a steel shoe strapped on!
Dean Adams' site filed this interview with Steve Bonsey back in April of 2008 when he was still racing in the 125CC World Championship Series in Europe on an Aprilia. We're glad (and VERY lucky) to have this young man running in the AMA Pro Flat Track Series here in the States and hope that he is able to stick around and get a few more wins on the ovals!
Over at the MotoGP site they have this short story about Bonsey running in the 250CC class from June of 2009:
And has this nice interview with Stevie from June of 2009 just after he had earned his National number at the Springfield TT, and what it was like running his first mile event in the AMA Flat Track Series at Springfield in May of '09:
More on new AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Expert Series
rider J.D. Beach, who on his maiden voyage racing in the Expert class, stood on the podium at the Springfield Short Track with a fine 3rd place finish (behind winner Henry Wiles and 2nd place on the night Jake Johnson) on the #95C Red Bull/Top 1 Oil/Rockwall Performance/Craig Rogers-sponsored Honda 450. As a result of just making this event, J.D. earned his National number for the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Championship Expert Class. We hope to see more of this great young rider racing in the AMA Flat Track Series in the future as he definitely is a great asset to the sport. Great job, J.D.!

AMA Pro Flat Track had this story on J.D. Beach before he went out and won the Peoria TT and the Lucas Oil Indy Mile while riding in the AMA Pro Motorcycle Pro Singles Class: has this interview with J.D. from back in April, where he talks about how the road racing is going at the time (VERY well) and riding the Pro Singles events that don't conflict with his AMA Road Racing schedule:
Here is the link to J.D.'s bio on the Red Bull Rookies Cup page from when he was running in that series in 2008, where he eventually finished 16th in the overall point standings:

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