Tuesday, October 4, 2011

AMA Flat Track: The Fast & Dirty.com Brainerd Half-Mile Video Review

The top competitors in the 2011 edition of the AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series line up before the final qualifying session at round 16 of the season at the Springfield Mile II on September 4.  In the series' third and final mile event of the season, it was all-on as the field of 53 riders who timed in, only the fastest 48 would make the cut to race for a spot in the 18 rider National main event.  Those 48 riders qualified within just 1.9 seconds of one another, and the top 28 were less than one second apart.  The six men shown above all qualified in the top 11, and within .480 seconds of one another, and 5 of those men finished the main event in the top 7.

Moving ahead 20 days to round 18 at the North Central Speedway Half-Mile event in Brainerd, MN., and 5 of the same six men finished in the top 5 of the National main event, with the 6th man in the 7th spot.  With the event at Brainerd run on what was described as a '3/8ths mile, D-shaped' oval, the racing was decidedly different, but with somewhat similiar outcome--in that the same guys were still fighting for the top spots when it was all done and said.  As has been the case all season, when the racing gets tough in The Rolling Thunder Show, the cream rises to the top.

At the Brainerd round, these six men also qualified in the top 8 spots, within .203 seconds of one another at a track that saw sub-20 second times, in comparison to the sub 37 second times seen on the big mile oval back at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Leading that pack of riders with a fast-time of 19.296 seconds was Jared Mees on his #9 Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs Screamin' Eagle/Lucas Oil/National Cycle-sponsored XR750.  The Jammer would go on to win his heat over Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. and take 3rd in the Dash behind Coolbeth and Matt Weidman.  At the end of the evening, Mees had won his 5th race of the year and looked to have a firm grip on the overall series points lead going into the penultimate round at Calistoga.

Coolbeth would take his #2 Harley-Davidson Motor Co/Screamin' Eagle/Spectro Oils/Fox-sponsored factory H-D XR750 into the 6th qualifying spot with a time of 19.460, and after winning the Dash would finish 2nd in the main behind Mees, just .469 seconds back.  As has been the case since the Hartford round in mid June, The King of Cool held a firm grip on the 4th spot in the overall standings and would look ahead to another Dash win at the Calistoga Half-Mile round.

Defending AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson has spent the better part of the season in the top 3 of the overall point standings on his #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Motion Pro-backed XR750, and has been a regular fixture on the podium all year.  Brainerd was no exception for the former 2-Time Singles Series Champ, as he started off qualifying 3rd with a time of 19.434 seconds, would go on to win his heat and take 4th in the Dash event.  With his 3rd place in the National main at Brainerd, 1.290 seconds behind winner Mees, Jersey Jake was heading west to the penultimate round at Calistoga in the 2nd spot in the championship with two rounds to go.

7-Time AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr is winding down his 2011 Farewell to Flat Track Tour with the usual bravado that The Champ has showcased over the course of the last 26 years as an AMA Grand National Championship Series competitor.  Qualifying in the 8th spot at Brainerd with a time of 19.499, The Prince of Peoria would take his #4 American Motorcyclist Assoc/Classic H-D/DFW Honda/Arai-sponsored XR to a 4th place spot in his heat behind heat 2 winner Bryan Smith, and would equal that number again in the National main, 2.236 seconds behind winner Mees.  Carr also kept a firm grip on his 5th spot in the overall standings heading west to Calistoga, and looks to finish the year in the same position overall, for a great last year in the series.

Bryan Smith's run at Brainerd on his #42 Moroney's Fasthog.com/American H-D/Rockyonline.com/Boughner Racing-sponsored XR750 was also indicative of the great finishes the Michigan resident has been putting in since the Twins Series first event at Springfield in late May.  Qualifying 2nd with a time of 19.430, Smith won his heat, but finished 6th in the Dash to score zero bonus points.  But Flyin' Bryan put on a super show in the National main event, to come home 5th, 3.862 seconds behind winner Mees.  Smith left Minnesota headed to the final two west coast rounds of the season in the 9th spot in the series championship, and if not for several DNS' early in the season, would surely be in the top 5 of the championship battle.

For only the 3rd time this season, Sammy Halbert was forced to win his semi race in order to qualify for the main at Brainerd on his #7 Kings Kustoms/White's H-D/LZ Racing/KK Supply-backed XR.  After qualifying 4th with a time of 19.450, Slammin' Sammy crashed unhurt in his heat 3 and was forced to re-start on his backup machine.  With an 8th place finish, he went on to win semi #1 to get his ticket to the main, and put on a great show for the fans to fight his way back to an 8th place finish, 5.508 seconds behind Mees.  Halbert headed west after dropping another spot in the overall standings to hold a secure 3rd spot in the championship standings.

A big thanks goes out again to Will and Yve from The Fast and Dirty.com for this great video from round 18 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at the North Central Speedway Half-Mile in Brainerd, MN.:


And here's another great review of the Brainerd Half-Mile, thanks to Dan Jacobson, Sr. and Today's Cycle Coverage.com:


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