Saturday, October 16, 2010

AMA Flat Track: 2010 AMA Grand National Championship Season-End Review Part II

7th place in the final AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series standings for the 2010 season was filled by a man very familiar to AMA Flat Track fans. To go along with his 2010 season-ending points placing results, 7-Time AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion Chris Carr and his Kenny Tolbert-prepped, Lancaster H-D/DFW Honda/Arai/Wiseco-backed XR750 had a very strong run in the final events of the 16 race season. As well as some solid points-earning rounds on the his Singles Class Honda 450 to round out the year. If not for his bike failing him in the Dash at the Springfield Short Track and having to start on his back-up from the back row in the main, it would have been an even stronger finish on the little Honda, too.
With second-place finishes at both the Indy and Springfield Mile rounds, winning the Dash for Cash event at Indy (not to mention a VERY nice Tissot/Nicky Hayden watch to go along with it) and again on the Springfield Mile, the Prince of Peoria still showed he has what it takes to run up front with the best in the series. Having set the bar years, and probably decades ago, on the AMA Flat Track Series trail, Carr and Tolbert are still the lethal weapon that they have been for the many years they have been together in the sport.
Having followed Chris' career for the last 26 seasons, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Chris and Kenny this summer for the very first time. And now I am even MORE of a fan of these fine representatives of not only the great sport of AMA Flat Track, but of life itself. People like this are what have defined The Rolling Thunder Show in terms of the fine people and family atmosphere that has surrounded the series for decades. And it doesn't hurt that both are some of the funnest people you could ever hang out with. And I can't wait to do it again in 2011!


6th place in the year-end standings on the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series standings goes to Hammerin Hank Wiles, the '09-'10 AMA Pro Flat Track Singles Class Champion. Wiles and his Monster Energy/Jones Brothers/Shift Racing/Don's Racing-sponsored Kawasaki 450 have decimated the Singles Class as well as the State of Illinois, winning 13 races in a row in the Illini State including six Peoria TT's dating back to 2004 (2007 was a rain-out) and seven in a row at the Springfield Rodeo Arena (three May TT's and four late summer short tracks.) Henry won the Dash to seal his 2nd AMA Flat Track Singles Championship at Springfield last month, and less than an hour later wrapped the season up by winning the main. In doing so, Wiles also helped Kawasaki take the Manufacturer of the Year Award from the AMA Flat Track folks that was awarded last weekend after the season finale in Presott Valley.
On the Twins bikes, Henry's KK Motorcycle Supply/Mike & Eddie Adkins/Don Kissinger Racing/Saddlemen-backed XR750 showed bright promise as well as flickers of ill fortune. Running away with the Lima Half Mile at the end of June, he left the field in the dust on the long-standing pea gravel track. But failing to make the main at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile at the end of August showed there is room for marked improvement. Running away with his heat in Minnesota, the bike broke causing Wiles to have to come back and win the semi to make the main event, and absolutely wow the crowd in route to a fourth place finish. And having to qualify for the main at Prescott Valley last week via his 3rd place in the semi doomed him to another third row start and an eventual 12th place finish for the season-ending event, and dropped him from what was a 4th place in the points before Prescott to a season-end 6th overall. Still, not a bad season, but it does leave the season-long question open for debate--what happens when Henry's Twins program DOES get itself ironed out? I've been saying all year when that happens, the rest of the field is going to be doing some serious chasing of the #17 machine and rider.


9th place in AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series standings goes to #20 Matt Weidman, the 2008 AMA Flat Track Ricky Graham Rookie of the Year. Improving a spot over his 2009 overall finish on the AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Series season, Matt got his very first podium in AMA Flat Track Series racing this year with a fine 3rd place finish at the Lima Half Mile at the end of June, and a week earlier also won his heat race at the Gas City/I69 Speedway Short Track round, showing he has the stuff to run on both the Twins and the Singles bikes. And in this reporter's eyes his run up front at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile on the outside cushion (before the line went away relegating him to an eventual 9th place finish) was the stuff legends are made of in this sport.
Sponsored by White's H-D/SNIP/Silkolene on his family-owned fleet of XRs, and by Mack Daddy Racing on his Honda 450 in the Singles Class, Matt has done a remarkable job of carrying on the legend and pashion of those that have worn the familiar National #20 over the decades in AMA Flat Track Series racing. But what could have been this year was probably doomed to the numerous mechanical failures that seemed to haunt the team this year.
On the last lap of qualifying at Lima, Matt's A-bike came rolling to a smoking hault on the backside of the half mile track (which is ironic in he brought his B-bike home to 3rd later in the day.) At Springfield last month on the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile oval, Matt had the pleasure of working with one of the sport's long-time wrench turners and XR masters, Carl Patrick, and his whole family was so excited to be able to have the pleasure of rolling out on one of the true legend's machines. Let alone knowing what kind of HP figures Mr. Patrick is known to pump out of his machines. But as fate would have it, the motor would tie-up in the early sessions and he would be forced to roll out one of his family's bikes.
In the picture shown above, Matt's Dad and head wrench-turner on the team Guy Weidman, checks out the White's XR as Matt looks down before rolling out for the first semi at Springfield last month. Running up front for the first few laps, the bike slowed dramatically to force him out out of the main event. As Matt had suspected and felt at this moment, there WERE some expensive noises coming from his race mount. And earlier in the season at Prescott, Matt's run on Ron Wood's BMW was halted in the main by a lost chain. And last weekend, the Beemer just wasn't up to it and another main event sitting on the sidelines ended Matt's year. Woulda, coulda, shoulda doesn't count in anything in life, but emits a very bitter pill in the form of luck in the "what if's" for this youngster's season results. But make no mistake, he has a VERY long and big future ahead of him in this growing sport, and when the planets finally do align for the Weidman's and #20, you can bet that not only will he leap to the top step on the podium, but he may be one of those that everyone else is chasing. And as the old cliche goes, good things DO happen to good people. For Matt Weidman, Mom and Dad (Rachel and Guy), the 2011 season probably can't get here soon enough. Nor for this reporter.


THE Master Wrench Turner/Engineer and the winningest tuner in AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Series racing history, Bill
Werner, sits on the tailgate of his transporter while talking with the fans at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile at the end of August. Just a few hours later, team rider Bryan Smith would top the box in the main, helping to re-write the record books in AMA Flat Track competition. With an 8th place in the final year-end standings, the #42 Werner Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki/Wossner Pistons/SuperTrapp/Millenium Technologies-backed team would help to get Kawasaki their very first AMA Flat Track Manufacturer of the Year Award in series competition and the team, in it's first year the AMA Flat Track Outstanding Achievement Award.
With the stuff that legends are made of coming together on this team, the 13-Time AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship winning tuner brought in 3-Time AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion Jay Springsteen as a rider/coach/technician to help dial-in the new-to-the-class Kawasaki 650 Ninja-based parallel twin. Filling out the roster on Team WSMEK Green was multiple AMA Flat Track winner Bryan Smith. Testing earlier in the season at the DuQuoin Mile helped to form a baseline of where they needed to be to be with the soon-to-be new winner in AMA Grand National Championship Series racing.
And with a learning year being what it is, the team still managed to fend off the failures of failing to qualify for the Gas City Short Track round in June in the Singles Class, and then losing power at the Arizona Mile in May in the team's first Twins round due to a 'limiter-type' switch that the team was unaware of that cut power to the machine when laid over in the turns. When Werner contacted Kawasaki's tech people, they found this was a stock 'tip-over' switch put on the street version as a safety measure in the event of a crash, or tip-over. Needless to say that was remedied by the end of the month, and Flyin Bryan took the #42 Kawi to 2nd place at the spring Springfield Mile. Knowing that the half mile tracks would be where they would have to learn on the run, it all came together in winning at Indy and some eight days later topping the box again at the Springfield Mile over the Labor Day weekend.
Every member of this team is, and has been, used to winning in the very competitive AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Series. And I sure don't see that changing any time soon for either the team, or for the other competitors on the highly competitive circuit. And with another chance to bring more quality and a more reasonably-priced product to the table, the landscape of AMA Flat Track racing is and could be looking much greener in the years and seasons to come.


10th place in the season-ending standings on the AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series 2010 circuit goes to the #10 machine of rider Johnny Lewis and his Scott Powersports team. Running a Cycle Dynamics/
K&N Filters/Pit Posse-backed Kawasaki 650R-based machine for the Twins Class, and a Honda 450 with some sponsorship by Monster Energy in the Singles Class, Johnny and the Scott Powersports team put their version of the parallel twin in the main at several of the events
during the second half of the season's tour.
An 8th place finish on the Minnesota Mile and a 9th on the Springfield Mile last month were highlights for the team's first year with the new twin, and Lewis' fine run home into 5th place at the famed Peoria TT shows that he has the ability and level-headedness to bring it home and see the big picture. A testament to his abilities, his Honda tied-up at Peoria and thinking he was going to be forced to sit out the day's racing, fellow competitor Mick Kirkness then offered him his back-up Suzuki RM, which Lewis promptly went out on and finished 2nd in his heat and later 5th in the Dash. And the points the team earned on the 650 in the Twins Class helped Kawasaki win the AMA Flat Track Manufacturer of the Year Award.
Great stuff out of this team and we're looking forward to the 2011 season to see what else Johnny Lewis and Scott Powersports can bring to the AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Series. You can read and see more on Johnny and Scott Powersports below as well.

With the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series season having flown it's last checkered flag a week ago, we continue to bring you the highlights on the year in this rundown of the 6th-10th place finishers on the season. With the champagne now dry and the awards having been handed out, this wrap-up on what was one of the series' best-ever seasons helps to showcase the AMA Flat Track Series turnaround in the 2010 year.

With the crowds coming back and new infusion in the sport in terms of competition and machine availability, The Rolling Thunder Show was back with a big bang this year. Under leadership that has and will help even more to steer AMA Flat Track into the future, and sponsorship returning in the form of a series title sponsor, the future sure looks bright for the greatest show on wheels if the 2010 season is any indication at all.

We hope you enjoy this overview of the season and in the next few days we will also be bringing you more highlights on the great year that was in AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship competition as we take a look at some of the other great moments that helped define the great turnaround in AMA Flat Track.

2010 AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series Final Top 10 Season-End Overall Point Standings:

1. Jake Johnson 289 Points

2. Joe Kopp 269 Points

3. Jared Mees 269 Points (Kopp wins tie-breaker for more wins 3-0)

4. Sammy Halbert 249 Points

5. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. 248 Points

6. Henry Wiles 246 Points

7. Chris Carr 201 Points

8. Bryan Smith 190 Points

9. Matt Weidman 108 Points

10. Johnny Lewis 104 Points


Mark Gardiner has written some very newsworthy, let alone deeply insightful perspectives on AMA Flat Track this year. He's followed the new brands infiltrating the sport, the growth seen over the course of the last season or two in fan attendance, sponsors coming into the sport, and the people involved and reponsible with righting the ship that is the sport we love, the AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship racing.
The latest offering by Mr. Backmarker over at is his look at the final event of the year last weekend in Prescott Valley as well as some offerings he has planned for us in the coming weeks and months. You should all know and recognize the work put forth by the Riding Man, and if you don't, this is a great place to start and get to know to him:

Mark Cernicky is a writer for Cycle's blog which has been doing a great job this year of covering Eric Bostrom's return to AMA Road Racing along with the Attack Performance/Cycle World Suzuki team. Last weekend for the season's final event on the AMA Pro Flat Track Series stop at Yavapai Downs in Arizona, Mark entered the #50E Honda CRF450R sponsored by Cycle World/Honda America/Ride for Kids in the AMA Pro Pro Singles class. And it was Mark's first attempt at racing on the mile as well, and he had some good results for his first foray on the lightning fast oval showing marked improvement in times and in speed throughout the day.

This is a great little story of how one of the biggest stars and heroes of the sport helped out one of the 'little guys' at the Arizona stop. 7-Time AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion Chris Carr assisted Mark, along with Chris' ace-in-the-hole Master Wrench Kenny Tolbert, in getting him set up with a good pipe to run on his 450 for the mile oval. This is one of those stories you hear about the flat track community that makes you glad you are a fan of this family-oriented bunch of real-world people in this most exciting form of high speed and thrilling racing. Check it out, and Bravo to guys like Chris Carr and Kenny Tolbert that have infused this great sport with some of the best and most selfless personalities for the good of all:

Here is some more of Steve Warne's work over at his great site Poppa Wheelie. Here he has some shots of Johnny Lewis on the Scott Powersports Kawasaki:

Poppa Wheelie also has some shots of Matt Weidman at the Calistoga Half Mile from back in the summer:

And he has some shots here of Matt on the Ron Wood BMW from the May Prescott round, which Matt also tried to put into the main again at least weekend's season-ending event. Of course, that round didn't go as planned for Matt and team and we all know with this young man's ability and attitude that it's just a matter of time before we see HIM on top of the box. Next year isn't out of the question for the youngter from Westerlo, New York as his learning curve on the track grew tremendously in this fan's eyes this year: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tyler Porter runs the great site Fight For Dirt ( and he has this great interview from earlier in the season with Matt Weidman after he had nailed his first-ever podium finish at the Lima Half Mile at the end of June in AMA Pro Flat Track Series competition. Matt also talked at the time about his runs at Gas City on the short track and riding the Ron Wood BMW at Yavapai Downs back on the first of May:

Tyler also puts out a great weekly column called The Inslide Line over at his site Fight for Dirt Track. This week's story is a rundown on the season-ender and you can check it out here:
A great read on one of the best in sport, here is Chris Carr's biography and his long list of accomplishments on the AMA Flat Track Series over the years from his official site:
Matt Weidman has a super site that shows his past accomplishments racing in AMA Flat Track, as well as his great runs in The Great White North in Canada and his home state of New York. You can check it out here:
You can read about Johnny Lewis and his great run at the Peoria TT back in August right here thanks to the folks at AMA Pro Flat Track:

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