Round 5 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season gets ready to roll for the 25-lap National main as riders ready themselves to battle for the win at the 29th Annual Ohio National Championship held at the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima.
On the front row (from left), Bryan Smith on the #42 Moroney's H-D/FastHog.com/American H-D/Doc's H-D-sponsored XR750 (eventual 8th-place finish), Sammy Halbert on his #7 South East H-D/The South Ass/Mo Vaughn Transport/LZ Racing-backed XR750 (winner), 2-Time and defending Jake Johnson on the #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Arai-sponsored XR750 (eventual 3rd-place finish and best-ever Lima result), Johnny Lewis on the #10 Scott Powersports/Saddlemen Seats/Wallace Trucking/AXO-backed Kawasaki 650R-based parallel twin (5th-place finish), Henry Wiles on the #17 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Foremost Insurance Group/Ramspur Winery-sponsored Ducati 'L' twin (2nd-place finish), and Jeffrey Carver, Jr. on the #23 Kiesow Racing/Hall's Cycle/Eddie Adkins/Sponseller-backed XR750 (6th-place finish.)
Also seen in this shot on row 2: Rob Pearson on the #27 Memphis Shades/Yamaha/Wiseco/K&N-sponsored XR750 (7th-place finish), Briar Bauman on the #10Z Rod Lake Racing/USC Racing/Burnett Farms/Hart Racing-backed Kawasaki 650R-based parallel twin, Brad Baker on the #12 Columbia Avionics/Mark Cheza/K&K Motorcycle Supply/D&D Exhaust-sponsored XR750 (17th-place finish after suffering a broken swingarm pivot bolt), and points leader Jared Mees on the #9 Rogers Racing/Blue Springs H-D/Saddlemen/National Cycle-sponsored XR750 (4th-place finish.)
The series now heads to the Hagerstown Half-Mile National in Maryland for round 6 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season for the 31st Annual Hub City Classic with the top four in the overall championship seperated by just 16 points. With Mees leading the series (93 points), Johnson making his usual late-season run early in the year in the 2nd spot just 11 markers back, Daytona round one winner Lewis slotted in the 3rd spot (81 points) and Lima-winner Slammin' Sammy in the 4th spot (77 points) and Lima fast-qualifier and Daytona round two winner Matt Weidman (who crashed out with a broken collarbone and severely bruised right foot and will now miss 4-8 weeks of the season) tied with Lima runner-up Hammerin' Hank Wiles for the 5th spot (64 points each.)
Thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track for the official press release below on the happening's coming up on Saturday July 7 in Hagerstown!
AMA Pro Flat Track Headed for the "Hub City" Classic at Hagerstown Half-Mile
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
As the summer of 2012 heats up, so does the AMA Pro Flat Track action in the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com and Lucas Oil and AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles. The "Hub City" Classic is approaching as the series heads to Hagerstown, MD and the red clay of the Hagerstown Speedway.
The July 7th event will be the 31st AMA Pro Grand National Championship race on the normally smooth, banked half-mile; a big change from last week's "grip it and rip it" cushion half-mile. Always a big fan favorite, it will be the only appearance on the East Coast for the throaty GNC Twins in 2012.
The Rolling Thunder Show, literally and figuratively, rolled into Lima, OH last week and the National was filled with bar-to-bar racing and a little MMA blended in. Sammy Halbert (South East Harley-Davidson) and Henry Wiles (Lloyd Brothers Motorsports / Foremost Insurance) battled down to the wire with the win going to Halbert.
Neither the "Slammer" (Halbert) nor the "Hammer" (Wiles) have won a national main event at Hagerstown, but Halbert has been on the podium twice, scoring a second- and third- place finish in the 2008 and 2009 editions. Wiles' best finish has been an eighth, earned in 2010, but this weekend will be his first attempt on his potent Ducati.
There are only two active riders with Hagerstown wins. Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson Motor Company) has taken home victory three times (2007, 2008 and 2011) and defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing / Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson) has one to his credit (2009). Unfortunately, Coolbeth has joined the inactive riders after suffering a broken leg in an on-track incident at Lima. Another favorite that will be sitting out is early season points leader Matt Weidman (Greg Crow Racing / White's Harley-Davidson), who was also injured in Lima.
Johnny Lewis is still looking for his first "Big Bike" win aboard his Scott Powersports Kawasaki, but Lewis has been knocking on the door and it appears only a matter of time until he charges through. Lewis finished second at Hagerstown last year behind Coolbeth.
Current points leader Jared Mees has been on the Hagerstown podium three times, all third place finishes (2007, 2010 and 2011). The Rogers Racing / Blue Springs Harley-Davidson backed Mees is a proven groove track rider and although he is still looking for his first win this season, he still holds an 11 point lead after five races.
Johnson's title defense got off to a slow start and he is also still looking for his first win of the year, but his consistency has pushed him into second in the points over Lewis, with Halbert moving up to fourth, 16 points off the lead. Bryan Smith (Moroney's Harley-Davidson) is another top-10 rider with some success at Hagerstown. He finished second in 2007.
Chris Carr #4 leads the pack into turn one during heat race one action at the Hagertown Half-Mile, round 10 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Yve Assad/The Fast and Dirty.com.
The big oval has produced a few first time winners in Rusty Rogers (1992), Kevin Varnes (1995) and Nicky Hayden (1999), all of which won their first GNC main events in Maryland. Could this be the year for Brad Baker (Columbia Avionics), Briar Bauman (Rod Lake Racing / USC Kawasaki) or Jeffery Carver (Kiesow Racing / Hall's Cycles), who are all having solid years while looking for that elusive first win?
The always competitive AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles division will also be in action as points leader Gerit Callies (Fun Mart Cycles) tries to fend off the fast closing Ryan Wells (Weirbach Racing). Callies' two wins make him the only repeat winner in AMA Pro Flat Track, but inconsistency has plagued the South Dakotan.
Sitting third in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles points is Jason Isennock (Highs Dairy Store). Isennock is from nearby Timonium, MD and is undoubtedly looking forward to racing so close to home.
The 2011 Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles winner at Hagerstown, Mikey Martin, has moved on to the Grand National Expert ranks, leaving fellow podium finishers Callies (2nd) and third-place Adam Bushman (Midwest CNC) to repeat their efforts in 2012.
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AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014, firstname.lastname@example.org