The third of four AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Singles Series rounds kicks off this Saturday afternoon at the Mt. St. Helens Motorcycle Club-hosted Castle Rock Park, WA. in round 9 of the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship, where the series returns to the Pacific Northwest and to the home track of AMA Pro Flat Track stars Sammy Halbert and 2013 AMA Grand National Champion Brad Baker for the Castle Rock TT.
With the series in the meat of it's summer stretch run, the stars of The Rolling Thunder Show will race three events in a seven day period, with Castle Rock kicking off the busy week of racing, the Black Hills Half-Mile as part of the busy week of Sturgis Bike Week in Rapid City, SD on Tuesday, August 5 and the Indy Mile on Friday, August 8.
In the shot above, Briar Bauman on the #14 Rod Lake Racing/Specialty Fabrication Inc/Burkes Motorsports-sponsored Honda CRF450R leads Stevie Bonsey on the #80 Zanotti Racing/RGR/Arai-backed Honda and Rob Pearson on the #27 Weirbach Racing/KDM Forest Products/Michael King-sponsored Honda in their battle for the 5th-place spot in the 25-lap National main event at the Peoria TT in round 7 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship on August 11. The trio finished in this order after their great on-track battle.
The series eclipsed the half way mark at the Sacramento Mile last Saturday, and Bryan Smith took over the points standings after winning his fourth Sacto Mile race in-a-row and his third win of the season, over Jared Mees (150-148) with Sacto 2nd-place finisher Jake Johnson another six points back in the 3rd-place spot (142 points.)
After the consolidation of the AMA Grand National Championship from the 2010 season on, AMA Pro Flat Track no longer distinguishes between the Singles and Twins Series events in in terms of separate championships effective this season, although the four events in the Singles part of the schedule (the Peoria TT is set for August 17) play a very large part in the overall championship scope. Saturday night's race at Castle Rock has in the past been dominated by riders from the Northwest area, but last year saw 2010 AMA Pro Singles Champion and 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Rookie of the Year Jeffrey Carver, Jr. take the win aboard a Mack Daddy Racing Honda. The Southern Illinois resident also won his first-ever National main in last year's event, so the race can see it's share of surprises as well.
The next several events should play a big part in the championship battle, and Saturday night's race in Castle Rock could very well play a part in who ends up where in terms of the championship struggle, so you will want to be sure to keep an eye on what is happening in the State of Washington in just less than 48 hours as the greatest racing show on two wheels in the world hits the ground running.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 30, 2014) - AMA Pro Flat Track began its West Coast stint earlier this month when the series rolled into Elma, Wash., for Round 7. Last weekend, the Sacramento Mile marked the first of three scheduled California races. This weekend, the series reverts back to the Pacific Northwest as it makes its way up to Castle Rock, Wash., for the Castle Rock TT at Castle Rock Race Park. The event is scheduled to go off Aug. 2 with opening ceremonies slated to begin at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET).
As the season closes in on its midpoint, the AMA Pro Expert points race is airtight, with eight points separating the top three contestants. Bryan Smith's fourth consecutive Sacramento Mile victory last weekend put him atop the standings for the first time this season. The Flint, Mich., native stands alone in first place with 150 points. Jared Mees remains two points back with 148 and Jake Johnson has 142 points to his credit heading into Round 9 of 16.
Smith has proven time and time again this year that he has what it takes to perform at a high level aboard his two-cylinder Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki EX650, but the question remains whether or not he can get it done on a 450cc machine. Smith will ride his Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki KX450 at Castle Rock. Smith's only test in AMA Pro Expert Singles competition so far this year came at the season opening doubleheader at Daytona back in March. The result? A missed main event and an eighth-place finish. This time around, though, Smith enters Castle Rock with the utmost confidence having won three of the last six main events.
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. #2, Brad Baker #12 and Stevie Bonsey #80 battle for track position during heat race 2 at the Castle Rock TT in round 6 of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship in August 2013. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
Mees is entered to compete aboard his Montgomeryville Cycle Honda CRF450R this weekend at Castle Rock, the very same motorcycle that he finished second on at the northwest venue a year ago. The Clio, Mich., native is having a stellar season, as he's finished no worse than fourth in every race since Daytona.
Entered to ride a Ramspur Winery Honda CRF450R, Jake Johnson has now competed on a total of four different branded motorcycles in 2014, and he's experienced success on every one. Johnson, only eight points shy of the overall lead, has been consistent all year long, as he is yet to finish outside of the top ten in every main event.
If it weren't for his lackluster Hagerstown Half-Mile effort a few weeks ago, three-time Grand National Champion Kenny Coolbeth would be a lot closer in the standings than 21 points off the leader heading into Castle Rock. Coolbeth and Zanotti Racing have made huge strides together in 2014, and this next event could easily go in their favor. The last time Coolbeth threw a leg over a Zanotti Racing 450cc machine, he won.
After having his homecoming ruined a couple weeks ago in Elma, Wash., Sammy Halbert returns to his home state with some sort of chip on his shoulder. Halbert, a native to Graham, Wash., is entered to compete aboard his Fredericktown Yamaha YZ 450.
Brandon Robinson is slowly but surely creeping his way back into championship discussions. The Oxford, Pa., product sits sixth in the standings and has finished in the top four in three of the last four main events. Robinson also recorded third and fifth place finishes at Daytona to begin the season, so he's battletested on the shorter circuits and is clearly a threat to make some noise at Castle Rock's .6-mile track this weekend aboard his USC Kawasaki KX450.
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