The 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season gets ready to kick back into action today at round 8 of the series' schedule at the Castle Rock TT in Washington State. The stars of The Rolling Thunder Show will park their Twins Series machines after last weekend's ultra-exciting Sacramento Mile to hop on their Singles Series 450s and take to the long-running event put on by the Mount St. Helens Motorcycle Club.
With the series hitting the mid-point of the 2012 calendar, the time is now for everyone to start showing their cards in their respective quests for the 2012 AMA Grand National Championship title. With Jared Mees holding a slim 11-point lead in the title chase to defending and 2-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson (141-130), tonight's round should make for a great preview of what is to come as the series hits it's stride going into the final 9 races of the year.
And today's round in Castle Rock will also have the addition of AMA Pro Flat Track's Live Video & Streaming services for fan's to be better able to follow the action at the track along with Live Timing and Scoring and Miriam Deitcher's Flat Track Live @ Facebook. And it was also announced that 2000 AMA Grand National Champion Joe Kopp #3 will be returning to the track again today in his home state of Washington to give the young guns a run for their money.
The shot above from round 14 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season at the Peoria TT should give fans a good preview of some of, if not THE top contenders for today's event at Castle Rock.
On the inside pole, eventual event winner Henry Wiles on the #17 Monster Energy Kawasaki/Jones Bros/Don's Kawasaki/Arai-sponsored KX450F gets ready to lead the front row into the 25-lap National main, and will surely be an odds-on favorite today. The 2-Time Singles Series Champion is hoping to win his 22nd AMA Grand National event today and his 17th in the Singles Series division.
Alongside Hammerin' Hank is '09 & '11 AMA Grand National Twins Champion Jared Mees on the #9 Lucas Oil/National Cycle/Rogers Lake/Montgomeryville Cycle-backed Honda CRF450R. Jammin' Jared will be looking for his first Singles Series win of the 2012 season after garnering his first Twins event win of the year earlier in the season at the Hagerstown Half-Mile.
Jake Johnson on the #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Motion Pro-sponsored Honda will be looking to shore up his deficit to Mees in the 2012 championship hunt and for his first win of the season as well. Johnson hasn't missed a podium since Daytona and has been his usual, casual but focused-self this season and there isn't any reason to believe that his late-season surges of the past few years won't continue as the meat of the schedule starts to unfold today.
Morton, IL. resident Rob Pearson on the #27 Matt Reecy Racing/RPM/WKR/Moose-backed Yamaha YZ450F has had some strong finishes in the 2012 season by amassing a handful of top-10 finishes in the last three events (Lima 7th, Hagerstown 10th, Sacramento 8th). Bugs will be looking to score his first points of the year in the Singles Series event today at Castle Rock.
Slammin' Sammy Halbert will unload his #7 Yamahas today as the odds-on favorite to win in his home state and his second-event-in-a-row at the Castle Rock TT. The Woody Kyle Racing/Fredericktown Yamaha/AGV/Kings Kustoms-sponsored rider (partially obscured above) is as tough as nails at every event he contests and today should be even more motivation for the '11 AMA Grand National Singles Series Champion to add to his early-season win at the Lima Half-Mile. If you're a betting person, put your money down on the Lucky 7 today.
Last week's winner from the Sacramento Mile, Bryan Smith, is shown rolling up to the line on his #42 FastHog.com/American H-D/Rockysonline.com/Boughner Racing-backed Honda. Flyin' Bryan is the first to admit that Castle Rock is one of his least-favorite venues, but should have the adrenaline and steam from his great outing last week to see him through to a respectable finish today on the infamous TT course.
More then likely, your winner today will come out of this group of racers. But as with any of the stops on The Rolling Thunder Show there is a handful of other riders expected to race today that also will have a great chance to score a win. Among them are Daytona Short Track II winner Matt Weidman, who will be returning to the track after his Lima get-off, '11 Rookie of the Year and another Washington State resident Brad Baker, JD Beach and the returning Joe Kopp, just to name a few.
We've added the full press release from AMA Pro Flat Track below and some helpful links to get you through the day as the greatest racing series on wheels in the world hits the jump at the Castle Rock TT in round 8 of the 2012 season. First practice rolls off today at 6:30 PM EDT/3:30 PM PDT and you don't want to miss a minute of it!
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Here are some helpful links to help keep up with the action tonight at round 8 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season at the Castle Rock TT, the mid-point in the series' 2012 racing season.
AMA Pro Flat Track Live Timing and Scoring (and newly added Live Video for today's action in Washington State):
The most excellent and always great coverage of the action at the track from Miriam Deitcher's Flat Track Live @ Facebook:
AMA Pro Flat Track official event info, entry lists and schedule for Castle Rock:
Link to AMA Pro Flat Track's complete event results (PDF versions):
Weather for Castle Rock courtesy of The Weather Underground:
Map of the Castle Rock, WA. area courtesy of Google Maps: