Saturday, November 19, 2011

AMA Flat Track: Bonneville Performance Triumph Team to Get Backing From Triumph Factory for '12 AMA Grand National Twins Series, '11 Pro Singles Champ Mikey Martin to Ride

The Bonneville Performance/GBR/Wiseco Pistons/GBR-sponsored Triumphs of National #32 Shawn Baer sit under the team's pop-up during round 16 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile oval on September 4.  The Bill Gately/Bonneville Performance team, based out of Port Orange, FL. has struggled to make the mains in AMA Flat Track Grand National events, only able to do so in 10 events over the course of the last two seasons, but have turned some heads when they have put the sparkling blue and white machine into the show.

Going up against the long-standing Harley-Davidson XR750 in the series, the onslaught of the Kawasakis hitting the track the last two years, and factor in the great run that the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports team has had with Joe Kopp in '10 and Brad Baker in '11 with the Ducati, and you have a very deep field of top-level competition to race with in order to make a National main event in the 21st Century.

They may have just gotten another foot up on the competition for the 2012 season, though, with the announcement last night from 2011 AMA Pro Pro Singles Champion Mikey Martin that he will be the team's rider in the 2012 Twins Series events, and that the Triumph factory will be providing support to the team for next year as well. 

Tyler Porter and his Fight For Dirt site broke the news last night via Twitter and Facebook that Martin will be the team's rider and the Triumph factory will be stepping back into the AMA Grand National Championship for the first time in over 35 years.

Bonneville Performance is a company that specializes in all things Triumph-'old and new' as their website states-to set up your machine with, and offers a number of Mikuni, Wiseco and other after-market goodies to make your machine a street tracker special.  Their street tracker displays at the Nationals are absolutely pristine.  The team has campaigned Shawn Baer the last two seasons on the circuit, and Mick Kirkness #87 rode the machine this year at the season-finale at Pomona, albeit failing to make the main event.

This is great news for AMA Flat Track fans as the combination of factory support, Bonneville Performance's pristine machine set-up abilities, and Pro Singles Champ Martin onboard will help to propel this marque back onto the grid on a regular basis in The Rolling Thunder Show.  The 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series season just got a lot brighter! 

AMA Pro Flat Track announcer Barry Boone reads off the list of sponsors for the fans while Lake Odessa Half-Mile AMA Pro Pro Singles winner Mikey Martin gets set to chug some water after a runaway win at round 11 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship season.  The #91Y Weirbach Racing/General Engineering/Barnett Clutches/Spectro-sponsored Honda CRF450R-mounted rider took the win by 4.322 seconds over runner-up Conner Anderson, for his second of three wins on the season.  Martin went on to clinch the 2011 AMA Pro Pro Singles Championship at the last round of the season at Pomona on October 15.

With Martin moving up to the Expert ranks after the season was over last month, he will be wearing the #91 for the upcoming season, and with a white number plate and a set of black letters on them.  And he will be sporting that nice new number plate on the front of the Bonneville Performance Triumph for the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Twins Series events.  As previously mentioned, Tyler Porter and Martin both broke the news last night via Twitter and Facebook.

Showing up last weekend at Oglethorpe Speedway in Savannah, GA. for the SEMDTRA flat track half-mile race riding the Bonneville Triumph, Martin sported #91 Expert number plate, and finished 5th in his first outing on the bike behind in the Pro Twins class behind winner Kenny Coolbeth, Jeffrey Carver, Corey Texter and Shawn Baer (ironically the rider he will be replacing) in his first race against an Expert field of riders.  Not a bad way to end his first time riding the machine in competition against a former 3-Time AMA Grand National Twins Champion (Coolbeth) and 2010 Pro Singles Champion Carver.

Shawn Baer is shown on the #32 Bonneville Performance/Wiseco Pistons/GBR/Eckhart Roofing-sponsored Triumph just prior to rolling out for the semi #2 race at the Springfield Mile II event on September 4, 2011, where the Pennsylvania resident finished in the 7th spot, .424 seconds out of making the National main event for the day.  The 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series season was a rough year for Baer, only managing to make five of the eleven Twins events on the year, with a best-finish of 14th at the Springfield Mile I round in May.

It looks like Shawn will be out of this ride for the 2012 AMA Grand National Championship Series, with Mikey Martin taking over the reigns.  Baer is to be lauded, however, in his help in developing the Triumph into a National main event semi-regular, something that hasn't been seen in several decades on a half-mile or mile event.

One of his best runs in his two years with the team was at the 2010 Lucas Oil Indy Mile, where he won his semi race over Jethro Halbert and Luke Gough.  Using every bit of track available that hot August night, Baer took the win by just .077 seconds after eight long laps over runner-up Halbert on his Halbert Racing XR.  It was a great show of not only what Shawn can do on the track, but a great show for the Triumph in running against the fast XRs on the mile circuits and able to pull one out.

Thanks to Tyler Porter and his super site, Fight For Dirt for this great news about the factory Triumph coming back to AMA Pro Flat Track to help out the Bonneville Performance Triumph team for the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Twins Series Championship.  You can read more over at Tyler's site here:

And you can check out the great stuff that Bonneville Performance offers for the Triumph brand here, including their online catalog:

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