Sunday, July 1, 2012

AMA Flat Track: Sammy Halbert Storms to 2nd Lima Half-Mile Win-in-a-Row

Lima winner Sammy Halbert takes a moment to cool-off while Jake Johnson is all smiles while being interviewed on the podium by AMA Pro Flat Track announcer Barry Boone, after coming home in 3rd place at round 5 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by season at the Lima Half-Mile on Saturday June 30, after having his best-ever finish on the pea gravel surface at the fast Ohio track. 2nd-place finisher Henry Wiles was forced to start from the penalty line in the initial start after jumping the start, and had worked his way all the way into 2nd before the red-flag delay brought on by Brandon Robinson's get-off on the #44 Werner-Springsteen Kawasaki.  Robinson was reportedly shaken but not seriously injured, although the bike sustained major damage.

The event was only delayed a few minutes, and after the re-start and subsequent 5-lap dash to the end, Halbert took control while Wiles tried everything he could to catch and pass Halbert.  With two laps to go, Wiles got even with the #7 rider crossing the finish line, but Sammy was able to keep it out front for the last 2600 feet in spite of Hammerin' Hank's nifty cross-over move coming out of turn 3 in the run to the checkers.  Halbert and Wiles disagreed on the podium as to who was at fault and shared some words as to what or who was at fault, but quickly went about the victory ceremonies before any major confrontations ensued.  From our standpoint on the front straight, it looked like a case of some heavy racing, with no major contact.  But to paraphrase, we weren't in the middle of the battle and also several hundred feet away from where the supposed 'incident' took place.

In a thrilling evening of fast and furious action at the Allen County Fairgrounds, Slammin' Sammy again walked away from the field after chasing down early leaders Johnny Lewis and Jake Johnson and took his second victory-in-a-row on his #7 South East H-D/The South Ass/Mo Vaughn Transport/LZ Racing-sponsored XR750.  Halbert has the best record at Lima over the course of the last three seasons after finishing 2nd during the 2010 event behind then-winner Wiles.

Matt Weidman on his #20 GCR/White's H-D/SNIP/Fiorio Investments-sponsored H-D XR750 throws a rooster tail as he heads out of turn 4 during the final qualifying round at the Lima Half-Mile on Saturday June 30.  Mighty Matt was the fast qualifier for the night among the 44 Expert riders on-hand, but unfortunately on the next go-around while coming out of turn 2 caught the fence with his foot and footpeg, which resultingly pitched him over the bike and slammed him hard into the racing surface, landing a good 20-25 feet away from his bike, which was all but destroyed in the massive get-off.

Worse yet, the accident slammed Matt so hard that he suffered from a broken left collarbone and right foot, and was forced to sit out the evening after having placed 2nd in the event in 2011 and 3rd in 2010.  According to his Mom, Rachel (who was on-hand for the first time in the 2012 season along with Dad Guy, who now has some serious work ahead of him repairing and replacing what was left of Matt's machine) and she stated other then being a little groggy and the broken bones he will be back in roughly 6-8 weeks.  We wish Matt a speedy and complete recovery as he will be sorely missed in the field.

The Dash for Cash entrants fire off the line at round 5 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by season at the Lima Half-Mile on June 30 in front of a packed house at the Allen County Fairgrounds.  In last night's action, Henry Wiles took the win aboard the spot-on prepared #17 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports-prepped Foremost Insurance Group/Ramspur Winery/ENI USA/Motorcyclist Magazine-backed Ducati 'L' twin over Johnny Lewis on the #10 Scott Powersports/Saddlemen Seats/Wallace Trucking/AXO-sponsored Kawasaki 650R-based parallel twin.  Johnson rounded out the Dash podium on the #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Arai-sponsored XR750.

Eventual National main event winner Sammy Halbert brought his #7 South East H-D-backed H-D XR750 home in 4th, Jeffrey Carver, Jr. took the #23 Kiesow Racing/Hall's Cycles/Eddie Atkins/Sponseller-sponsored XR750 came home 5th and Bryan Smith on his #42 Moroney's H-D/ H-D/Doc's H-D-sponsored XR rounded out the field in the 4-lap points and cash paying romp.

With Jared Mees' finish of 4th on the #9 Rogers Racing XR750 in the main event, The Jammer retained his lead in the points over now-2nd place man, Jake Johnson by 11 points (93-82), with Lewis in 3rd just 1 point back.  Sammy Halbert sits in the 4th spot with 77 points, and Weidman and Wiles are now tied for 5th with 64 points heading to round 6 of the season at the Hagerstown, MD. half-mile on Saturday July 7.

You can check out the official press release below from AMA Pro Flat Track, who in spite of the adverse weather conditions that rolled through Lima on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, put on another stellar event. 

Halbert Repeats with Thrilling AMA Pro Flat Track Win in Lima Half-Mile National

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LIMA, Ohio (July 1, 2012) - Round five of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by and Lucas Oil gave the large crowd in attendance for the AMA Pro Flat Track Lima Half-Mile National a little bit of everything.

Typical Lima heat combined with a quick sprinkle after qualifying got riders primed for a great night of racing. When the checkered flag fell on the 25-lap national it was South East Harley-Davidson's Sammy Halbert on top, but it was far from easy.  "I didn't get a very good start and was about fifth or sixth and wasn't gaining anything," Halbert said. "Then Jared (Mees) went around me on the outside and I thought 'Well, I guess I better try that.' I just went higher and higher until I found my line."

Sammy Halbert on his #7 South East H-D XR750 took control just before the mid-point of the 25-lap National main last night at Lima and sealed the victory for the second year-in-a-row in round 5 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by season.  AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.

While Halbert was looking for his "line," Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing / Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson) and Johnny Lewis (Scott Powersports) were having a great race for the lead. Johnson got the hole shot and led the first four laps before Lewis pushed his Kawasaki into the lead. The two battled back and forth until lap 11 when Halbert blasted by both and looked to be running away.

All the while Henry Wiles, who had been sent to the penalty line when he jumped the start on his Lloyd Brothers Motorsports / Foremost Insurance backed Ducati, was clawing his way to the front. On lap 16, Wiles dispatched Mees (Rogers Racing / Blue Springs Harley-Davidson), who had been battling with Lewis over third.

By lap 19, Wiles was in second and in hot pursuit of Halbert, but it appeared Halbert's lead was insurmountable. Then on lap 20, the red lights were flashing as Brandon Robinson had pitched away his Werner-Springsteen Racing Kawasaki in turn four.

This resulted in a five-lap dash for the win, now with Wiles starting right on Halbert's flank. This time, Halbert got a great start and Wiles was once again left to run the defending Lima champion down. The two exchanged the lead several times, but Halbert officially led all five laps, including the last.

Johnson held onto third over Mees and Lewis. Mees climbed six positions from his starting position to finish fourth and claim the night's MotoBatt Hard Charger Award, a cash award presented to the rider who advances the most positions during each expert main event.

Kiesow Racing / Hall's Cycle's Jeffery Carver had a great ride as he finished just in front of fellow Illinoisan Rob Pearson (Memphis Shades) and Bryan Smith (Moroney's Harley-Davidson). Saddlemen Rookie of the Year points leader Briar Bauman (Rod Lake Racing / USC Kawasaki) and Deeley Harley-Davidson's Don Taylor rounded out the top ten.

There were many hard luck riders on the night, none bigger than last year's second-place finisher. Matt Weidman (Greg Crow Racing / White's Harley-Davidson) posted a lap time good enough for fastest time of the night in the first round of practice, but had a big get off in round two. Weidman was transported with shoulder and ankle injuries. Harley-Davidson Motor Company's Kenny Coolbeth tweaked his leg on the first lap of the national, ending his night. All the promise of Brad Baker's first night on the Columbia Avionics / Mark Cheza Harley-Davidson came to an end on lap two when the third-fastest qualifier dropped out.

The AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by and Lucas Oil points standings still have Jared Mees on top, but Jake Johnson is now only 11 points back. Johnny Lewis is only one behind Johnson, while Sammy Halbert is sixteen off the pace. Matt Weidman and Henry Wiles are tied for fifth 29 points back.

The AMA Pro Pro Singles main was just as competitive, as Western Hills Honda's Zakk Palmer came from behind to repeat his Lima win from last year. Palmer worked his way up from fifth to take the lead on lap five as he blasted past early leader Jordan McCready (Parkinson Brothers Racing) and Weirbach Racing's Ryan Wells. Also making strong charges were Kris Myers Farm's Benjamin Myers and Jacob Constantine. Myers' second position finish came in his first national race while Constantine posted his first podium finish as well. Pro Singles points leader Gerit Callies (Fun Mart Cycles) brought his KTM home in 12th, but that was good enough to retain his lead by two over Ryan Wells. Jason Isennock (High Dairy Stores), Palmer and Jake Cunningham (Schiller's Tree Service) are all in a tight fight over third.
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,

Here's the link to the complete official results of last night's Lima Half-Mile courtesy of AMA Pro Flat Track:

And a big thanks to Larry Lawrence for this story in Cycle News from last night's round 5 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by season at the Ohio National Championship in Lima:

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