Wednesday, September 14, 2011

AMA Flat Track: Lloyd Brothers Motorsports & Brad Baker Talk Springfield Mile II

Brad Baker #12 is interviewed on the victory podium after winning semi race #2 at the Springfield Mile II on Sunday, September 4 by AMA Pro Flat Track announcer Barry Boone.  The Rookie of the Year shoe-in used the practice sessions as a 'test' to try and work out the chassis wobble that the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/ Hayden/ENI USA-sponsored and Ducati HyperMotard-based team had experienced at the spring round of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

After qualifying in the top spot right out of the box in his first Twins Series event of the year in May, the machine started to suffer from a wobble while on the straightways at the legendary track.  Brad still fought it hard and brought home a very admirable 5th place in the main.  Returning over the Labor Day Weekend, the team worked on set-up to work out the problem, but made the bike somewhat slower, resulting in a 17th place qualifying spot, .683 seconds behind fast qualifier Kenny Coolbeth, Jr.  But Brad told team co-owner that 'at least it wasn't wobbling now.' 

Fighting through his heat race, The Bullet was forced to run the semi in order to qualify for the main, and ended up winning over Shaun Russell to take his transfer to the National event, round 16 of the 2011 season.  Brad worked his way through the field, and as a result of the windy conditions on the day, suffered what ended up being a minor scratch on his eye from dirt getting in it.  Still the fighter, Brad brought it home in a solid 8th spot for the day in the final 5 lap dash in the red flag interupted event, and reported after the race weekend that his eye was okay and no major damage was done.  Of course being the hard charger and former Pro Singles Series Champion that he is, he wasn't satisfied and is ready to fight for more.

You can bet that the hard-working team will get things worked out for the remaining three events on the year, after failing to qualify at the Knoxville Raceway Half-Mile event last weekend, only the 2nd event Brad and the team have failed to qualify for this year.  There is way too much experience with this great group of guys, and they won't give up until it all comes together for all of their liking! 

Brad Baker Springfield Mile Report

AMA Pro Racing Grand National Flat Track Rookie, Brad Baker, brought the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports / / Motion Pro / ENI USA R & M / Daniel Kalal / Nicky Hayden backed motorcycle home a solid 8th in the fall running of the Springfield Mile.

Brad Baker crossed the finish line 8th in a spectacular race that saw the top ten riders cross the finish line within 1 second of the winner.

Expectations were high from fans and sponsors for the fall running of Springfield since Baker had dominated qualifying at the spring running of the Springfield Mile. However, as the track changed throughout the day, the chassis developed a wiggle that ultimately forced Baker to back off and bring the bike home in 5th place in the main event.

“We knew coming here it was going to be a long day that required patience on our part as we worked through chassis set up for the main event. We actually had a really good day, better than it looks on paper – we learned a lot. The Springfield Mile is a very unique track compared to the rest of the race tracks on the circuit. The dirt is spongy and delivers a very high amount of traction that loads our chassis unlike anywhere else that we race. Even though our bike has won before, it is in its early stages of development compared to the majority of the field. Our bike has been really solid and fast everywhere we have taken it except Springfield and the only way to test for Springfield is to race at Springfield. There is nothing else like it where we can go test. We have taken this bike to Springfield four times prior to this past weekend. Each time we have had struggles ranging from excessive chatter to a heavy weave that manifests itself into a head shake” stated Lead Tech for the team, David Gamble.

A few weeks before the eventually-canceled Lucas Oil Indy Mile, Dave Lloyd of the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports team touched base with me about the team inheriting a chunk of change from Nicky Hayden, in order to re-build one of the team's motors which was lost at the Sacramento Mile at the end of July.  As a result of Dave's candor with me on the subject, Stu's Shots was able to break the story that former '02 AMA Superbike Champion and '06 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden had helped out the team in a big way back in early August.

As a result of The Kentucky Kid's sponsorship dollars to the team, they were able to rebuild both motors in their stable of Ducati 1098s, and when they rolled into Springfield on Sunday, September 4 they had added a nice big sponsorship sticker to their tanks on the bikes.  The shot above is of one of those bikes, that unfortunately for Brad and the team, 'just wasn't right' per what Brad told the team and Dave passed on to me in the pit area after practice.  So the team parked the bike-the one in the shot above-and used their other machine, as well as one of their Aprilia's that Aaron King ran last year, as a back up machine for proper AMA Pro Flat Track submittal for the event. 

You can also see the '69 Nicky Hayden' sponsorship sticker in the lead photo, as well as the '' sticker on the parked bike in the pit area at Springfield.  Great gesture by Nicky, and as Dave told me before the Indy Mile event was canceled, that if and when 'Nicky needed a bike, he could have one of their's' in a heart beat.  VERY COOL!

“This past weekend we planned on using our three 4-lap practice / qualifying sessions and heat race to test a range of chassis, suspension and tire settings in hopes of finding a stable, fast set up for the main event. The team was really happy that in both the semi and main event the bike handled well, was stable and fast” continued team co-owner Michael Lloyd.

“It was a tough day for me actually because I want to go out and win every time that I am on the track. I had to be patient and test today to prepare for the main. The bike felt really good in my semi qualifier and I was able to win that easily over the bike that won the main event here last year so I know that we were ready for the main event. Unfortunately, I got some dirt in my eye in the early part of the main event and scratched my eye. When they stopped the race with 5 laps to go I was a mess. We flushed my eye out the best that we could on the front strait while waiting for the restart. I decided to finish the race but I had to back off and bring it home safe. If not for my eye I think that I would have been able to race with the top seven instead of just following them home. I am really looking forward to coming here next spring since we now have a good setup to start the day with” said Brad Baker.

“In seven Twins events, Brad has qualified 1st twice, 2nd twice, won 3 heat races and qualified for 4 Dash races. He is a contender everywhere that we show up. I couldn’t be happier with the efforts of the entire team. If you look at the history of the series, getting new types of bikes to the front is a serious challenge. Every one of our team members and sponsors is working very hard and supporting each other as we work towards our bike’s second win and Brad’s first win as an expert” stated team co-owner David Lloyd.

Lloyd Brothers Motorsports, Inc. is sponsored by: / Motion Pro / ENI USA R&M / Daniel Kalal / Nicky Hayden / Penske Racing Shocks / M4 Exhausts / D’s Leathers / Arai Helmets / / VMC Racing Frames / Vortex / Saddlemen / Yuasa Batteries / K & N Engineering / Fox Performance Engines / Mr. Sign / Mad Hatter / Wagner-Lewis Clutches / Flat Trak Fotos

You can keep up with the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati team here via their official site:

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