Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wrapping Up Brad Baker's 1st AMA Grand National Championship & 2nd Win of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship Season at the Pomona Half-Mile

2013 AMA Grand National Champion Brad Baker was a monster in the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season, in winning two races, garnering eight podiums (one of which his points were taken away due to a protest filed at the Daytona Short Track II round where questionable use of improper front forks caused his finish to be questioned) and 12 top-5 finishes for the 13-round season. His only blip on the radar for his otherwise stellar season was a 19th-place finish at the Colonial Downs round in late August when his motor on his #12 Dodge Brothers Racing H-D XR750 went south during the early going of the National main.

Not bad for the fine young man out of Washington State, who had battled equipment and team issues throughout the 2012 season, and after earning the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Saddlemen Rookie of the Year while earning nine top-5 finishes on the season while piloting the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati in the Twins Series and his own Honda's in the Singles Series. Oh, and not to mention also capturing the 2013 AMA Grand National Twins Series Championship after his 2nd-place finish at the Peoria TT in early August, to go along with his 2009 AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Championship in the first year of the junior series on the schedule.

And now at the ripe young age of 20 years old, Baker has become the 3rd-youngest AMA Grand National Champion (or the fourth youngest if you consider Jay Springsteen had captured the '76-'77 titles at age 18 and 19.)  No matter how you spin the numbers, Bad Brad 'The Bullet' Baker has put together some very impressive numbers in nailing down his first of what could be many titles in The Rolling Thunder Show.

In the shot above, Baker and his #12 Dodge Brothers Racing/Sefnco Communications/Specialty Fabrication-sponsored XR750 team head out for the rider intros prior to the Indy Mile in round 8 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season on August 17. Team coach and rider strategist and former AMA Grand National #23 Kevin Atherton guides the immaculately prepared Harley-Davidson out to the line while his father, Dave Atherton, and the man behind the brains and brawn that powered Baker's XR throughout the year follows closely behind with the starter motor.  The Bullet pulled off a 3rd-place finish that night, one of his eight top-3s of the season, behind eventual winner Bryan Smith, the man Baker fought with throughout the season and at the final round in what was one of the best and closest battles on a half-mile track in what seems like ages, and 2nd-place finisher at Indy Brandon Robinson, who also battled with the duo to the end for the elusive championship honors.

To read more about the final round of the season, check out this great story from Cycle News' Andrea Wilson, who did a fine job of covering the season-finale on the left coast.

And for a super recap of Baker's season, Cycle News' Larry Lawrence does another fine job of touting the superior year that The Bullet had in 2013 in this story out this week. And a big thanks, again, to LL for putting up with me and dragging me along to the races this season-it was a grand time as it has been for the last four seasons and who makes the race weekends even more enjoyable and fun then what they already are--you are a fine man and a great friend and I appreciate all you have done to help me out and show me the ropes!

Last but not least, a big tip of the helmet and a hearty congrats to Brad Baker, for doing only what two other men younger than him have done in the over 60 years of racing in the AMA Grand National Championship, and for never getting down, letting up or hitting any major bumps (okay, maybe just one at Colonial Downs, but who's counting, right?!) along the way to capture what is surely the first of many more AMA Grand National Championships. You da man dude, so take a big bow as you and the Dodge Brothers Racing team and the Atherton Family deserve it for such super year and for being a wise old man for a wise young man.  Great job!

AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Recap: Pomona Half-Mile 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 17, 2013) - The way Brad Baker (Dodge Bros Racing/Harley-Davidson) threw his hands up in merriment as he stood atop the podium following his clutch win at the LA County Fairplex in Pomona, Calif. to close out the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles season and earn the coveted AMA Pro Grand National Championship last weekend, it looked as if he had just reached the pinnacle of his career. However, the 20-year-old from Mead, Wash. appears to have only breached the surface of his talent and seemingly unlimited potential as a professional motorcycle racer in the world's most elite form of dirt track racing.
Brad Baker on the #12 Dodge Brothers Racing XR750 is shown in action at round 13 of the AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season at the Pomona Half-Mile on October 12. Not only did The Bullet clinch the championship with his second win of the season at the season-finale round, but he did it by winning the event in total dominating form. Congrats to The Champ on a fine year, very well deserved! AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
Baker's victory last weekend was his second on the season and the single-most important win of his young, yet already illustrious career. The former Saddlemen Rookie of the Year Award recipient has made nothing but huge strides since turning pro in 2009 and entering the Grand National Championship in 2011. Though Baker entered the 2013 season with an already impressive resume that included an AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles title in his debut 2009 season, he still set the bar high for himself this year as there were a few more accolades to be obtained.
Baker produced three consecutive bittersweet second-place main event results to open up the 2013 season and finally broke the win barrier at Hagerstown on July 6 when he earned his first career victory at the GNC Expert level. Baker didn't win again until the finale, when he rode his Harley-Davidson XR750 brilliantly to claim his first AMA Pro Grand National Championship and National No. 1 plate. Altogether, Baker claimed two race wins and six podiums in 13 rounds -- finishing outside the top ten only once -- and in 2013, those numbers added up to #1. The young star will have the iconic number emblazoned on his motorcycle with pride in 2014. 
After winning the coveted Grand National Championship crown, Baker said, "When I crossed the finish line for the final time it was almost a surreal feeling. To see the checkered flag and know that I had just won the championship was an incredible moment that I can't really explain."
When asked about his near incident between turns one and two early on, a potential wreck that almost cost him his shot at the title, Baker replied "I was just pushing hard out there. I never enter a race with aspirations of coming in second place. I go 100% every time out and have confidence in my ability to stay within myself and put up good results. Bryan (Smith) gave me a great run all day and the fact that the championship was on the line made it even more competitive. He's a great guy to race against because you know he's going to give you a clean strong effort as well."
Crosley Radio's Bryan Smith finished second in the overall GNC title chase but he did manage to lock up the AMA Pro Grand National Expert Twins Championship. Smith's second-place effort at Pomona was his seventh podium of the season and the Flint, Mich. product had one of his most impressive seasons to date.
Another rider who had an outside shot at overtaking Baker in the overall points was TJ Burnett Farms' Brandon Robinson. Robinson entered the weekend 15 points back after scorching the competition and completing the double with his back-to-back victories at Springfield. Robinson's late season heroics were halted at Pomona, however, as the Oxford, Pa. native never could get himself in position to threaten Baker in the main event. Robinson's ninth-place effort was enough, though, to salvage a career best third-place position in the final overall GNC point standings.
"It was a great opportunity for me to even have a shot at the championship going into the final race," said Robinson. "I struggled a little bit at Pomona but my team and I are definitely happy about the way things went this season. The great thing about it is that I'll be with the same team, TJ Burnett Farms, again next season so that will just be another year of chemistry that we'll have together as we try to roll over some momentum going into 2014."
Rod Lake Racing's Briar Bauman put together his finest performance of the season with a third-place effort at Pomona. Bauman closed out the podium mounted on the only Suzuki in the field. 

Defending Grand National Champion Jared Mees (Rogers Racing/Harley-Davidson) finished fourth at Pomona and in the overall standings. Though Mees had a below-average season for his undoubtedly high standards, he did manage to rebound after early-season woes and a mid-season injury that cost him severe ground in the points. Mees finished with one win and four podiums in 2013 and will strive to improve on those results and compete for the overall GNC again next season. 
All in all, five different makes of motorcycles made up the top ten in the finale at Pomona, magnifying the increased diversity of motorcycle brands competing for wins in 2013. Jake Johnson finished seventh on a Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati while Johnny Lewis came in tenth place riding a Latus Motors Racing Triumph Bonneville. 
AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles
One point. That was the difference between the AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles Championship falling on the east coast or landing out west. Mead, Wash.'s Wyatt Maguire (Kirkland racing/Yamaha) edged out archrival and Albion, N.Y. product Ryan Wells (Waters Auto Body/Honda) last weekend by a single point in the final standings to claim his first ever championship. Maguire entered the final bout with a five-point cushion over Wells, a lead that looked to be safe for the majority of the evening until Maguire slipped from third on the grid to fourth with four laps remaining while Wells maintained a comfortable second-place position. Maguire would hold on to finish fourth and hang on to his lead in the points by a single marker, edging out a second-place finishing Wells on the AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles leaderboard 137-136.
Aside from the title fight between Maguire and Wells, the fastest man on the track in J&P Cycles Pro Singles competition last weekend was Bucyrus, Ohio's J.R. Addison. Addison (Parkinson Brothers Racing/Honda) led all but one lap in the main event and went on to record his best finish of his career, winning by 7.236 seconds over the field to close out the 2013 season. Addison is most definitely a name to watch out for in 2014 as the 16-year-old is just getting started in what looks to be a promising career for the young gun. He finished 13th in the standings in his first season at the J&P Cycles Pro Singles level and is already looking to improve upon that in '14.
Fan favorite and Willow Street, Pa. native Shayna Texter put together a decent performance in the season's final event, coming in seventh on her No. 25A Crosley Radio/DFW Honda to close out the year. Texter had a stellar year as she finished fourth in the points despite missing two races in 2013. What was most impressive about the 22-year-old female phenom this year is that her best performances came in AMA Pro Basic Twins competition, where she shredded the competition at Springfield, earning two landslide victories on a Kawasaki EX650. Texter's wins came in such dominating fashion that she left zero doubt in anyone's minds that she belongs at the most elite level of competition; and it's only a matter of time before she gets there.
Twin Lake, Mich. product and J&P Cycles Pro Singles rookie Kyle Johnson (Mike Raugh/Kawasaki) produced yet another podium result with a third-place finish last weekend at Pomona. Johnson proved to be one of the better stories of '13, as he catapulted onto the scene at Daytona with his first career victory in Race 1 and refused to let up on the throttle for the remainder of the season. Johnson captured four total podiums in 2013 and went on to finish fifth in the J&P Cycles Pro Singles point standings.
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. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, the Series is one of the oldest forms of motorcycle racing and 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 dirt track courses. For more information on AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles, please visit www.amaproracing.com/ft.
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 www.amaproracing.com.  

For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014, communications@amaproracing.com


No comments:

Post a Comment

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.