Wednesday, September 28, 2011

AMA Flat Track: Jimmy Wood Recovers from Peoria TT Heat Crash to Take 7th at Brainerd Half-Mile

Round 14 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series got off to a rough start for a couple of the competitors in the 3rd heat race right from the start.  With the Peoria TT being the longest running and current event held on the series' schedule, the fight to make the 18-rider main event can sometimes turn into a war zone.  And that's exactly what happened to Jimmy Wood and Brad Baker on the first lap of their heat race in turn one.

With eventual 1st and 2nd place finishers in heat 3, Jake Johnson on the #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Motion Pro-sponsored Honda CRF450R and Bryan Smith on his #42 Moroney's H-D/ Racing-backed Honda able to shuffle through without any mishaps, the rest of the field starts to get caught up in what looks like a demo derby.  Jimmy Wood on his #37 A&J/Southland Racing/M.E.H. Corp/Race Tech-sponsored Honda CRF450R has already gone down after running into/over Brad Baker on his #12 Brothers Powersports/MVR/Schenk Racing/Major League Moto-backed Honda while trying to negotiate the tight turn into one after the start.

As JW #37 is doing a face plant and his bike is getting ready to slam down on top of him, Baker is already down after the contact between the two.  Matt Weidman on his #20 SNIP/Shoei/R&D Springs/Silkolene-sponsored Honda has managed to avoid the rag-dolling Wood, missing Baker in the process (you can just see The Bullet's arm through the gap in Matt's machine between the front tire and frame.)  Baker's machine also came down to tag him during the aftermath.  Ion Stear on his #19 Mack Daddy Racing/Performance Cycle & Dyno/Motion Pro/Fight For Dirt Honda manages to slip through unscathed, with Mikey Rush on his #54Z Ride Nasty Clothing/GP Sports/Rod Lake Racing/Hooper Motorsports-sponsored Honda getting it slowed down in time to avoid the fallen riders.

After the dust and parts had settled, Baker was lucky to make the restart and race the semi to make the main event, for a hard-fought (and sore) 12th place finish. Several weeks later, he still had a burn/hematoma spot on his stomach at least half the size of a football.   Jimmy, however, was not so lucky.

Breaking bones in his left hand, Jimmy was forced to not only miss the re-start of the heat, but the main event, and the next three events on the schedule as well.  With pins and rods inserted to bring his hand back into working shape, the California resident was able to return to action in round 18, just a little over a month after the accident.  Don't EVER say that AMA Pro Flat Track racers aren't tough!

Jimmy Wood can be seen in his pit area working on his #37 A&J/Southland Racing/M.E.H. Corp/Race Tech/Hostility Clothing-sponsored Kawasaki 650R-based machine during the Lake Odessa Half-Mile at I-96 Speedway in July 2011.  The Redlands, CA. resident is a regular competitor in the west coast flat track series (among them Eddie Mulder's and Gene Romero's flat track series), and was set to go road racing this year until a last minute change brought him onto the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series as a full-time competitor.

Banding together with his cousin, they started building this great looking machine and team back in January.  With a new motor and a C&J frame wrapped around the Ninja 650R-based parallel twin, Wood has had some impressive results this year, but the most impressive without a doubt was bringing it home into the 7th spot at last Saturday's Brainerd Half-Mile, only two days over a month after his Peoria debacle.  And with enough hardware in his hand to set off an airport metal detector, the man has guts and is as tough as nails.

Jimmy currently sits in the 13th overall spot in the point standings with 100 points, and if not for his having to miss out on the four rounds he missed overall (Peoria, both Springfields and Knoxville), would surely be in the top 10. 

You can read all about Jimmy's recovery and his surgery on his hand below, and we wish him the best of luck for the two remaining rounds this year, and look forward to seeing him back in the saddle during the 2012 season, too.  Great job JW, you're too tough for me, man!

You can read here what Jimmy Wood had to say after his fine 7th place finish at round 18 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series event at the Brainerd Half-Mile round held at the North Central Speedway on Saturday, September 24, below.

A BIG thanks to Tyler Porter from Fight For Dirt for this great interview with Jimmy after he brought his #37 A&J/Southland Racing-sponsored Kawasaki 650R-based machine home into the 7th spot in the 18-rider main in Minnesota last Saturday.  Read on:

Jimmy Wood Interview courtesy of and by Tyler Porter/

Jimmy Wood is a man on a mission. After a
crash in Peoria that left him with a seriously
damaged hand, Jimmy rebounded in Brainerd
With a 7th place finish on his Kawasaki 650.

FFDT: Hey Jimmy, nice ride in Brainerd, walk us
through your night.

JW: The night started off with me being terrified,
just hoping I could hang onto my bike without it
trying to kill me. I had the crash at Peoria, had 4
plates and 26 screws put in my hand and I had
surgery right after Peoria so it has been about 4
weeks or something since the surgery. My hand is
super tender, not getting a lot of movement out of
it yet, no strength or anything, so it was been a
struggle. My doctor told me that if I could hang on,
I could ride so it's really strong, it's all bolted
together, I just have to be able to hang on. I cut
one of my Spider Grips open and put it over the
other one so I had a big 'ole grip to hold on to and
I gave it a go. My bike worked really good. I
qualified, I think, 5th, then got 3rd in my heat and
put it into the main event. I feel like the bike was a
lot better than my results showed. I just couldn't
ride it through the middle of the corners very well,
I just couldn't hold onto the handlebars. The bike
was really really good.

FFDT: With the hand injury, was there any kind
of rehab you were doing to try to get it a little
closer to 100% before the race?

JW: Pretty much all I do is try to wiggle my fingers
around. The doctors put me through a little rehab,
but that's really all it was, just trying to move it
around. Just keep everything moving, keep it kind
of mobile. By the end of the day I can pretty much
ball up a fist, but then I wake up in the morning and
it's locked back straight again. Everyday I make
progress through the day and then I wake up in
the morning and it's, "Aw man!" It's like starting
from scratch.

FFDT: How much is the injury going to affect you
in the next two races?

JW: You know, I don't know. I would think with
another week, well, so far with the first 4 weeks,
when I look at it week by week I have made a lot
of progress. Leaps and bounds. With another
week, I should be good to go. I think I might feel
it a little bit, but it'll be a lot better than it was over
the weekend.

FFDT: Talk about your Kawasaki 650. You've
made some big changes to it this year. How close
is it to being right where you want it?

JW: We've made some really big changes.
Actually, some of the biggest changes came from
John at Jet Tuning. They did a motor for me and
it's great. It makes really equal power to the other
bikes and I'm happy with that. That was a big deal
for us and when Jet Tuning got ahold of the thing,
it's got a noticeable advantage on the
straightaways. I'm really happy with that. Brent
Armbruster, Jared Mees' mechanic took me out
testing one day right before Peoria and helped me
out a lot with the geometry. We moved things up
and down changed everything around until I was
really comfortable. We got the front end like I like
it, made it a lot easier to ride. I was excited to get
out there this weekend on it. One of the reasons I
was in such a hurry to come back was because I
was excited to ride the bike after all of the
improvements that we made. It's been one of
those deals where, my cousin and I decided to put
this team together in January, right at the last
second and we're kind of under prepared I guess
you could say. It's been a learning curve all year
long, trying to get to all the race tracks, then trying
to get the bike dialed in and we built this in a
garage and have something that nobody else has I
guess with the C&J Chassis and that whole deal.
It's come a long ways, but we were the only
Kawasaki in the top 10 last night, so we were first
Kawasaki. I feel like we have one of the best bikes
on the track and we keep making improvements.
We'll go into next year maybe with some more
equipment, but a lot more test time for sure.
We'll be prepared to move forward next season.

FFDT: What did you think about the track at

JW: Everybody had to ride on the same race track.
Even though it was a bit small for a twin, we were
all on them, so I guess it doesn't matter. It was a
good racy race track. I think we put on a good
show for the people who were in the grandstands
and that's really what matters. It might not have
been the most fun for all the riders, but nobody
went out and got hurt and we put on a show for
the fans. In my opinion it was a good venue, one
that we should probably go back to in the future.

FFDT: This summer you've stayed and traveled
with Jared Mees. Was this the first time you
stayed East and how much did it affect your

JW: Years ago I stayed the summer in Jefferson
City Missouri with Dave Burks and Travis Smith
with the Suzuki crew. They let me ride some of
their singles bikes, so I stayed out there for quite
a while. I've gotten used to the whole "back east"
lifestyle thing. I've been mainly road racing the last
couple of years, staying mainly out west for that,
doing that whole deal. This summer living with
Jared has helped out a lot. Being in Michigan like
he is, is just the perfect place. You're pretty close
to all of the nationals and All-Star races. It was
just nice having somebody with me on these road

FFDT: Do you have any good Jared Mees

JW: Of course I do! I have 100 of them!

FFDT: Now your finishing out the series in your
home state of California. Are you expecting to do
better since you're going to be right at home before
the races?

JW: yeah, I actually left early so I can get home,
get bikes prepared and stuff like that. We'll do the
last two nationals and then Eddie Mulder's big race
at Willow Springs also. But being at home, we're
going to have a lot more time to test with the bike.

FFDT: Best of luck and congratulations on your
top 10 at Brainerd!

JW: Thanks man, I appreciate it!

Thanks again to Tyler Porter for this interview with Jimmy Wood.  You can find it as well as Tyler's other great stuff going on in the flat track world right here--make sure to bookmark his site!

And you can read all about round 18 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at the North Central Speedway in Brainerd, MN. here thanks to Dave Hoenig and Cycle's Digital edition:

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.