Sunday, October 14, 2012

AMA Flat Track: Coolbeth Wins Pomona Half-Mile Season-Finale, Bryan Smith Grabs Twins Series Championship, Mees Takes '12 AMA Grand National Championship

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 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 Captures 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Title; Kenny Coolbeth Jr. Wins at Pomona
Vandekuur Takes Home Pro Singles No. 1 Plate

POMONA, Calif. (October 13, 2012) - This just in; the state of California knows how to put on a solid race. For the third and final time this season, AMA Pro Flat Track was back in the golden state in front of an ecstatic crowd. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Screaming Eagle Harley-Davidson) got the win in what proved to be a phenomenal grand finale to conclude the 2012 season. When the lights turned on Saturday night at the LA County Fairplex, engines roared throughout the confines of the stadium and the euphoric fans hung on every lap.
Though Coolbeth Jr. put on a show to claim his second victory of the year, the real story of the night was Jared Mees (Rogers Racing/ Harley-Davidson) as he took home the coveted AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by and Lucas Oil No. 1 plate.

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.

"The feeling hasn't really sunk in yet," said Mees. "So much hard work and dedication has gone in to this season and it all paid off. I kind of knew where I was at the whole way and was able to bring it home. I really have to thank my team and sponsors for all of their support this year; this was a great team effort."

Though Mees finished eighth, his effort was more than enough as his only competitors for the title, Sammy Halbert (Southeast Harley/ Harley-Davidson) and defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing/ Harley-Davidson) looked sluggish the whole way.

Coolbeth Jr. was in a different area code Saturday night as he took the uncontested checkered flag by more than eight seconds. The Connecticut product saved the best race for last as this was clearly his sharpest performance of the year.

The race behind Coolbeth Jr. was where the real action was held. Bryan Smith (Brosley Radio/ Kawasaki) bounced back from a 14th starting position and was neck-and-neck with Brad Baker (Dodge Bros Racing/ Harley-Davidson). Baker was able to hold off Smith for a strong second-place finish with Smith closing out the podium.

"It takes a team to make this happen," said Coolbeth Jr. "I'm not going to take all of the credit. Next season we just have to train hard and stay healthy and we'll be alright. We're going to keep our heads held high and give these boys a run for the championship next year."
AMA Pro Pro Singles

Stephen Vanderkuur (Parkinson Brothers Racing/ Honda) has been a beast all year long and Saturday night's showdown was no exception. The young gun won the final race of the season in convincing fashion and clinched the AMA Pro Pro Singles National Championship.

"This feels unbelievable," said Vanderkuur. "I want to give a huge thank you to my team and a big shout-out to everyone who helped me achieve this goal. There are really so many people to thank for my success."

Vanderkuur, starting from pole position, found himself trailing rival Jason Isennock (High Dairy Stores/ Honda) early on, but a crash on lap four caused a staggered restart. The second chance was all Vanderkuur needed as he caught Isennock on the back stretch and stole the lead. However, one man's fortune is another man's tough luck, as the staggered start proved to be the last thing Isennock needed as it caused him to fall back to fourth and eventually land outside the top-five finishers.

Dominic Collindres (Weirbach Racing/ Honda) ran a good race, finishing in second on the night and fourth on the season in the Pro Singles standings. Wyatt Maquire (Kirkland Racing/ Yamaha) closed out the podium with a solid third-place finish.

Vanderkuur has been atop the standings for the majority of the season and it became evident early on that the upcoming star was on his way to a breakout year.

AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at

For additional information contact:

AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,

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