Saturday, August 10, 2013

Preview of Round 7 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship as We Head to the Peoria TT

The 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season amps it up another notch tomorrow as The Rolling Thunder Show heads to Thunder Valley for the Peoria Motorcycle Club-hosted round 7 at the Peoria TT.

In what is gearing up to be another great day of racing at the long-time event on the series' calendar, 8-Time Peoria TT winner Henry Wiles, the '09-'10 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Singles Series Champion, leads the field into Peoria with a big 'X' on his back as he tries to make it a record-setting ninth win in-a-row.  With six different winners for each of the first six events of the season in the Expert-ranked class, Hammerin' Hank could possibly be another winner for the season.  With his current 3rd-place in the overall standings, Henry could make a big jump up the standings with another win tomorrow.

Needless to say, there are a big handful of riders that are hoping to break that string of eight-straight wins established last year by The Hammer, which tied him with Chris 'The Prince of Peoria' Carr for the most wins in-a-row at the fabled facility.

Among them include defending 2012 AMA Grand National Champion Jared Mees, who comes off a monster 2nd-place finish at last weekend's Castle Rock TT after earlier in the evening pitching his #1 Montgomeryville Cycle Honda into the ground and knocking his shoulder out of socket.  The Jammer made a superman recovery after popping it back into place and fighting for the podium in what can only be viewed as a ride that champions are made of after nearly suffering another blow to the defense of his title, after earlier in the season breaking his arm and missing the Hagerstown round due to those injuries.  Mees has long wanted to knock the reigning Peoria champ off of the top rung of the podium at Peoria, and if his physical ability allows him, will be looking to make that happen tomorrow afternoon.

Bryan Smith, who along with his Crosley/Howerton Honda team, got his best-ever finish in a Grand National TT event last week at Castle Rock with a superb 6th-place finish, which also allowed him to move into the 2nd-place overall spot in the championship hunt, 27 points behind series leader Brad Baker (111-84.)  Baker, who is having a career year with a win at Hagerstown on the Dodge Brothers XR and a finish of no worse than 5th-place in the first six rounds of the season, will also be looking to step atop the top rung of the podium and increase his lead in the series standings.  And The Bullet and his Specialty Fabrication Honda are always in the running during the Singles Series events on the circuit's calendar as shown by his monster rides earlier in the season at Daytona I&II and last week's 5th-place effort in his home state.

Sammy Halbert, who has owned the Castle Rock event the previous three seasons and has always run strong at Peoria, had an off-night last weekend in his home state.  But knowing The Slammer that won't make his efforts tomorrow any different than what he has produced the last three years at Peoria, having posted finishes of 3rd, 3rd and 5th-place the last three seasons in Thunder Valley.  Look for Sammy and his Fredericktown Yamaha to be in the mix for the podium spots.

Local favorite Rob Pearson finally broke through to win on his home track last month during the Steve Nace Racing All-Star round, and has always run strong during the Grand National events, but will he have what it takes to bring the Iowa-based Weirbach Racing Honda team it's first AMA Grand National win at Peoria tomorrow?

Jeffrey Carver, Jr., took the win at Castle Rock last Saturday, and the third year Expert now knows the taste of victory as a top-ranked rider in The Rolling Thunder Show and also could be considered among those to knock The Hammer off of his record-setting quest.  Will the 2010 Pro Singles Champion have what it takes for the second week in-a-row?

New Zanotti Racing signee and former AMA Pro Flat Track Rookie of the Year, Steve Bonsey, should also be considered a threat after taking a hard-fought 3rd-place last weekend at Castle Rock and putting on a text book pass during his heat race that was also a move that racing legends are made of.  Bonsey has proved in the last couple of off-seasons he has what it takes on the 450s as well as the Twins rides (#80 has two AMA Grand National wins under his belt at Calistoga and Tucson) while riding Zanotti-prepped bikes in the Gene Romero WCFTS events. 

Also look for early-season points leader and Daytona Short Track II winner Brandon Robinson to turn it around on his TJ Burnett Farms Kawasaki.  Although admittedly the TT events have never been his strong suit, missing the event at Castle Rock last weekend was a big blow to his title hopes and dropped him a couple more spots in the overall standings.

And although there are several other riders that could make their mark tomorrow at Peoria (including second year Expert, Briar Bauman, who had 2nd-place all but locked up and was going for the win when he crashed out at Castle Rock), or at least run very strongly, the one at the top of that list is former Zanotti rider and '10-'11 AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson.

After announcing just before last weekend's event at Castle Rock that he was splitting from the powerhouse Zanotti Racing team, Johnson took part in the TT event in Washington while riding a Brown's Cycle Honda.  Scheduled to take part in tomorrow's Peoria event aboard a Parkinson Brothers ride, the real big news is Jake's signing with the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports team for the remainder of the series schedule as a team mate to Henry Wiles on the potent Ducati.  Of course, Jake has some great finishes at Peoria, so before he gets to try out that new ride on the slick red Ducs at Indy in another week's time, he will also be looking to be in the mix again tomorrow after a lackluster (for him!) finish of 17th in Washington State.

In the shot above from round 14 of the 2011 season at the Peoria TT, the Grand National main event is ready to go as front row gets their last minute adjustments before heading out on a sighting lap to get ready for the 25-lap National main in Thunder Valley.

(L-R) Bryan Smith gets some help from his Dad, Barry on his #42 Honda CRF450R, Sammy Halbert snugs on his helmet straps as his brother and tuner Andy holds the #7 Fredericktown Yamaha YZ450F, Rob Pearson gets a grip on his #27 Matt Reecy Racing Yamaha, Jake Johnson is his usual picture of calm on the #1 Zanotti Racing Honda, Jared Mees (just out of picture) has his #9 Montgomeryville Cycle Honda steadied and readied by his then-tuner Brent Armbruster, and Henry Wiles concentrates heavily on the #17 Don's Kawasaki KX450F while Will Fulford of The Fast and makes some last second adjustments to his video equipment.

With the weather only calling for a 20% chance of showers tomorrow, hopefully the early season Midwest rain outs and postponements are behind us.

If you are in the area, the Peoria TT is a must-see event on the season and one that should surely be on any racing fan's bucket list.  But if you can't make it, follow along with AMA Pro Flat Track's Live Timing & Scoring and Live Streaming, and also be sure to tune into Miriam Deitcher's always excellent event coverage on her Flat Track Live page to stay in the know throughout the day's events.

Be sure and check out AMA Pro Flat Track's official preview release below for tomorrow's event, as first practice is scheduled to roll off at 11:30 ET/10:30 CT in Peoria.  You don't want to miss a thing as the greatest racing series on two wheels in the world heads to the Peoria TT for round 7 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season.

AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Visits Peoria for Round 7

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 8, 2013) - Following a quick swing up the west coast, AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles heads into the second half of the 2013 season. The return to the Midwest and the venerable Peoria TT will mark race seven of the 13 race series. The Peoria Motorcycle Club has hosted Grand National motorcycle races on their club grounds, PMC Race Park, since 1947.
Last week's winner at the Castle Rock TT, Jeffrey Carver, Jr. #23 takes the outside line with 8-Time Peoria TT winner Henry Wiles #17, Luke Gough #62 and Sammy Halbert #7 fight it out coming out of turn one during heat race #1 in last year's annual running of the Peoria TT.  Wiles is considered the hands-on favorite to set an all-time record of nine-straight wins in tomorrow's running of round 7 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season as the stars of The Rolling Thunder Show head to Thunder Valley at the Peoria Motorcycle Club-hosted event in Peoria, Il.  AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
To say Winn, Michigan's Henry Wiles has taken a liking to the .6 mile track would be a serious understatement, as the 27-year-old Don's Kawasaki rider has won the last eight races in dominating fashion at the historic venue. Wiles comes into the event sitting third in the overall point standings and will look to improve on that lead with another big performance at PMC Race Park.
Though Wiles is the clear-cut favorite to nine-peat this weekend, winning will be no easy task. 
Dryad, Washington's Brad Baker has been in rare form all season long and looks to be a man on a mission in 2013. Baker, who hasn't finished outside the top five in any of the season's first six main events, will be looking to build on his already strong lead in the point standings at Peoria.
Baker won't be the only rider aiming to knock Wiles off of his impressive streak of victories, as Clio, Michigan native and defending Grand National Champion Jared Mees looked very stout on his 450cc Honda CRF450R last weekend at Castle Rock. Mees comes into the weekend with back-to-back podium finishes after starting off the season fairly slow and will be looking to give Wiles all he can handle.
Another intriguing storyline heading into this weekend's event is Coatesville, New Jersey's Jake Johnson's recent signing with Lloyd Brothers Racing. Johnson, who won two Grand National Championships with Zanotti Racing, parted ways with the team just before the Castle Rock TT last weekend where he finished 17th on Salinas, Califnornia's Briar Bauman's backup bike. Johnson currently sits sixth in the overall point standings and could use a strong effort at Peoria to get him back into championship contention.
Quite possibly the most unpredictable rider thus far in 2013 has to be Oxford, Pennsylvania's Brandon Robinson. The 23-year-old has shown us glimpses of tremendous ability and talent - for example, when he won at Daytona and was the current points leader for the first three rounds. 
However, Robinson has also bewildered us on several occasions - for example, when he failed to qualify for the Castle Rock TT main event last weekend. It will be interesting to see which Brandon Robinson will show up this Saturday at Peoria as his current fourth place position in the overall points is certainly within striking distance of Baker's grip of first.
AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles
The AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles class is led by Mead, Washington's Wyatt Maguire (Kirkland Racing/Yamaha YZ 450F). Maguire, who finished sixth in the points last season, will be looking to build on his 12 point lead in the standings at Peoria after not having raced in the main event here last year.
Coming off a big win at the Castle Rock TT, Brisbane, Califnornia's Dominic Colindres is primed for another strong effort at Peoria this year after having won the Pro Singles race here a year ago. After getting off to a slow start, Colindres has gotten hot as of late and looks to roll over that momentum into this weekend's showdown at Peoria. Another rider who got off to a slow start but is beginning to heat up again is Davison, Michigan native and defending AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles Champion Stephen Vanderkuur.Vanderkuur has finished in the top five in three of the last four races and with a second-place finish here a year ago, the 21-year-old looks to be hitting his stride at just the right time.
About AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles

AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles is a national motorcycle racing series in North America and is considered one of the oldest forms of motorcycle racing. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, the Series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track racing in the world. The 2013 schedule consists of rounds on the country's finest flat track courses. For more information on AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles, please visit

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,



  1. Replies
    1. No, unfortunately AMA Pro Flat Track does not currently have a tv package in place. But you can keep up with the action with their streaming video that will be available for basic viewing (unlike the extensive PPV coverage offered a few weeks ago at the Sacto Mile.)


Keep it nice, but keep them coming!

---Please note---You can leave comments anonymously, but you can also leave them while logged into Google, Yahoo and other platforms.
We'd love to hear from you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.