Round 13 of the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship at the Virginia Mega Mile at Colonial Downs saw Bryan Smith on the #42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio/Howerton Products Kawasaki take his fourth win of the season and 16th of his career in a day full of drama, lightning fast racing and a field full of diverse talent and machinery.
All three men in the title fight, Smith, Jared Mees and Jake Johnson all suffered from some sort of malady, whether mechanical or otherwise, were forced to start on the back row of the 19-rider National main, and when it was all over, all had overcome the near impossible odds of bringing their machines home in the top-5. Smith, fairing the best of the three and taking back the series points lead in the process (224 points)after being forced to the rear after a bad start, Mees taking the 5th-place spot (118 points) after suffering transmission-related issues on his Rogers Racing primary machine, and Johnson bringing it home in the 3rd-place spot (206 points) after breaking both of his primary machines in his heat and semi and being forced into taking a provisional start on the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Kawasaki.
The runner-up spot in the shortened (due to possible rain in the area) 15-lap National main was second year Expert Jake Shoemaker on his Montgomeryville Cycle Center Kawasaki, making it another clean sweep for Kawasaki on the podium. Defending AMA Grand National Champion Brad Baker had his #1 Harley-Davidson Motor Company XR750 break just before the checkers flew and with luck on his side was able to get his mount across the line to finish in the 4th-place spot.
Three KTMs made the field on the day, with only five of the long-running Harley-Davidson XR750s doing so. Of note, Jeremy Higgins on one of Shawn Baer's Baer Racing Products KTM LC8 950s brought it home in the 7th-place spot after winning his first-ever heat race in AMA Grand National competition for the best finish of his career, while team mate on the day Baer finished in the 10th-place spot and Waters Autobody KTM rider Johnny Lewis also winning his heat, but finishing in the 16th-place after breaking just past the 12th-lap of the final.
In the shot above, Smith puts the #42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio/Howerton Products Kawasaki through the first turn at the Indy Mile during the final round of qualifying during round 11 of the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship on August 8, to take the fast time on the day at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Other great happenings on the day included both Cory Texter on the #65 Racing Unlimited Kawasaki and his sister Shayna Texter on the #25A Latus Motors Triumph being the first brother and sister combination to make an AMA Grand National Championship main event together, and Shayna Texter's team mate and team manager, 2000 AMA Grand National Champion Joe Kopp making the main on the #3 Latus Motors Triumph as well as the Dash for Cash and leading two laps to finish in the 12th-place spot.
You can check out the full results here thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track, and the links to all of the racing videos are posted below so you can take in all of the dusty and fast action at the New Kent, VA. facility from last Saturday.
And ace reporter Larry Lawrence filed this action-filled report for Cycle News that will keep you on the edge of your seat while you follow the action.
The series heads to the mecca of speed at the Illinois State Fairgrounds this Sunday, August 31 for round 14 of the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship at the Springfield Mile II, where the action will be as hot as ever as the season starts to wind down and the battle for the 2014 AMA Grand National Championship is really starting to sizzle!
|Virginia Mega Mile Opening Ceremonies|
We kick off the 2014 Virginia Mega Mile at Colonial Downs with opening ceremonies. Announcers Scottie Deubler and Barry Boone interview riders, series and event sponsors
|Virginia Mega Mile Heat Races|
Due to impending weather, the Virginia Mega Mile began with the Grand National Championship class heat races instead of the Pro Singles. Fans were greeted with instant action and bar-to-bar competition among the best dirt track riders in the USA.
|Virginia Mega Mile Dash for Cash and Semi-Final Races|
The top two finishers out of each Grand National Championship (GNC) heat race battle it out in the Dash for Cash - a four lap sprint race where the winner scores $1,000. Following that, the starting lineup for the GNC main event gets filled by semi-final races. The top-three finishers from each semi-final race advance into the main event.
|Virginia Mega Mile Pro Main Event|
AMA Pro Flat Track's stars of tomorrow contested the final race of the 2014 Virginia Mega Mile at Colonial Downs. After a three-month hiatus due to a hard crash at Springfield Mile I, J.R. Addison looked to get back on the podium while Kyle Johnson, healing from his Peoria TT crash, wanted to keep up his front-running race performances. See who comes out the victor!
|Virginia Mega Mile Grand National Championship Main Event|
Check out the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Expert Main event from Colonial Downs, the highlight of the 2014 Virginia Mega Mile. After missing out on the inaugural win due to a mechanical failure in 2013, Bryan Smith looks to make a comeback victory.
|NEXT ROUND: Springfield Mile II|
AMA Pro Flat Track heads to the Illinois State Fairgrounds for Springfield Mile II. Expected to capitalize after his win in Virginia, current points leader Bryan Smith looks to pull off back-to-back 2014 Springfield Mile victories. This won't be easy, as he faced heavy competition back in May.
Bryan Smith battles from the back to win the AMA Pro Flat Track Virginia Mega Mile
|NEW KENT, Va. (Aug. 23, 2014) - Bryan Smith rode with a head full of steam and a face full of dirt through the entire field to win the Virginia Mega Mile, Round 13 of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season, in front of a raucous packed house at Colonial Downs on Saturday.|
Smith was forced to start from the back row on his No. 42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki after anticipating the start of the 15-lap Expert main, but skillfully carved through the field and took the lead on lap 4 before checking out and eventually winning by 2.559 seconds over second place Jake Shoemaker. Jake Johnson, who also started from the back row, was third.
"I needed to get to the lead in a hurry, so I was on the gas for sure," Smith said. "The first couple laps were a blackout, I used all my tearoffs. I finally got into third and my bike was kind of getting hot, but I just put my head down and tried to stay out of the roost. And once I got in the lead, I could kind of ride my line, and, obviously, check out. That was not the way I wanted to do that. I think I had more dirt inside of my helmet than on the outside."
Bryan Smith on the #42 Villa-Esparza Kawasaki came from the penalty line after a reported jump-start to win his fourth race of the season at the Virginia Mega Mile on Saturday, August 23. It was Smith's 16th AMA Grand National career victory. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
Smith, who came into the day second, leaves Virginia with a six-point lead over Jared Mees (224-218). Johnson is third with 206. Smith also won the Dash for Cash.
Shoemaker was simply methodical on his No. 55 Montgomeryville Cycle Center Kawasaki, riding calm and staying free of trouble, mechanical or otherwise. He started 10th, on the second row, but was in the lead group until Smith joined it, then left it in his rooster tail. "It feels great," Shoemaker said. "My best finish this year was a third at Hagerstown, and to come here with a second and beat that on a track that I honestly wasn't that comfortable with, just knowing I'm on a 700cc bike, I'm down on horsepower, to put it up in second, on the box with all these guys, with what I feel is lesser equipment, it really means a lot. It's just awesome."
Johnson was riding his third No. 5 Ramspur Winery machine of the day in the main event. After his first two bikes, both Ducatis, fell victim to the demands of the only 1.25-mile circuit on the AMA Pro Flat Track schedule, Johnson pulled out a Kawasaki and used a provisional start to race in the main.
While he didn't move through the pack as quickly as Smith, he still knifed through with precision before battling Brad Baker on the No. 1 Factory Harley-Davidson, for third. Baker's bike finally had enough on the final straight, allowing Johnson to slide into third and forcing Baker to settle for fourth. "Coming from the fourth row, Bryan won the thing, so I can't complain too bad about being back there," Johnson said. "It was one hell of a race. The first five laps, I couldn't see a thing. ... Finally, things fanned out a little bit and I was able to start picking them off and work my way up through. A lot of 'coulda, shoulda, wouldas.' For how the day went, to come out with a podium, I'm pretty happy."
Baker, who actually helped his bike across the finish line with a few kicks, was solidly in fourth while points leader Jared Mees finished fifth on his No. 9 Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson. Mees, using a backup bike, also started in the back, meaning the top three in the championship battle lined up alongside one another at the rear of the field to start the race.
Brandon Robinson (No. 44 USC Kawasaki) was sixth while Jeremy Higgins rode his No. 82 Baer Racing KTM to seventh after claiming his first-career heat race victory earlier in the day. Kenny Coolbeth (No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson), Henry Wiles (No. 17 Don's Kawasaki) and Shawn Baer (No. 32 Baer Racing KTM) rounded out the top 10, respectively.
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles
J.R. Addison made the most of this return to the track. After missing three months due to a back injury suffered at Springfield, Addison, on his No. 24F Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda came back at Virginia and used a last-lap pass to get by Kyle Johnson and claim his first victory of the season. "This is my kind of track, so I was pretty excited for it," Addison said. "I just wanted to come and have some fun. I was just hoping to do like a top 10, top 5 maybe. Pulling out the win, it's so great."
Johnson, on the No. 77J Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda, wasn't on the top spot, but was happy to bounce back with a podium finish after crashing out of the Peoria TT. He was also nursing a bad right hand. "It was definitely tough, we knew the track was going to rough, so we just had to fight through it," Johnson said. "It felt good to get a good start, get out front and run my own line. Coming down to the end, J.R. was able to get us. I tried to draft him back to the start, but it was just a little bit too late. But it feels good to get second, definitely battling a bum hand."
Jeffery Lowery rounded out the podium, recording the best finish of his career on his No. 23F Englehart Racing Honda. "It feels great, I love his track," Lowery said. "Everything was just great today."
AMA Pro Flat Track Expert Main Top 10 Finishers
1. Bryan Smith (Kawasaki)
2. Jake Shoemaker (Kawasaki)
3. Jake Johnson (Kawasaki)
4. Brad Baker (Harley-Davidson)
5. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
6. Brandon Robinson (Kawasaki)
7. Jeremy Higgins (KTM)
8. Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson)
9. Henry Wiles (Kawasaki)
10. Shawn Baer (KTM)
AMA Pro Flat Track Expert Top 10 In Points
1. Bryan Smith 224
2. Jared Mees 218
3. Jake Johnson 206
4. Kenny Coolbeth 171
5. Henry Wiles 154
6. Brad Baker 149
7. Sammy Halbert 139
8. Brandon Robinson 131
9. Stevie Bonsey 124
10. Briar Bauman 97
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Main Top 10 Finishers
1. J.R. Addison (Honda)
2. Kyle Johnson (Honda)
3. Jeffery Lowery (Honda)
4. Jarod Vanderkooi (Honda)
5. Bronson Bauman (Honda)
6. Ryan Wells (KTM)
7. Justin Jones (Honda)
8. Kolby Carlile (KTM)
9. Brandon Wilhelm (Honda)
10. Andrew Butler (Honda)
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Top 10 In PointsUp next:
1. Kyle Johnson 170
2. Ryan Wells 150
3. Davis Fisher 142
4. Bronson Bauman 133
5. Jarod Vanderkooi 115
6. Dan Bromley 112
7. Brandon Wilhelm 109
8. Dylan Morin 70
9. Dominic Colindres 69
10. Justin Jones 68
The stars of AMA Pro Flat Track will race at the legendary Springfield Mile in Springfield, Ill., on Aug. 31. Bryan Smith took the checkered flag the first time this season and will go for the sweep on Sunday. On-track action begins at 10:15 a.m. CT (11:15 a.m. ET, 8:15 a.m. PT) with the Pro Twins main scheduled for 3:40 p.m. CT (4:40 p.m. ET, 1:40 p.m. PT) and the Expert main is set for 4:10 p.m. CT (5:10 p.m. ET, 2:10 p.m. PT).
How to Watch:
FansChoice.tv will be the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Flat Track and AMA Pro Road Racing events in 2014. The site will also provide coverage of IMSA's development and single-make series, and NASCAR's touring and weekly series.
About AMA Pro Flat Track:
AMA Pro Flat Track is a national motorcycle racing series in North America and is considered one of the oldest forms of motorcycle racing. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, the Series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track racing in the world. The 2014 schedule consists of 16 rounds on the country's finest flat track courses. For more information on AMA Pro Flat Track, please visit www.amaproracing.com/ft.
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