Henry Wiles made another mark in the history books yesterday by taking his 11th-straight win at the Peoria TT in round 10 of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines Series. Although things didn't go completely his way throughout the day (Wiles qualifying effort of just over .2 second behind fast qualifier Jared Mees was pretty much his only missive), The Hammer did what he had to do the rest of the day to round out another golden day in Thunder Valley by winning the Dash and taking the win in the National main by just over 1.3 seconds over defending champ Mees.
Above, Wiles on the #17 Zanotti Racing/Motion Pro/Bell Helmets-sponsored Honda CRF450R got the jump on the field on the first lap and led all going into turn 1. From that point on, Mees never got closer then .054 seconds (lap 16 of the 25-lap main) and Wiles was able to stretch his lead through traffic to 1.342 seconds at the end of the day.
Also hot on Wiles' heels is Briar Bauman #14 (see more below), Mees #1 and Sammy Halbert #69 on his Fredericktown Yamaha/Van's Yamaha/Kibblewhite-sponsored YZ450F. Halbert (repping his late brother Jethro's National #69 instead of his usual #7) ended the day in 9th-place, still keeping a stranglehold on the 3rd-place spot in the championship and keeping his string of top-10s on the season intact. Also behind these riders is Jake Johnson #5 (also more below) and partially in the shot Mick Kirkness on the #87 Goeken Racing/Chisum Racing/Ipone Oil-sponsored Yamaha. Kirkness finished the day in 7th-place, the last rider to be lapped by the lead finishing duo of Wiles and Mees.
2010-2011 AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson returned to action for the first time since the Daytona doubleheader season-opening rounds, compliments of a ride on one of Mees' spare Montgomeryville Cycle Center Honda's. Johnson qualified 8th out of the 25 GNC1/Experts on hand, but made a rare mistake during his heat and dropped the bike and was forced to ride the semi in order to make the main.
Johnson got a slow start in the semi on the #5 Montgomerville Cycle Center/JM9/Ramspur Winery-backed Honda, but within a couple of laps had taken off to go on to take the win to punch his card to the National. Starting on the back row, Johnson got an incredible start and was in the top-7 by the time the field hit turn 1 in Thunder Valley (see shot above.) He went on to finish in the 6th-place spot, the last rider on the lead lap and will surely end up being the MotoBatt Hard Charger for the event.
JD Beach, fresh off clinching the MotoAmerica SuperSport title in Indianapolis the weekend before, came ready to race with his #95 Yamaha USA/Victory Circle Graphics/Team 95-backed Yamaha YZ450F and was on fire throughout the day running in the top-5. The part time dirt tracker brought it home in 4th-place. Above he battles with local boy Rob Pearson on the #27 R&R Racing/Country Saloon/Clipper Industries-backed Yamaha, defending champ Jared Mees on the #1 Montgomeryville Cycle Center/Rogers Racing/SDI-sponsored Honda and Jake Cunningham on the #94K Best Exteriors/Arai Helmets/Motion Pro-sponsored Yamaha during their heat race.
Briar Bauman extended his strong season run of top-5 finishes with another 5th-place on the #14 Rod Lake Racing/Drew-Massa Transportation/Arai-backed Honda. Bauman qualified 4th on the day and also brought home a 3rd-place finish in the Dash thanks to his solid 2nd-place run in his heat, and continues his move towards the top-5 in points. His 5th-place at Peoria was his fourth top-5 of the year, and his third top-5 in the last six races (Lima & Black Hills 3rd-place.)
The surprise and breakout performance of the day went to rookie Dominic Collindres on the #66Y Babe Demay/Memphis Shades/Yamaha-sponsored YZ450F. The former winner in the Pro Singles class in 2012 while riding for the Weirbach Racing team, Collindres, in only his third GNC1 event, won his heat over defending champ Mees (above battling it out again in the Dash) and then nailing down 4th-place in the Dash. In the main, the Californian had a clear advantage over 4th-place finisher Beach to get his very first podium spot in his young but bright career. A great show by this fine young man after earlier in the season being the first to put the new Yamaha FZ07 twin in a main at Lima. Great job!
Mees did all he could all day long to try and keep Wiles within striking distance, but after 25-laps not even the tough-as-nails Michigan resident could haul in his fellow Michigan man. Mees was fast qualifier on the day on the #1 Montgomeryville Cycle Center Honda, and tried his best to catch not only Collindres in their heat, but Wiles in the main. He was able to leave Peoria with some solace, however, as he extended his lead in the championship to 29 points over Bryan Smith (11th on the day) 156-127 points with five rounds remaining on the season.
In the end, it was all Henry on the #17 Zanotti Racing Honda, winning what could very likely be the last Singles Series race at the fabled facility, what with the talk of the Twins taking over completely for next season. Wiles moved into the all-time TT win list with his 16th win on a TT course (Chris Carr still lies in 2nd with 15 wins) and will need two more wins to equal Carr's overall win total of 13 on Cameron Lane in Peoria.
You can view the full results here thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track, and a big thanks goes to my traveling companion and host Larry Lawrence for this article in Cycle News about yesterday's romp in the Valley.
The series now takes a weekend break before heading to Charlotte, NC on August 29 for another new event on the 2015 series calendar.
PEORIA, Ill. (Aug. 16, 2015) - Henry Wiles did exactly what everyone expected him to do on Sunday, Aug. 16 at the Peoria Motorcycle Club, and his 1.342-second win over Jared Mees stamped his name in the AMA Pro Flat Track record books, forever.
Wiles' 11th straight Peoria TT main event victory extends his consecutive win record at the Midwest venue, and his win also gave him 16 TT (Tourist Trophy) victories, the most by any rider to ever compete in the Grand National Championship.
Like he has done numerous times over the last decade, Wiles took the holeshot on lap one of the main event. However, unlike many Peoria TTs in the past, this one had to be earned. Wiles was shadowed by a hard charging Mees for the entire race. The two stars quickly gapped the field by more than 10 seconds, began lapping riders on Lap 12 and eventually lapped all but four of 16 other competitors in the race.
Mees, aboard the No. 1 Montgomeryville Cycle Center Honda, gave Wiles a good run, and even qualified faster than him earlier in the day, but when it came down to it, Wiles was just too fast.
Wiles' victory propelled him to eighth in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines point standings, while Mees' second-place finish helped him extend his lead in the standings to 29 points over Bryan Smith, who finished 11th in the race aboard his No. 42 Crosley Radio Kawasaki.
Closing out the podium for his best finish of 2015 was Dominic Colindres, and the No. 66Y Babe Demay Yamaha pilot let everyone know he was on top of his game early on when he took the Heat 1 victory over Mees and the rest of the field.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was J.D. Beach's fourth-place finish in the Peoria TT main event. The 2015 Moto America Supersport champion made the most of his rare appearance in the flat track world on Sunday, and he looked sharp all day aboard the No. 95 Yamaha USA machine.
No. 14 Rod Lake Racing Honda rider, Briar Bauman, earned his second-consecutive top-five finish on Sunday with an impressive fifth-place finish.
Riding the backup bike of Jared Mees, Jake Johnson piloted the No. 5 Montgomeryville Cycle Center Honda to a sixth-place finish on Sunday in his first AMA Pro Flat Track race since the Daytona opener in March.
Sammy Halbert, sporting the No. 69 Vans Yamaha machine in honor of his late brother, Jethro Halbert, finished ninth on Sunday.
In the GNC2 main event, Jesse Janisch earned a thrilling .038-second victory over second-place finisher and current points leader Davis Fisher. Janisch, piloting the No. 32L 34 Racing Honda, started from third on the grid and battled with Fisher on every lap. The two were neck-and-neck heading into the final turn and it looked as if either one could have claimed the victory at the end.
Fisher's runner-up effort aboard the No. 67M Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda keeps him sitting comfortably in the GNC2 points lead over Dan Bromley, while Janisch's win boosts him to 19th in the standings. Finishing third to close out the podium was No. 30Z Rod Lake Racing pilot Bronson Bauman. It was Bauman's second podium appearance in the last three rounds and he currently sits fourth in the points.
No. 19B RLJ Honda rider Justin Jones and No. 69C Bell Helmets Suzuki pilot Hayden Gillim rounded out the top five finishers, respectively. Like Beach, Gillim is a road racer with extensive flat track roots, and the two put together impressive performances for not having competed in AMA Pro Flat Track this season. Bromley, who sits second in the points behind Fisher, rode his No. 54A Bromley Brothers KTM to a sixth-place finish while Jamison Minor, who currently sits third in the standings, finished 12th in the main event.
The stars of AMA Pro Flat Track head to Charlotte, N.C., for the Don Tilley Memorial Charlotte Half-Mile on Aug. 29 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. For tickets and information regarding the event, fans are encourage to visit http://www.charlottehalfmile.com/.
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