Sunday, October 16, 2011

AMA Flat Track: Jake Johnson Wins the Battle & the War at Pomona Half-Mile to Take 2011 AMA Grand National Championship

With his victory in round 20 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series presented by at the Pomona Half-Mile last night, Jake Johnson clinched his 2nd AMA Grand National Championship in a row to add his name to a short, but very worthy list of competitors who have won the coveted AMA Grand National Championship, let alone having won it two years in a row.  The rider of the #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Motion Pro-sponsored XR750 took his fourth win of the season, winning the Dash for Cash in route, and simply was the class of the field at the season-finale round held at the Pomona Fairplex.

Scoring 15 points or more in 16 of 20 rounds this season, the defending and now '11 AMA Grand National Champion fought off two red flag delays at Pomona, only to get the starts he needed to head the field through the course of the 26-lap National main event.  Sammy Halbert and Brad Baker had a great duel for the runner-up position, which was taken by rookie Baker.  Sammy ended the season ranked in the 3rd spot in the championship, with runner-up and 2011 AMA Grand National Twins Champion Jared Mees finishing the night in 5th and the season ranked as the 2nd overall rider of the year.

Johnson and his Zanotti Racing team (team owner Dave Zanotti, head wrench Ted McDermitt and wrench/rider coach Mike Hacker) are to be congratulated for a fine season which saw them behind the competition in terms of wins on the season (4 overall to Mees' season-leading 5) and in the points until the penultimate round at Calistoga two weeks ago.  Jersey Jake turned it all around at the Calistoga round to win the last two events of the season to take the championship by 16 points over Mees, and 17 over Halbert (386-370-369.)

And a hearty congratulations also go out to 2011 AMA Pro Pro Singles Champion Mikey Martin and the Weirbach Racing team for taking the championship in their division last night with a 6th place finish in the Pro Singles main.  Rookie phenom Briar Bauman won his third event of his short season, after mid-season having just turned pro, to cap a great year by the Salinas, CA. resident.

Stay tuned to Stu's Shots over the coming days and weeks as we wrap-up the great season that was in the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series presented by 

Thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track, Harley-Davidson Insurance and and all of the people involved in bringing us another super year in the greatest sport on wheels in the world, The Rolling Thunder Show!

Johnson Takes Home AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship No. 1 Plate After Pomona Win

Bauman Wins Another Pro Singles Final; Martin Takes Championship

POMONA, Ca. (October 16, 2011) - Jake Johnson took home the coveted AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by No. 1 plate Saturday night with a commanding win at the AMA Pro Flat Track Season Finale, which took place on the big cushion half-mile at the LA County Fairplex in Pomona, Ca.

In the weeks leading up to the culmination of the 2011 AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship, calculators were buzzing as everyone tried to analyze what combinations of finishes by the top three were needed for the Championship.

Defending Grand National Champion Johnson made all the calculations moot, however, as he was nearly perfect on his Zanotti Racing / Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson backed XR-750. Johnson survived two restarts and overtime in the National main event as he led every lap, most by a healthy margin.
"I just had great starts all night and tried to ride smart," Johnson said. "It was coming down to the end and I had a good lead but was making some mistakes. After I saw the five to go sign, I started to countdown, four, three, two and then another red flag. I thought 'Uh-oh, another five lap shoot out.' I just tried to stay calm and everything worked out."

2011 (and repeat) AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson holds his ceremonial #1 plate up during the podium ceremonies at the season-finale round 20 at the Pomona Half-Mile on October 15.  Johnson had just done what few have ever done in the sport in clinching his 2nd championship, and 2nd in a row.  AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.

At the end of what became a 26-lap race, Johnson held almost a two second lead over Lloyd Brothers Motorsports / Team Hurt By Accident's Brad Baker. Baker's career-high second place finish all but guaranteed the 2011 Saddlemen Rookie of the Year award.

Heading into the event third place in the point standings and hoping to improve, Kings Kustoms / White's Harley-Davidson's Sammy Halbert fought to the end with Baker for second but the rookie was able to hang on and with his third-place finish in the main, Halbert came up one point behind Rogers Lake Racing / Blue Springs Harley-Davidson's Jared Mees, who struggled most of the night.

Mees ended the night behind the Scott Powersports Kawasaki of Johnny Lewis, but that was just good enough to hold on to second in the overall point standings and win the AMA Pro Twins National Championship.

After holding Halbert off in the first heat, Johnson threw down the gauntlet by winning the four-lap Dash for Cash and claiming the five points that went with it. Halbert and Mees minimized the damage by finishing second and third, but the tone was set.

After winning the fastest heat, it looked like defending Pomona winner Henry Wiles might be able to take the spotlight away from the title chase, but it was not to be, as he was responsible for the last red flag on lap 22. Wiles was able to restart from the back and worked his way up to a 10th place finish.

Rob Pearson was back aboard the USC Kawasaki, and the screamer brought home a solid sixth position. American Motorcyclist Association / Classic Harley-Davidson's Chris Carr brought his illustrious career to an end with a seventh place finish over Matt Weidman (White's Harley-Davidson / SNIP) and Harley-Davidson Motor Company's Kenny Coolbeth.

Johnson finished with a sixteen point lead over Mees, 386-370, with Halbert just one more back at 369.

The AMA Pro Pro Singles main belonged to late season sensation Briar Bauman (Rod Lake Racing / Brown's Cycles) as he also overcame several restarts to grab his third win of the year. Title contender Mikey Avila (SDI Insulation / MEH Corp) took second place and Foard Racing / Glenville Inn backed Jason Isennock filled out the podium.

Weirbach Racing's Mikey Martin was able to do just enough to take home the 2011 Pro Singles Championship with a sixth place finish behind fourth-place finisher Rod Spencer Jr. (Hooper Motorsports / Rod Lake Racing) and fifth-place finisher Stephen Vanderkuur (DFW Honda / D&D Exhaust).

Martin finished the long year with three wins and an eight point bulge on Avila, 316-308, with Gerit Callies another 17 back at 291.

Avila (SDI Insulation / Dickel Racing) and Callies (Water's Autobody) took advantage of provisional starts as Experts and qualified for their career debuts in Grand National Main Events.

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
For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,

Round 20 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series presented by at the Pomona Half-Mile is done and another great season is a wrap.  Congrats to Jake Johnson and the Zanotti Racing team for securing the 2011 AMA Grand National Championship last night, their second in a row, to add to a short list of greats and repeat champions in the AMA Grand National Championship Series.

Results, photos and a story of the events at the Pomona Half-Mile season-finale can be found below.

Congrats go out to all of the competitors, team owners, sponsors, officials and fans to a great season of racing in The Rolling Thunder Show, the greatest sport on wheels in the world.


Paul Carruthers and Cycle was on the scene last night at Pomona, and brings us this story of how the night unfolded at the season-finale at the Pomona Half-Mile:

AMA Pro Flat Track has the results from last night's round 20 season-finale at the Pomona Fairplex right here:

Complete event results can be found here courtesy of AMA Pro Flat Track (PDF versions):

AMA Pro Flat Track posted these photos on their Twitter feed from last night's racing at Pomona.  Some shots of defending and now 2-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson on the podium with the ceremonial 2011 #1 plate:

AMA Pro Flat Track posted this gallery of shots from last night's season-finale at Pomona, all shot by AMA Pro Flat Track official photographer, Dave Hoenig:

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