Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bryan Smith Takes 5th Win In-a-Row at AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Round at the Sacramento Mile

Round 4 of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship went down late last night at the Sacramento Mile and Bryan Smith again came away the victor for his 5th win in-a-row at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds-hosted event in the California capitol. Smith, riding the #42 Howerton Motorsports/Crosley Brands/Villa-Esparza/Kawasaki-sponsored Kawasaki-sponsored EX650 that he used to win last week's National main at Springfield, held off a big charge from Brandon Robinson on the #44 Latus Motors/Castrol Oil-sponsored Triumph Bonneville to take the win at the 50th anniversary edition of the popular West Coast event. Defending AMA Grand National Champion Jared Mees was able to tighten the points up between himself and current points leader Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. by bringing the #1 Rogers Racing/Las Vegas H-D-sponsored XR750 home in the 3rd-place position.

This makes Flyin' Bryan's fourth win on a Kawasaki, after taking the win in 2011 on his father Barry's tuned Moroney's H-D XR. Smith's first win for current team owner Rick Howerton came at Sacto in late July 2012, and has since taken the top spot on the box on a derivative of Howerton's original build from their initial season together four seasons ago.

Last year when Howerton stepped back from the full-time grind of running the team, crew chief Jeff Gordon and head wrench 'Dink' Glidden paired up with the rest of the team and built the team and bikes around the popular C&J chassis that populates the paddock in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship. With Howerton stepping back in late in the off-season due to missing the thrill of the competition, they have since put together another rocket from Howerton's engineering mind that never seems to miss a beat nor come up with a new, winning combination. But, they have yet to use that new 'razor' look mount in any of the races, after having experienced some handling issues last week during the first practice at Springfield. But you can bet it won't be long for that combination to be hitting the track in anger ready to displace the current, albeit winning effort so far that is two-for-two in the first mile events of the long season.

In the shot above, Smith acknowledges the crowd after taking the win in heat race #1 on the #42 Howerton Motorsports/Crosley Brands/Kawasaki/Villa-Esparza-sponsored Kawasaki EX650 at the Springfield Mile I during round 3 of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Sunday, May 24. Smith went on to take all the marbles in setting fast time, winning his heat and the Dash for Cash, and then coming back to take his first win of the season at the Memorial Day weekend running of the classic event.

The series takes a short break in order to compete in the upcoming XGames events in Austin, TX. and will be shown on ESPN this coming Thursday, June 4 at 8:30 PM EDT. You won't want to miss seeing our heroes from The Rolling Thunder Show represent the sport we all love and cherish in front of a National tv audience and some of the biggest sports-minded fanatics and fans in the world. This will be big for the sport as well as for the level of competition at the XGames. So set your alarm clocks and DVRs NOW so you don't miss the great action ahead this Thursday!.

You can check out the full results from the Sacto Mile here, and a big thanks to AMA Pro Racing and the Sacto Mile for their full press releases, below.

Our picture review from last weekend's event at Springfield will be delayed until next weekend due to some pressing matters I have to address in Indy, but stay tuned as we WILL have it soon as promised and as we have been doing for some time now. Thanks for your patience!

A big congrats and a tip of the helmet go out to the Howerton Motorsports/Crosley Brands team headed up by Big Rick Howerton, Jeff Gordon and Dink Glidden of Indy, as well as star rider Bryan Smith from Flint, MI. for knocking it down last night in Sacramento. You guys went out their with a big mountain to climb to get Bryan his 5th win in-a-row and came away the victors over the other 36 GNC1 riders on hand on the Left Coast and slayed the dragon. Way to go guys, take a big bow, as you all truly deserve it, and you made us old long-time flat track heads damn proud!

Bryan Smith remains king in California, earns fifth-straight Sacramento Mile victory 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (May 30, 2015) - A handful of super-fast challengers and a second-row start would prove to be no problem for Bryan Smith in Saturday night's Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines main event. The rider of the No. 42 Crosley Radio Kawasaki made a last-moment draft pass to win his fifth-consecutive Sacramento Mile in show-stopping fashion in the 50th running of the iconic race.
Smith's .02-second win is easily one of the most dramatic victories of his career, as it took until the final few feet on the race's 25th and final lap to overtake Brandon Robinson.
Bryan Smith #42 leads Brad Baker #6, Jared Mees #1, Brandon Robinson #44 and Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. #2 in the running of the Sacramento Mile on Saturday, May 30. Smith went on to win his 5th in-a-row at the Cal-Expo Fairgrounds in the California capitol. Photo courtesy of AMA Pro Flat Track.
"It was a scrap," said Smith speaking about the final five laps of the race. "I wanted it to be just a one-on-one race with Jared (Mees) and I, but there were two other guys that wanted to race with us too, in Brad (Baker) and the No. 44 Brandon (Robinson). The guys made me work for it. I didn't know coming to the checkered flag if I could get Brandon or not. His bike was really strong, but luckily I just squeaked by at the end."
Smith has two wins in his last two races, both coming on Mile tracks, and now sits fifth in the point standings. Each of Smith's five straight Sacramento Mile wins have been by less than a tenth of a second. 
"They've all been hard in their own way," said Smith. "Last year, I had to work for it and this year it was even a tougher scrap. It makes it worth it more, I guess. I have to say, with five laps to go, I didn't know if I was going to be able to pull it off. I just dug down and thought to myself how everyone was watching so I guess I'd better go for it."
Robinson, riding the No. 44 Latus Motors Triumph, was spectacular on Saturday, and even though he wasn't able to survive Smith's last-second charge, he was pleased with a second place finish one week after finishing 17th at Springfield. Midway through the main, Robinson was among the riders trading the lead before running high in one corner and being shifted back in the field. He fought his way back to the front and even fended off a pass attempt from Smith entering turn three on the final lap, but he just couldn't keep a wheel in front at the line. Robinson now sits third in the point standings after four rounds.
Piloting the No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson machine, Mees finished third and closed out the podium. Mees was in the mix all night and even held the lead for several laps. The defending champion continues to show the consistency that led to his title in 2014 and now sits second in points. Mees has earned three podium appearances in the first four races of the year and looks poised for another championship run.
Baker, aboard the No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson, and Kenny Coolbeth Jr., riding the No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Mikey Martin, riding the No. 91 Weirbach Racing Kawasaki was the early hero on Saturday night, as he won his heat, earned the Dash for Cash victory and sat on the pole for the main event. In the main however, he led the first lap but wasn't able to hold his stride and settled for 10th.
Australian road racing star Troy Bayliss was running his second of five scheduled AMA Pro Flat Track events and showed improvement throughout the day. However, in his semifinal, he was involved in an on-track incident and was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.
The Sacramento Mile was the final AMA Pro Flat Track event prior to motorcycle dirt track racing's debut in the X Games. The Harley-Davidson Flat-Track will kick off the action sports showcase at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on Thursday, June 4 and fans around the world can watch the action live on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. PT).
In a wild GNC2 main event, Nick Armstrong came away with his first career AMA Pro Flat Track victory, and it came in his home state of California. Riding the No. 44E Southland Racing Honda, Armstrong was neck-and-neck with Tristan Avery on the race's final lap, but managed to put his wheel in front of the rookie for the win. By taking the checkered flag, Armstrong catapulted himself to first in the GNC2 point standings after four rounds.
"It's huge to come away with the Sacramento Mile win," said Armstrong. "This is kind of a home race for me and I have a lot of friends and family here, so to come away with this win is awesome."
Avery, riding the No. 16S Ron Ayers Motorsports Honda, recorded the best finish of his young professional career, and with the runner-up performance, now sits 15th in the standings.
Rounding out the podium with an impressive third place finish was Indiana's Brandon Wilhelm aboard the No. 24J Mike Butler Racing Honda. Wilhelm has now recorded three-consecutive top-five finishes to start the 2015 GNC2 season and sits second in points behind Armstrong.
Jamison Minor, riding the No. 27U Roy Built Honda and Kolby Carlile, aboard the No. 36B K.C. Cycle Helmet World Kawasaki, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
It was a rough finish to the night for Davis Fisher, who crashed while leading the main event after nine laps. The No. 67M Parkinson Brothers Racing rider held the points lead entering Sacramento, but his 17th place finish puts him back to third in the championship hunt.
Next up, the stars of AMA Pro Flat Track will visit Hagerstown, Md., for the Hagerstown Half-Mile on June 20 at Hagerstown Speedway. 
Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines Top 5 finishers
1. Bryan Smith, Kawasaki
2. Brandon Robinson, Triumph
3. Jared Mees, Harley-Davidson
4. Brad Baker, Harley-Davidson
5. Kenny Coolbeth Jr., Harley-Davidson
Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines Point Standings (After Round 4)
1. Kenny Coolbeth Jr., 67
2. Jared Mees, 62
3. Brandon Robinson, 56
4. Sammy Halbert, 55
5. Bryan Smith, 52
GNC2 Top 5 finishers
1. Nick Armstrong, Honda
2. Tristan Avery, Honda
3. Brandon Wilhelm, Honda
4. Jamison Minor, Honda
5. Kolby Carlile, Kawasaki
GNC2 Point Standings (After Round 4)
1. Nick Armstrong, 56
2. Brandon Wilhelm, 55
3. Davis Fisher, 52
4. Jamison Minor, 48
5. Andrew Luker, 46
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   

Press release courtesy of SMI Promotions/The Sacramento Mile.

Bryan Smith Makes It Five in a Row at the Sacramento Mile

Smith makes last lap slingshot pass to win
SACRAMENTO (May 30,2015) -- They may have to consider renaming the Sacramento Mile the Bryan Smith Mile if he keeps this up. Smith, from Flint, Mich., riding a Kawasaki, made a perfect slingshot pass past Triumph rider Brandon Robinson as they sped to the finish line to win the 50th running of Sacramento Mile by a slim margin of 0.020 seconds. For Smith it marked a record fifth consecutive win at the mile-long horse track inside Cal Expo.
Defending series champ Jared Mees finished third on his Harley-Davidson.
Smith called this victory the most difficult of the five he’s won here.


Bryan Smith (in cap), of Flint, Mich.,holds up the winner’s trophy after taking victory in the 50th running of the Sacramento Mile AMA Pro Grand National motorcycle race at Cal Expo on Saturday night. Smith shares the podium with third-place finisher Jared Mees (left) and runner up Brandon Robinson. (Photo by Larry Lawrence/
“I didn’t know if it was going to happen tonight,” Smith said. “All the top guys had tire-wear issues and I decided to just lay back and try to preserve my tires until the end. I came around on the final lap and Brandon (Robinson) was so fast on that Triumph, but I caught his draft just in the nick of time and was able to get by him at the finish.
“It’s a real honor to win this race five straight. I don’t know how long I can keep this going, but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts."
The race saw multiple lead changes throughout the 25-lap event. Acampo, California’s Mikey Martin led the first lap. Brandon Robinson, Jared Mees, Brad Baker and winner Smith all led portions of the race.
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., who finished fifth tonight, continues to lead the AMA Pro Grand National points standings by five points (67-62) over Mees after four of 16 rounds.
Former World Superbike Champion crashed in his Semi in turn three and ended up hitting the protective air fence lignin the wall on the outside of the turn. He was transported to the hospital with a possible broken right leg, according to his team.
Nick Armstrong, of Norco, Calif., won the GNC2 race on a Honda over Tristan Avery, of Chesterfield, Va., and Brandon Wilhelm, of Aurora, Ind. With the win Armstrong takes over the GNC2 points lead. Davis Fisher, leader coming into the race, suffered a hard crash and finished 17th. Fisher injured his left wrist in the fall.
Sacramento Mile AMA Pro Grand National top-10 results – Saturday, May 30, 2015

1. 42 Bryan Smith, Kawasaki EX650
2. 44 Brandon Robinson, Triumph Bonneville
3. 1 Jared Mees, Harley-Davidson XR750
4. 6 Brad Baker, Harley-Davidson XR750
5. 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., Harley-Davidson XR750
6. 23 Jeffrey Carver, Jr. Kawasaki EX650
7. 59 Willie McCoy, Harley-Davidson XR750
8. 7 Sammy Halbert, Kawasaki EX650
9. 15 Nichole Mees, Harley Davidson XR750
10. 91 Mikey Martin, Kawasaki EX650
Larry Lawrence
c. (317) 332-3899


Monday, May 25, 2015

Bryan Smith Wins AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Springfield Mile I on Crosley/Howerton/Kawasaki-sponsored Rocket


The 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Twins season got off to a roaring start yesterday at the Springfield Mile I, and an old favorite in the name of Bryan Smith on the #42 Crosley Brands/Howerton Motorsports/Villa-Esparza/Kawasaki-backed Kawasaki EX650 emerged as the winner after the 25-lap Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines National main was complete. Shown leading 24 of the 25-lap event, Smith had the power to stay ahead of 2nd-place Jared Mees on the #1 Rogers Racing XR750, who also held off Brad Baker on the #6 Harley-Davidson Motor Company XR at the line.

Smith was relegated to race one of his back-up bikes, a slight variation of the mount that took him to four wins during last year's campaign, with the C&J chassis. Flyin' Bryan's new mount for the 2015 season, which actually resembles a razor on two wheels, was giving him shock handling problems in the first four lap practice session, so the Crosley/Howerton team parked it in the trailer and went with the combination that worked so well last year. More on the new mount later.

Although Smith and Mees shared the laps led stats at the line, several other riders including Sammy Halbert, Willie McCoy and Brandon Robinson appeared to get the nod on the field, albeit just past the stripe, in first 8-10 laps of the race. Robinson, on the Latus Motors/Castrol Triumph ran with the lead pack during the first part of the race, to slowly fade and eventually drop out with an unknown mechanical problem. McCoy, on his self-built H-D of Wausau XR750, stayed with the lead pack until after the restart caused by Johnny Lewis's Lloyd Brothers Motorsports bucking him off on the front straight (thankfully mostly unhurt, at least to him). McCoy finished 5th, while Halbert stayed in the lead draft on his new ride with the Goad-tuned Kawasaki to finish in the 4th-place slot.

Other then some issues with the timing light system on the starts during the heats and semis, both for the GNC1 and GNC2 classes, the day went off with very few hitches, and thankfully the ambulance never had to roll once during the warm, windy and even at one point slightly-wet day. And AMA Pro Flat Track's new house cleaning over the off-months had little effect on the race's running.

An 'in the trailer' shot of Flyin' Bryan's new mount for this year, shows that obviously engineer/flat track maniac and devotee and again-team head Ricky Howerton has his hands back in the mix full time with the Kawasaki team that he originally introduced to the fans and paddock four seasons ago at Springfield.

For those that don't remember, Howerton stepped away at the end of the 2013 season in order to spend more time with his family, due to the commitment to the team and needing to be able to spend more quality time with his boys, now 13 and 14 years of age. While we all knew that this wouldn't last long for a guy who has been around the sport since the early-mid '80s, he was able to return to the competition that he truly loves and that is obviously ingrained in his bloodstream, while making a few arrangements in order to keep the family involved. So instead of working out of his Howerton Products shop on Gasoline Alley in Indy, or out of a race shop set up in the Speedway area just blocks from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the long time flat track nut is now working out of his own house on the far northwest side of Indy, thusly close to home where the boys can now help out Dad and his fellow cronies and stooges as they burn the midnight oil in search of that illusive dream-winning it all in the form of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship.

Shortly after Christmas of last year, Slick Rick went back to the drawing board and designed a whole new machine to again put underneath star rider, Michigan Man Flyin' Bryan. And redesign is far from complimenting the big re-do that he came up with. Slick and slim as a razor, the new machine sits 3" shorter at the head, and what appears to be at least 3-4" narrower then his original creations, which are now adorning his house in Indy as new interior decorations.

The small cutout you can see in the middle of the seat is the plug cover for the gas tank, which now sits completely underneath the rider, and the whole 'tank' and tail and number plate section is a one-piece monocoque design, all carbon fiber, and stiff as a steel door for rigidity. Howerton told me yesterday, "I have roughly 500-600 hours just in the computer design of the bike," (but didn't have enough fingers to add up the rest of the time put into this truly sleek, new machine), "but unfortunately Bryan had some shock-related handling issues occur during the first practice, and without enough track time to sort it out, we rolled out the back-up, which is just a slight variation of the bike he rode to four wins last year. We'll be ready for Sacramento next Saturday with the new one" where Smith is going for five wins in-a-row, three of which have come on Howerton-created and inspired bikes, and with any luck will add the fourth to have done so come late this Saturday.

If you make it to a race this year, you owe it to yourself to take the time to go down ,say 'hi' to Rick, Jeff Gordon, Dink and the rest of the team and check the new mount out. Radical is an often-used word, but it totally fits this new Howerton-created machine. Or maybe 'simply awesome!'

Of course, probably the next big story of the weekend was the appearance of former 3-Time World Superbike Champion, former MotoGP winner and Australian and British Superbike Champ Troy Bayliss, who finally appeared on the track in front of the fans on the #21I Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Ducati/ Motorcycles-sponsored Ducati 1100 'L' twin.

Many expected a good showing out of the popular Aussie, who during the fan walk portion of the day couldn't even be seen due to the throngs of fans and people swarming the LBM camp trying to get a word with the new AMA Pro Flat Track phenom. Although Bayliss didn't make the main (and not for want of trying, maybe more so for lack of time and comfort on the bike), every session he made laps at the mecca of speed he would saw a little more off of his lap times, and was visibly becoming little-by-little more comfortable aboard the sleek yellow and pearl machine.

With still four events left on TB21's schedule, he still has plenty of time to become more acclimated with the new bike and in getting into his comfort zone. And with the might of the LBM boys behind him, that curve should be narrowed considerably, and we may even see more out of him come this Saturday at the Sacramento Mile. Either way, his presence in the sport is a great shot in the arm for AMA Pro Flat Track and the show we all know as The Rolling Thunder Show.

We'll have more before the end of next weekend, as we will do one of our mini photo reviews of all that went down yesterday in Springfield.

In the meantime, you can check out the full results here thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track, read up on the race here thanks to my great traveling partner, Larry Lawrence and his short story over on Cycle News, and below check out the press release from AMA Pro Flat Track as well as the link below to see all of the action from yesterday's super events in Springfield.

Bryan Smith caps action-packed Springfield Mile with thrilling victory 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 24, 2015) - Bryan Smith surprised very few people on Sunday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds when he swiped the Springfield Mile checkered flag in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines main event.
Piloting his powerful No. 42 Crosley Radio Kawasaki, Smith was tested by Jared Mees on the race's final lap when the defending Grand National Champion went low in turn four and took the lead from Smith for a brief moment. However, he reclaimed the top spot on the front stretch after putting his Kawasaki in perfect position to outrun Mees' No. 1 Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson to the finish line.

Bryan Smith #42 leads Jared Mees #9, Sammy Halbert #7, Willie McCoy #59, Brad Baker #6, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. #2 and Brandon Robinson #44 in the early laps of the Springfield Mile I on Sunday, May 24. Smith led 24 of the 25-lap National main (Mees led lap 10 at the line) to claim the win in an exciting race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile oval. AMA Pro Flat Track photo.

"This win feels great," said Smith. "Everyone kept it clean and it was a really good race. I have to thank my team as they've been behind me from the start. I also want to thank Kawasaki for coming on board this year, that's really huge."
The win marked Smith's 18th career Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines victory and his fifth at Springfield. The Flint, Mich., native now sits seventh in the point standings and will be looking to earn another win next weekend when the series visits Sacramento, Calif., for the Sacramento Mile. It's a track where Smith has been dominant, winning his last four main events there.
Three-time World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss failed to make the main event aboard his 21I Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati, however, the Aussie showed signs of improvement as the day went on, decreasing his lap times in every on-track session.
"I'm really pleased with the way things went," said Bayliss. "These guys are younger than me and they cut their teeth on this sport. They've been doing it year-in and year-out for many years and they're very good. After my first session, I was like 'Wow, this is going to be quite difficult today.' But every session I gained a second and by the end of the day I was basically one second off the fast time. I knew making the main event would be hard. It was good to race these guys. It was sweet. The bike was nice and there's a few little things we need to work on, but it's about me getting comfortable."
Mees didn't have enough to take the win from Smith at the end of the main, and he was even left with a battle for third with Brad Baker on the No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson as the two crossed the line. Mees now sits second in points and remains arguably the most consistent rider on the circuit.
Baker was barely a wheel behind Mees, showing the 2013 Grand National Champion is fully healed from an arm injury suffered during the offseason. Baker sat behind No. 7 Briggs Auto Kawasaki rider Sammy Halbert for the majority of the main, but got by late to challenge Mees for the second spot. Baker's third place finish improves his position in the point standings to eighth, while Halbert's fourth place effort moves him to third. Rounding out the Springfield Mile top five in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class was Willie McCoy, aboard his Harley-Davidson of Wausau XR-750. Kenny Coolbeth maintained the points lead with a seventh place finish on his No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson.
In his second career Springfield Mile start, Davis Fisher rode his No. 67M Racing Unlimited Kawasaki to the GNC2 main event victory. Starting from third on the grid, Fisher benefited from earning the holeshot following the second staggered start of the main, proving once again that he is one of the fastest riders in GNC2 today. 
Fisher edged a charging Jamison Minor in the race's final laps to earn his first victory of 2015, and his win puts him atop the point standings after three rounds. "As the race went on, I knew it was going to come down to the final laps," said Fisher. "I saw (Jamison) Minor catching up to me and I just didn't want to make any mistakes. It was definitely a battle and a great race. It feels good to get the win and achieve my goal today."
Minor's second-place effort aboard his No. 27U Roy Built Kawasaki moves him to sixth in the GNC2 point standings.
Closing out the podium was the No. 44E Goeken Racing Kawasaki rider, Nick Armstrong, while Brandon Wilhelm, riding the 24J Mike Butler Racing Kawasaki and Dan Bromley, aboard the No. 54A Bill Werner Racing Kawasaki, rounded out the top five, respectively. Andrew Luker owned the GNC2 points lead heading into Springfield, but a crash on lap three of the main event forced him out of the race, clearing the way for a big shakeup in the standings. Luker's 18th place finish puts him back to third in points.
Next up, the stars of AMA Pro Flat Track will visit Sacramento, Calif., for the Sacramento Mile on May 30. For tickets and information regarding the event, scheduled to take place at the Cal Expo, please visit or call 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453).
Fans can also watch every round of the AMA Pro Flat Track season live online, in high definition and free of charge at
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   

AMA Pro Flat Track Round 3 from the iconic Springfield Mile now available for VOD viewing

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  (May 24, 2015) - The legendary Springfield Mile didn't disappoint Sunday, May 24. The best flat track racers in the world took to the legendary track to battle it out at arguably the most prestigious event on the calendar. See Jared Mees, Bryan Smith, Kenny Coolbeth Jr., Sammy Halbert and Brad Baker battle it out in the elite Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class, and watch the up-and-comers of the GNC2 class try to establish themselves on the fastest Mile on the AMA Pro Flat Track Circuit. 

Springfield Mile I Harley-Davidson GNC1
presented by Vance & Hines main event
Springfield Mile I GNC2 Main Event
Springfield Mile I GNC2 Main Event
Other videos from AMA Pro Flat Track can be seen at:
Every round of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track season will be available live, in high definition and free of charge for fans to watch online at
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   

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tomorrow Will See the Riders of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Take to the Springfield Mile I

The big event that kicks off the meat of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season is nearly upon us, as the men and women of The Rolling Thunder Show will take to the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile oval tomorrow morning in the season's first Twins Series event at the renowned Springfield Mile I.

With too many rider and team changes, let alone stories to go along with this year's championship battle, this year's first big race of the year will see spectators, fans, riders and teams all alike not only paying attention to the fast-paced action on the track, but to the various changes within the series ranks and the new stars that will be taking to the track along with the series' veterans to do battle over the course of the Memorial Day weekend classic.

With changes among the ranks in the Ducati camp-which will see former AMA Supermoto Champions Johnny Lewis #10 aboard a Lloyd Brothers Motorsports mount, the team will also be hosting the first of five events for former 3-Time World Superbike Champion, Australian Troy Bayliss.

With former 2-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson having split from the LBM team over the course of the off-season, Jersey Jake will be joining another former Rookie of the Year, Briar Bauman, on the also totally revamped Hart Racing/USC Kawasaki team.

Brandon Robinson, the 2013 double mile winner at the Springfield Mile, has joined up with the Triumph ranks, as has former Rookie of the Year Jake Shoemaker, while former Triumph rider and one of the first ladies of racing, Shayna Texter, will be aboard a Crosley Brands-sponsored Kawasaki. Former Pro Twins/Pro Singles rider Jarod Vanderkooi, who blitzed both of the Springfield Mile Pro Twins rounds last year on his family-owned Kawasaki, has joined former Pro Singles Champ Jeffrey Carver, Jr. on the Don's Kawasaki team for the new season. And Henry Wiles, the former Don's Kawi rider, has split from the team and is now a team mate to the second-winningest rider from the 2014 season, former 3-Time AMA Grand National Twins Champion Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the Zanotti Racing team.

One of Zanotti's former men, Stevie Bonsey, a 2-time AMA Grand National race winner, has joined back up with the Dodge Brothers racing team, who won the championship with Brad Baker in the 2013 season, and whom he raced for when he won his first Grand National main back several years ago. Sammy Halbert has left his family owned team and joined forces with Scott Powersports, while one of the Fast Boys from Illinois, Rob Pearson, made use of his tryout with the Waters Autobody KTM team from late last season to return to battle with the New York-based team for this season. And former AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Champion Mikey Martin has returned to the Iowa-based Weirbach Racing team that took him to the championship during the 2011 season, to race their sleek and fast new Kawasakis.

And two new teams have also emerged over the course of the down time since late last year in the forming of Myers Motorsports with California Kid Chad Cose behind the throttle of their sharp looking new Kawasakis, and Cory Texter will be aboard a Babe Demay-built Yamaha FZ-07-based parallel twin that will be looking to reinstate the long history of flat track racing that the twin tuning fork brand made in the sport back in the '70s with a fairly well known racer by the name of Kenny Roberts.

I may have missed some changes and placement swaps over the course of the off-season, but like I said the stories and changes made over the last 6-7 months is pretty long and deep and should make for what should be one of the most historical seasons of bar banging action in the greatest racing series on two wheels in the world.

In the shot above, riders get ready to take their sighting lap prior to the start of the Springfield Mile II over the Labor Day weekend on August 31, 2014.

(L-R)  Jake Shoemaker on the #55 USC Kawasaki/Hart Racing/Hot Shot-sponsored Kawasaki EX650, Henry Wiles on the #17 Don's Kawasaki/DPC Racing/EA Racing-backed Kawasaki, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the #2 Zanotti Racing/Moroney's H-D/Burt Ives Honda-sponsored Harley-Davidson XR750, Bryan Smith on the #42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio/Howerton Products-sponsored Kawasaki, Jared Mees on the #9 Rogers Racing/Las Vegas H-D/Blue Springs H-D-backed XR750 and Jake Johnson on the #5 Ramspur Winery/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Parkinson Brothers Racing-sponsored Kawasaki get ready to lead the pack off the line to check out the track before settling in to do battle during the 25-lap main event at the mecca of speed.

Others viewable in the shot are: Brandon Robinson on the #44 TJ Burnett Farms/Bob Lanphere's Beaverton Motorcycles/Dan Wall Racing-sponsored Kawasaki (just behind Mees' right shoulder), Sammy Halbert on his #7 South East H-D/White's H-D/Specialty Fabrication-backed Kawasaki, Willie McCoy on his #59 H-D of Wausau/Tucker Rocky/Independence H-D-sponsored XR750 and Rob Pearson on the #27 KTM/GE Capital/Waters Autobody Racing-backed KTM LC8 950 all get ready to follow suit at the wave of the AMA Pro Flat Track official's arm.

And although there are a bunch of changes to watch out for at Springfield, there are also lots of non-changes happening. Willie McCoy returns to the track where he won two back-to-back mile events on his Texas XR750, Brad Baker returns to the track on the factory H-D with his new #6 number plate, Bryan Smith returns for the fourth season aboard a slightly different variation of the Howerton/Villa-Esparza/Crosley Kawasaki (we knew Rick Howerton couldn't keep from getting his fingers in the middle of things for too long!), Jared Mees is back with Rogers Racing and Kenny Tolbert sporting the #1 plate again, the team and combination that he won the 2014 championship with, and Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. as mentioned is back for his second season with 3-Time AMA Grand National Champions Zanotti Racing.

Although the weather forecast for Springfield on Sunday isn't looking very favorable at the moment, we are all hoping that the day of great racing gets off without a hitch and we all see a super race among the ranks of the best of the best racers in the world at Springfield.

You can follow all of the action here, including the link to, should you be one of the very unfortunate ones that won't be able to be there in person to witness the great day ahead of us. And with any luck, Stu's Shots will be there to bring back a truckload of shots, gossip and meat to chew on as we get ready for one of the strongest seasons of racing in recent history in The Rolling Thunder Show's version of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship. It's almost time to go racing!

AMA Pro Flat Track riders gearing up for
highly anticipated Springfield Mile

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 20, 2015) - Thanks to increased factory support, special superstar competitors and new motorcycles destined to contend with Harley-Davidson and Kawasaki for podium appearances, the upcoming Springfield Mile is perhaps one of AMA Pro Flat Track's most highly anticipated events in recent memory.
Roughly a month ago, news broke that Australian road racing legend and three-time World Superbike champion, Troy Bayliss, would compete in the premier Harley-Davdison GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines division at five AMA Pro Flat Track events during the 2015 season. The first of those much-anticipated races is Memorial Day Weekend's Springfield Mile, set to take place this Sunday, May 24, at the historic Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. Bayliss will ride a Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati Scrambler with the No. 21I. Powered by an air cooled Hypermotard-based 1100cc V-twin, the motorcycle has made steady progress since the Lloyd Brothers began racing it in 2010.
Not only will Bayliss challenge the world's greatest dirt track racers, but he'll do so on their home turf. The Springfield Mile is the crown jewel of the AMA Pro Flat Track schedule and each Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines competitor will be licking their chops at the opportunity to show the Aussie what racing in the world's premier flat track series is really about.
Bayliss and his Lloyd Brothers teammate, Johnny Lewis, will both be trying to put a Ducati on the podium. The iconic Italian manufacturer has shown speed in AMA Pro Flat Track events before, and with extra support and tons of talent pushing the bikes around the track, there are high hopes for a strong showing.
Springfield is also one of the final AMA Pro Flat Track events before the sport makes its debut in the X Games, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on June 4. In addition to fighting for the podium, the riders who received invites to compete in the immensely popular action sports showcase will certainly be looking to make sure they are ready for the international spotlight.
Defending Grand National Champion Jared Mees is aiming for his third title in four seasons, and the Clio, Mich., resident knows he must perform well at Springfield if he wants to achieve his goal. Last year, he recorded two third place Springfield Mile finishes and he'll look to improve on those results this go-around aboard his No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson/Rogers Racing XR750.
The defending champion's eagerness to perform well extends far beyond wanting to retain the coveted GNC1 No. 1 plate, as Harley-Davidson has agreed to pay $25,000 to the top rider utilizing their equipment in 2015. Mees was the undisputed top Harley-Davidson rider last year, but he'll have to be at the top of his game again this season if he wants to cash in on Harley-Davidson's generous bonus fund with a collection of elite riders hot on his tail. Mees is coming into Springfield fourth in GNC1 points.
One of Mees' biggest competitors, Kenny Coolbeth Jr., is certainly a rider to look out for in 2015, and this weekend at Springfield. The No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson XR750 rider will look to build off his six-point lead in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines point standings, as well as preserve his impressive run at Springfield.
Coolbeth made headlines last season by winning the second Springfield Mile aboard a Harley-Davidson, ending a streak of four straight Kawasaki victories at the hallowed fairgrounds. He finished second in the first Springfield Mile in 2014.  The Morris, Conn., native got off to a hot start this year at the DAYTONA Flat Track doubleheader, earning third and first place finishes to lead the GNC1 title chase heading into Springfield. Look for him to not only finish high in the running order this weekend at Springfield, but to be in contention for the championship all year.
Coolbeth leads Brandon Robinson in points after two rounds, and Sammy Halbert is another six points back of Robinson. Springfield will see Robinson make his debut on the No. 44 Latus Motors Triumph while Halbert will ride his No. 7 Briggs Auto Kawasaki for the first time.
Robert Pearson rounds out the top five in points coming into Springfield. The rider of the No. 27 KTM already has a pair of top 10s to his credit in 2015.
Brad Baker represents another Harley-Davidson rider gunning for the podium at Springfield. The No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson pilot had an off year in 2014 by his standards, finishing fifth in points just one season removed from winning the Grand National Championship. He was, however, admittedly hampered by an arm injury early in the season. The Dryad, Wash., native will look to get his momentum back at Springfield after recording fifth and ninth place finishes in the Mile last year, but he's again recovering from an offseason arm injury incurred at the Superprestigio in Barcelona, Spain. Baker wasn't 100 percent at Daytona, but still made both main events, so with extra time to heal, he'll look to be a contender at Springfield.
Jake Johnson #5, Bryan Smith #42, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. #2 (partially hidden), Brandon Robinson #44, Henry Wiles #17 and Jared Mees #9 battle during the Dash for Cash event at the Springfield Mile I in May 2014. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
Flint, Mich., product Bryan Smith will pilot the No. 42 Crosley Brands Kawasaki EX650 at Springfield, and there's no argument that Smith has been the dominating force on Mile courses over the last several seasons. Smith won three out of five Miles last year and was second to Coolbeth in the other two. He's sitting 21st after both Daytona rounds, but will look to skyrocket up the point standings in Springfield.
Smith, along with the other Kawasaki competitors in AMA Pro Flat Track's elite GNC1 class, will benefit from a new contingency program installed by Kawasaki to reward riders competing on their machinery for the 2015 season. The reigning AMA Pro Flat Track Manufacturer of the Year has graciously agreed to post a total of $75,450 in the form of per-race and year-end payouts to Kawasaki riders.
Along with Harley-Davidson and Kawasaki, another prominent manufacturer is making a splash in AMA Pro Flat Track this season. Riders on Yamaha equipment in both the GNC1 and GNC2 classes will benefit from a dramatically increased contingency program by the manufacturer in 2015. A total of $106,400 is up for grabs between both classes for eligible "bLU cRU" riders over the course of the season.
In addition to Yamaha's increased contingency, the manufacturer will have Cory Texter pilot the new No. 65 Yamaha Motor USA/Memphis Shades Yamaha FZ-07 built into a frame made by dirt track legend Babe DeMay at Springfield for the first time ever.
Cory's sister, Shayna Texter, will ride a No. 52 Crosley Radio Kawasaki EX650 at Springfield. It's her second season competing in GNC1 and the first time she'll use her new National Number on a twin. Cory and Shayna are the first brother and sister to both earn National Numbers.
Bayliss isn't the only road racer adding crossover appeal to the Springfield Mile. Two-time defending DAYTONA 200 champion Danny Eslick recently announced he will compete in the Springfield Mile aboard a T&R Racing Harley-Davidson XR750 in GNC1 competition. Eslick has a flat track background, but has enjoyed success during his career as a road racer. He also received a coveted invite to the X Games, giving him added incentive to get up to speed quickly on the dirt.
The GNC2 field includes up-and-comers like DAYTONA Flat Track winner and current points leader Andrew Luker, who is scheduled to pilot the No. 11Z Kennedy Racing Harley-Davidson this weekend, and Davis Fisher, last year's GNC2 runner-up. Fisher is set to ride his No. 67M Racing Unlimited Kawasaki.
Whoever emerges victorious in the GNC2 will be a first-time winner at Springfield. AMA Pro Flat Track moved to the thundering twins at the Mile in 2013 with Shayna Texter pulling a sweep that year. Last season, Jarod Vanderkooi dominated both Springfield races. Both riders have since moved up to GNC1, clearing the way for the likes of Luker or Fisher to taste victory. GNC2 rookie Dalton Gauthier sits third in points and is coming off the first podium of his career with a third place showing in Round 2. Fisher is fourth in the standings, three points back of Gauthier and a single point in front of Brandon Wilhelm, who rounds out the top five coming into Springfield.
So far, there are 28 GNC2 riders pre-entered to compete in the Springfield Mile, and this number will only grow as we approach race day on Sunday.
J.R. Addison will look to rebound this season after suffering a crash at Springfield a year ago. The accident left him sidelined for several races but the No. 24F Smith Racing Kawasaki rider appears healthy in 2015 and ready to give it another go.
For tickets and more information on the Springfield Mile, fans are encouraged to call (217) 753-8866 or visit The entire event will be broadcast live, in high definition and free of charge for fans around the world at
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   

Jim Rice Named as Grand Marshal for AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Sacramento Mile on May 30

Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jim Rice Named Sacramento Mile Grand Marshal
SACRAMENTO (May 20, 2015) – Jim Rice, the Motorcycle Hall of Famer from Northern California, has been named Grand Marshal for the 50th running of the Sacramento Mile, which takes place May 30, 2015 at Cal Expo. Rice, who perhaps is best known for a hard crash he suffered into the outside fence at the Sacramento Mile that was captured on film and featured in the iconic movie On Any Sunday, was one of the top motorcycle racers in America in the late 1960s and early ‘70s.
Rice was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2001.
“Jim is true legend here in Northern California and across the country for his racing accomplishments,” said SMI’s Steve McLaughlin. “We’re happy he’s letting us honor him as Grand Marshal and allowing our fans to show him their appreciation for all he did during his career.”
Rice was a leading AMA Grand National racer during an especially memorable period of the series. During his six-year professional racing career, Rice scored 12 AMA national wins. He won on mile, half-mile and TT circuits. All but one of his victories came on BSA motorcycles.
Rice was a championship contender for most of his career. He scored a series-leading six national wins in 1970, but came up just short in the final standings, finishing second to Gene Romero in that year’s championship. That season was famously chronicled by the movie On Any Sunday and showed a brutal crash Rice suffered at the Sacramento Mile that may have cost him that year’s title.
Chuck Palmgren immediately shut off the throttle on his bike upon taking the checkered flag in his heat race. Rice, who was inches behind Palmgren, wasn’t expecting the abrupt slow down and had to veer to the right to avoid hitting Palmgren.

Rice clipped the gearshift and put it into a false neutral. He tried desperately to put it back into gear and slow it down with the rear brake at the same time. At the last second, Rice found he was approaching the turn way too fast and he slid down and crashed into the outside barrier with the motorcycle flying up into a photographer who was taking photos of the crash.
Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Mile, by Dan Mahony.

Rice, battered and bleeding from a broken nose, was taped up and bravely raced in the Sacramento final, but was only able to finish 15th, while Romero won the race. It was a major turning point in the season and Romero went on to win the championship over Rice.
“As a racer you do what you’ve got to do,” Rice said of riding in spite of his dire condition back in the 1970 Sacto Mile. “I was doing everything I could to reach my dream of being number one. To this day people love to talk to me about that part of On Any Sunday.
“I’m looking forward to coming to the Sacramento Mile. It’s an honor to be asked to be Grand Marshal of such an historic event and I look forward to talking with the fans and sitting right there with them to watch some great racing.”
The AMA Pro Grand National Championship series is one of the longest running motorcycle racing championships in the world. On the long straights of the Sacramento Mile top speeds can reach 130 miles per hour. Flat track racing has produced many of America’s Motorcycle Grand Prix Champions such as Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts, Jr. and Nicky Hayden. Visit to keep up with all the latest on the event.
Practice for the 50th Sacramento Mile begins on Saturday, May 30 at 2:00 p.m. and opening ceremonies for the evening program kick off at 6:00 p.m.
*** 2015 Ticket Information: Ticket information is available for the May 30, 2015 Sacramento Mile at
Fans can order tickets online  at, by calling 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453).
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the Cal Expo Group Sales Department at for more information.