Jared Mees pulled out what very few people had doubted would happen last night in taking the #9 Rogers Racing/Blue-Springs H-D/Saddlemen/National Cycle-sponsored XR750 to an 8th-place finish at the season-finale in Pomona to claim the 2012 AMA Grand National Championship. After claiming the ceremonial Singles Championship just over four weeks ago at the Springfield Short Track, Mees added to his legend by taking the overall championship over title rivals Sammy Halbert (13th-place finish at Pomona) and Jake Johnson (14th).
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. won the battle after running away with round 16 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season on the #2 Screamin' Eagle/Harley-Davidson Insurance Co/Fox/Arai Helmets-backed factory XR750, leading 2nd-place finisher Brad Baker #12 home by just over 8.5 seconds at the Pomona Fairplex.
Bryan Smith, riding the #42 Crosley Radio/Howerton Motorsports powered by Eaken Racing/Guts Wear/Dreyer Motorsports-sponsored Kawasaki 650R-based mount for the team's first-ever half-mile event in their maiden season together, took the Howerton rocket to a 3rd-place finish in what could be the second-best finish ever for a Kawasaki on a half-mile oval in the series. Smith also left with the ceremonial #1 plate by capturing the 2012 AMA Grand National Twins Series Championship over Halbert, Johnson and Mees, who all finished within 10 points of one another in the big bike class points.
Johnson, riding the #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing Suspension/Arai-backed XR, was able to qualify for the main via his semi win but for only the second time this season in the Twins Series failed to finish inside the top-10 after a 14th-place finish. It was also the first season in memory that Johnson hasn't won a race, giving up his 2-Time and defending #1 plate to one of his best friends in The Rolling Thunder Show and the man he has battled with frequently over the course of the last few seasons.
In the end, the final tally for the 2012 AMA Grand National Championship saw Mees finish with 291 points, Halbert in the runner-up spot with 278 points and a series' leading four wins for the season, with Johnson rounding out the top-3 overall with 265 points. Bryan Smith finished fourth in the overall, with Brad Baker rounding out the top-5. Henry Wiles ended the season with another top-10, finishing in the 7th-place spot at Pomona and 6th in the championship, with Coolbeth still getting 7th in the championship battle after missing the mid-point of the season due to his leg injury at Lima in late June.
In the shot above, Johnson, Mees, Coolbeth and Smith get ready to line-up on the front row of the Springfield Mile II on September 16.
Check out the press release below thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track, and a big congrats goes out to Jared Mees, the 2012 AMA Grand National Champion, and Bryan Smith, the 2012 AMA Grand National Twins Champion. Great year and a great battle to the end, congrats to all!
You can check out the full results here thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track:
And here's the story of the race as penned by Cycle News' editor, Paul Carruthers:
Jared Mees took the #9 Rogers Racing XR750 to an 8th-place finish last night at Pomona to secure the 2012 AMA Grand National Championship over title rivals Sammy Halbert and Jake Johnson. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014, email@example.com