In just a few short minutes, the riders in The Rolling Thunder Show will be hitting the track for the first round of practice at the Santa Rosa Mile in round 12 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season, in what will be the penultimate round of the season with just the Pomona Half-Mile Flat Track Finals season finale to run on Saturday, October 12.
The season has seen it's share of ups-and-downs for the series, including two overall championship points leaders (Brandon Robinson and Brad Baker), two event cancellations (Lima due to a rain out, and the Grays Harbor Half-Mile due to what appeared to be a promoter prematurely pulling out due to lack of interest just days before the event's running) and a rain postponement (the Springfield Mile I over Memorial Day weekend relegated to the doubleheader round hosting over the Labor Day weekend.)
But in spite of those issues and a lack of a title sponsor for the Grand National series and no television coverage this year, the series' has seen a stellar year of racing overall throughout. Several highlights have included Brandon Robinson winning his first-ever AMA Grand National race at the Daytona Short Track II, and then coming back strong as ever and totally dominating to win the doubleheader round at the Springfield Mile just four short weeks ago.
Brad Baker also won his first-ever championship event earlier this summer at Hagerstown, where he also wrestled the overall points standings lead away from BRob44, which he has held since, but now heading into today's last mile event of the season having been whittled down to just 10-points.
Defending series champion Jared Mees, who suffered a broken arm in a regional race early in June, forcing him to miss the Hagerstown round, has fought his way back into contention and pulled off the win in mid-August at the new event at Colonial Downs. The new event also saw a standing room only crowd on-hand in Kent, VA. with the promoters of the event very happy with the crowd and racing and hoping to return for the 2014 season as well.
In late July, 2-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson decided he wasn't having as 'much fun' as he had been and abruptly left the Zanotti Racing team, who promptly picked up stand out west coast rider Steve Bonsey to fill their XR750 seat. Johnson then announced he would be riding for the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati team alongside rider Henry Wiles.
And just less then a week after the Springfield Mile doubleheader, Wiles was released from the LBM team while setting in the 4th-place spot in the championship standings. Wiles has announced he will be aboard a Harley-Davidson XR750 at the final two rounds of the season, but has not confirmed as of yet on what team or bike that will be on. We'll all find out in just a few short minutes on that one.
Things however are improving on the circuit in terms of AMA Pro Flat Track working towards signing a title sponsor for the 2014 season. AMA Pro Flat Track manager Dan Johnsen confirmed to us at both the Indy Mile and Springfield Mile doubleheader rounds that they are in talks with two or three companies that are very interested in coming on board for next year and that things are coming along well in terms of signing one of them to helm the overall sponsorship of the Grand National Expert side of the series. And the folks on Fentress Blvd. in Daytona have also been working with a television crew and have been doing some filming that is reportedly to be shown on either CBS Sports Net or NBC Sports Net sometime in the late fall.
So in spite of all the complaining and moaning coming from the couches of some people that still can't face the reality that economic times and changes have affected everyone, but especially flat track, the series still offers the best racing on two wheels in the world, and all the bi..hing and complaining is doing no one any good nor getting any results. Do you have a complaint? Then air it out in a positive way that would help to bring something to the table to help the series and the teams, riders and sponsors. If you don't have something constructive or positive to help build or promote the racing, your airing it out on some forum or on FB isn't doing any good, is not helping the racing or the series, and bottom line is making you look a fool. And it is also keeping and driving out potential sponsors and dollars for the sport that these companies are looking at who don't want to throw their money at a series that has a bunch of whiny cry baby fans who talk from their keyboards and their couches, most of whom most likely haven't been to one of the great events in years, or longer, in The Rolling Thunder Show, to take in the great program that is still being put on by AMA Pro Flat Track and all of their great race promoters.
But today is about the racing, and if you aren't in Santa Rosa you can still catch in online as Will Fulford of The Fast and Dirty.com along with Circle Bell Motorsports, the west coast equivalent of the IMDA, will be offering live streaming pay-per-view for those of you who DO want to watch the races and not complain and moan about it. You can sign up to watch it via this link, and will be WELL worth your hard-earned $4.99, believe me, as Will does some of the best work in the business and has gone above and beyond in bringing great coverage of the races in the past few seasons and with this year's earlier PPV event from the Sacto Mile. If you're a fan, DON'T miss it!
So get ready to strap in and hang on as the boys and girls of The Rolling Thunder Show get ready to hit the track at 1:15 PM EDT/10:15 AM PDT for the first practice of the day at the Santa Rosa Mile.
In the shot above from the Springfield Mile II on September 1, six of the riders in the shot are the top-6 in the championship standings and will be battling it out today to see who comes home the champion of the Santa Rosa Mile and eventually of the season on October 12 in Pomona.
(L-R) Brandon Robinson on the #44 TJ Burnett Farms Kawasaki, Henry Wiles on the #17 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports XR750, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr, on the #2 Harley-Davidson Motor Company XR, Bryan Smith on the #42 Howerton Motorsports Kawi, Jared Mees on the #1 Rogers Racing XR, and Mikey Martin on the #91 Bonneville Performance Triumph fill out the front row.
Brad Baker on the #12 Dodge Brothers Racing XR has them in his sight coming off of the second row.
Baker leads the championship standings with 184 points going into Santa Rosa today, with Smith 10 markers back with 174, Robinson just another 3 points back in 3rd-place, Wiles just 12-points back in 4th-place with 159 points, Mees just one point back in 5th with 158 points, and Coolbeth sitting in the 6th-place spot with 131 points.
It's going to be a great battle to the finish!
Shayna Texter will be looking to win her 5th mile event of the season today in the AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles series after winning the Sacto and Indy Miles earlier in the season and also taking the doubleheader wins in the newly announced Basic Twins Series at Springfield over the Labor Day weekend.
Although her wins at Springfield four weeks ago aboard the #25A Racing Unlimited Kawasaki didn't count for points on the season, her dominance on the mile tracks has more then shown this young lady belongs on an Expert Twins Series machine riding with the big boys, as she smoked the competition in both events by wide margins.
Keep an eye out for Shayna today as her record on mile tracks this season is virtually unblemished (she narrowly lost the Colonial Downs Mile in mid-August to take 2nd-place in the Pro Singles race in Virginia) and her prowess with either of the machines she has ridden this year has been spectacular, to say the least.
In the shot above, Shayna acknowledges the crowd at Springfield after taking her first of two wins over the Labor Day weekend in the Basic Twins Series on August 31 over Cody Johncox and Jason Isennock on the #25A Racing Unlimited Kawasaki.
Shayna will be back aboard her usual mount, the #25A Crosley Radio/Howerton Motorsports Honda today in Santa Rosa while she looks to hunt the boys down again.
Enjoy the races today and remember, keep supporting the best racing on two wheels in the world because if you don't, it may not be there TO support someday!
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 www.amaproracing.com.
For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014, firstname.lastname@example.org