Saturday, June 18, 2011

AMA Flat Track: Chew, Stu & AMA Pro Flat Track Spin the Numbers for Round 9 at Lima

The blur of action is about to begin as round 6 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at the Springfield Mile kicks off the Twins Series' first event of the year on the hallowed grounds of the Illinois State Fairgrounds oval on May 29.  After torrential rains and hail stones the size of canned hams hit the circuit on the previous day and postponed the Springfield TT to Memorial Day Monday, the delayed mile event finally gets rolling on it's scheduled day, albeit with a somewhat-reworked schedule.  Fans were treated to the usual antics and high-speed thrills during the 25 lap main event that saw the series' stalwart mount (H-D XR-750) take the top 4 spots after just over 15 minutes of heart attack-inducing racing.

Front row leading the pack (L-R) shows Brad Baker on the #12 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/ Insurance/ENI USA-sponsored Ducati, Bryan Smith on his #42 Moroney's H-D/ Racing-backed Harley-Davidson XR-750, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the #2 Harley-Davidson Motor Co/Screamin Eagle/Spectro Oils/Fox-sponsored H-D Factory XR, Sammy Halbert on his #7 Kings Kustoms/LZ Racing/KK Supply/Nelson Racing-sponsored XR-750, reigning AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Champion Jake Johnson on his #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/MotionPro/Arai-backed XR and 7-Time AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Champion Chris Carr on his #4 American Motorcyclist Assoc/DFW Honda/Arai/Phoenix Racing-sponsored XR-750 as they get the 'go' sign for the 25 lap main event.

Row 2 following shows eventual event winner (and '09 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Twins Champion) Jared Mees on his #9 Rogers Lake/Blue Springs H-D/Lucas Oil/Saddlemen-sponsored XR-750, Justin Hittle #81 on his B&B Racing/Goodwin Racing/Lucas Oil/Grayboy Motorsports-backed XR, Willie McCoy on the #59 Harley-Davidson of Wassau/Independence H-D/Tucker Rocky/Speed & Strength-sponsored XR-750, Johnny Lewis on the #10 Scott Powersports/Dubach Racing Developments/Saddlemen/Triple J Racing-sponsored Kawasaki 650R-based machine, Mick Kirkness on the #87 Yeager Cycles/Memphis Shades/Steve Lievan Racing/Arai-sponsored Suzuki TL1000-based machine, and Illini resident Rob 'Bugs' Pearson on his #27 American Harley-Davidson/Matt Reecy/RPM/Movin-sponsored H-D XR-750.

And four of the six riders on row 3 get off the line as well as we see Brandon Robinson on his #44 Action Motorsports/Big Dawg/Arai/Power Bar-sponsored XR, Nichole Cheza on her #15 Global Products/Harley-Davidson/D&D Pipes/KK Motorcyle Supply-backed XR-750, Matt Weidman on his #20 White's Harley-Davidson/SNIP/Shoei/Silkolene-sponsored and family-run H-D XR-750, and '09 AMA Pro Flat Track Rookie of the Year Steve Bonsey on the #80 Dodge Bros Racing/Alpinestars/Arai/MotionPro-sponsored H-D XR-750.

With the upcoming round 9 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series slated to roll off on it's yearly spot of the last Saturday of June in Lima on June 25, the series is off to full-trot with what will be round 3 in the Twins Series and a full schedule of racing slated for the next several months. 

Everyone that hasn't been living under a rock in terms of the AMA Pro Flat Track Series in the last several events knows that Jared Mees has got the wind at his back as he has won 2 of 3 of the last events, and sandwiched a 2nd place at the Springfield TT with his wins at the Springfield Mile and at the Hartford Half-Mile last weekend.  And if it's not bad enough for the competition already, Mees has won at Lima twice in the past 6 years.  Chris Carr is in full-swing on his 2011 Chris Carr's Farewell to Flat Track Tour and is in the process of showing that you can't keep a good man down and that experience and maturity do have their merits in being able to contend with the young one's in AMA Flat Track.  Bryan Smith with his return to the H-D XR-750 fold after a year on the Werner Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki is showing that you don't lose what you don't use in running VERY strong (before breaking in the main) at Springfield and a great 3rd place finish at Hartford.  Oh, and Smith won Lima with a last lap, down-to-the-wire pass of Henry Wiles two years ago. (Wiles, the defending Lima event winner, will still be on the sidelines from his leg/knee surgery after the Salinas round.  He still expects to return to the track at Peoria in August.)

Rookie of the Year candidate/shoe-in (and '09 AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Champion) Brad Baker wowed the crowd on his first ride with the Lloyd Brothers Ducati at Springfield and showed that in spite of a slick track at Hartford he can stand the heat with his first-full season riding with the big boys in the Expert Class.  Sammy Halbert is still leading the overall championship standings, and as everyone knows it doesn't matter where or what you are racing on, he's going to be there in the hunt for the long run, and Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. is showing us all why he is a former 3-Time AMA Grand National Twins Champ (and '07 Singles Series Champ) and winning and posting solid results to put his name into the fold.

Jake Johnson is a rider that shows up ready to race and ready to do whatever it takes in order to garner points and championships as the series hits a wide variety of race circuits throughout the year.  The defending AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Champion suffered his first non-top 5 result for the year at Hartford last weekend, and with a glowing red rear disc holding him back he still pulled out a solid 8th place finish.  This is what champions do, and Jersey Jake is today's example of a true championship contender (and defender!)

In only his second full year of running in the Twins Series, Johnny Lewis on the Scott Powersports Kawasaki is showing that he can and will learn the ropes in The Rolling Thunder Show.  The former AMA SuperMoto competitor has already more then proved himself in the Singles Series, but his leading the first laps of his young career in a Twins Series event last week at Hartford shows that he is a fast learner in terms of bringing it on the Twins Series bikes.  And Matt Weidman, who garnered his very first AMA Pro Flat Track podium last June at Lima, is gaining steam and strength, in spite of the obstacles that he has had to overcome in terms of machinery ills from last year, and suffering from a hard lick earlier in the year at Salinas, that he is here to stay and coming into some of the tracks that this New York State cushion rider will truly enjoy, and be able to really show what this fine young man has to bring to the table.

There are a lot of other names that very well could be seen in the mix come June 25 and beyond.  Jimmy Wood and his #37 Southland Racing Kawasaki are coming to terms with one another, Jethro Halbert and the #69 Memphis Shades/Babe Demay team are starting to gel, and you know it's just a matter of time before the Werner Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki team gets it all together.  JR Schnabel on the #33 and Shaun Russell #28 have both been around this sport for over a quarter of a century combined, and between 13-Time AMA Grand National Championship winning tuner Bill Werner and 3-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jay Springsteen the team just needs all of the pieces to fall into place with their new riders before the Ninja 650R-based Twins are back on track and at the front. 

So stay tuned as The Rolling Thunder Show gets chugging along as the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Series season heads to Lima, and asks the big question of every flat track fan and competitor out there......are you in, or are you out!?  Now is the time to get onboard.

Points-Lead on the Line
as AMA Pro Flat Track Heads for Lima

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (June 17, 2011) - The AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship is preparing to invade a famous cushion half-mile for Round 9 of the 22-race series, and as the last Saturday of June approaches, the two-wheeled world knows the Allen County Fairgrounds, in Lima, Ohio, is the place to be.

Prior to the addition of the recently announced Pomona season finale, Lima was the last of the fairground cushion tracks--the circuits that made dirt track racing famous--that remained on the schedule. Despite the rooster tails that spray over the fence, fans regularly line the outside of Lima's oval to get an up-close view of all the bump-and-grind action, and they're set to do so again on June 25.

Rogers Lake Racing's Jared Mees, currently the hottest rider on the circuit after taking wins in two of the last three events, has had his share of success at Lima through the years. Mees scored his first Grand National win at Lima in 2005 and backed that up with yet another in 2007. "Lima has been pretty good to us in the past," said Mees. "We went and tested there a couple days ago [and] it felt pretty decent, but I'm going to try a couple different things."

"I really don't even care about points right now," Mees continued; "I just want to win races. If it's the last lap and I'm in second and I have a rider on the outside, and I have to go around him on the outside and crash it, I don't care--I'm crashing it. I just want to win. I don't care about the points anymore."

AMA Pro Flat Track round 7 action from the Lima Half-Mile in June of 2010 shows the main event getting the 'go' sign.  AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.

Last year's winner, Henry Wiles, is still recovering from knee surgery, but the rest of the podium will be back. Current points-leader Sammy Halbert (Kings Kustoms) and 2009 Rookie of the Year Matt Weidman (White's Harley-Davidson), for example, are both eager to fill the void left by Wiles.
"I'm pretty excited for Lima, that should go well," said Weidman. "Hopefully I'll have a good-running bike for that one. I got a podium there last year, [and] without Henry out there right now, it's pretty much anybody's game. Hopefully me and Sammy can battle for the win. Bryan [Smith] goes pretty good at Lima, too, and Jared--Jared's on a roll. It should be a good race for sure; it'll be fun."

Coming off a solid third-place finish at the Hartford half-mile, Moroney's Harley-Davidson's Smith is looking to repeat his 2009 Lima win and get back into the points-race after his early season struggles. And although Harley-Davidson Motor Company's Kenny Coolbeth has had his share of problems at Lima the last few years, he pulled off a second to Mees in 2007 and is looking forward to fighting the cushion. "We tested here last week, and we've been working hard," said Coolbeth. "We've been dialing her in on the suspension, [and] I'm actually looking forward to Lima. It should be good."

The overall AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship points race, meanwhile, has continued to tighten: While Sammy Halbert still holds the lead he's had all year, defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing) is just nine points back, with Mees another eight down.

AMA Pro Flat Track heat 3 blasts off the line at Lima in June 2010.  AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.

"I only lost two points to [Halbert]," said Johnson after his eighth-place finish at Hartford. "Jared made up some good points tonight by winning it, and Kenny [Coolbeth] is right there in the points too, and he finished good. It's definitely going to tighten things up in the points. I was expecting that," he continued; "I didn't think it was going to be a two-rider runaway with the points all season. It's still early, and we're still in there."

The Pro Singles class will also run at Lima, and that class' points race is developing into a ferocious three-rider battle. California's Mikey Avila and South Dakota's Gerit Callies split wins in Daytona to start the year, and their battle raged on throughout the next seven rounds--but another young-gun is sticking close to the pair.

Avila, who has four wins to his credit heading into Lima, holds a ten-point lead over Callies and the latter's two victories. Californian Mikey Martin, however, is just another ten points back, having stayed well in contention thanks to the consistency he's shown thus far.

For June 25 Lima Half-Mile tickets and information, call (419) 991-1491 or visit

To be a part of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, visit us at and join us on and

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

For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,
Here is the best analogy that I could ever hope to come up with in trying to determine who could, let alone WILL, win round 9 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at the wild, fast and gravel-laden Lima Half-Mile on Saturday June 25. 

One of the very best things about the flat track community is that the people involved in the sport are a very close-knit and family-oriented bunch of folks.  From the racers to the sponsors, from the team owners to the fans, and from even the masses who are priviledged to be able to get behind the scenes to help support the great sport of AMA Pro Flat Track, the whole majority of the people involved are some of the best people you could ever hope to cross paths with in your life, let alone become close friends and fanatics with along the way. 

One of those people that I have had that priviledge in life to be able to cross paths and become friends with because of flat track racing and, is Kevin 'Chew' Larcom (and of course his MUCH better half, Mia Moore!)  Chew, like myself, grew up in what many people still call the 'glory days' of flat track racing in the early-mid '70s until the present--give or take a couple of years.  So he's an ole horse like myself that has seen the ups and downs in the sport and has seen first-hand the great turnaround in AMA Pro Flat Track thanks to people like Mike Kidd, Steve Morehead, Dan Johnson and a host of others who have helped to turn The Rolling Thunder Show back into the exciting and thrilling show that it is over the course of the last few years.

Having said that (and blown more smoke up my friend's skirt in the process), I had to include the following link of Chew's rundown on the upcoming Lima, OH. half-mile event at the Allen County Fairgrounds on June 25.  Chew and Mia help support the great sport in many ways as The Fans in the Stands from, producing video and photography content, AND an occassional spin on or about the races.  This one is priceless, as Chew picks the numbers for next Saturday's round 9:

Here are the main links in which you will be able to follow the action on and off the track at Lima next Saturday.  If you should need anything else, you can also check out some of the links on the left-side column under AMA Pro Racing.  There are a few other Twitter links there that may be of help, as well!

AMA Pro Flat Track Live Timing & Scoring:

Miriam Deitcher is one of, if not THE hardest working people at an AMA Pro Flat Track event, and will be on-hand with her Flat Track Live Facebook page keeping everyone up to date with the on and off track action from Lima.  Between Flat Track Live and the AMA Pro Flat Track Timing & Scoring you'll have the stuff you need to keep up with what is going on at the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima:

Event info for round 9 at Lima, including pre-entry links and the day's schedule, can be found here thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track:

And this will be your source for all event info come Saturday June 25 for the Lima Half-Mile event at the Allen County Fairgrounds (all PDF versions):

Here's the local weather info for Lima, OH. thanks to the Weather Underground:

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