AMA: Johnson Reigns at Hagerstown
AMA Pro Racing Press Release
After a three week layoff, the stars of the AMA Pro Grand National Twins Championship were back in action on the Hagerstown Speedway half mile. Persistent rain showers had the event in jeopardy, but hard work by the track crew rounded the red clay oval into shape. The AMA Pro Racing staff then implemented a short program of two Pro Singles Heats with a twelve lap Main and three Expert Heats, one Dash and a twenty five lap National.
Even once the racing was under way, light sprinkles could be felt off and on. The nineteen rider, twenty five lap National saw points leader Jared Mees lead the first lap on his # 21 Blue Springs Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson / Rogers Lake Racing's XR-750 Harley-Davidson. Mees was quickly displaced by fast qualifier Sammy Halbert on his # 43 Halbert Family / King Kustom's Harley along with the # 14 SuperTrapp Harley of Jake Johnson.
Halbert and Johnson established a small lead over what quickly became a war over third between Mees, Kenny Coolbeth (#1 Harley-Davidson Motor Company), Chris Carr (# 4 Chris Carr Racing / Lancaster Harley-Davidson) Ricky Marshall (# 41 Eric Snedeker Racing) and the # 20 of Matt's Racing / Silkolene backed Harley of Matt Weidman.
Halbert looked ready to repeat his dominating heat race performance, but Johnson was soon reeling him in. Halbert's reoccurring brake problems gave Johnson all the advantage he needed and Johnson had the point on lap eleven.
As Johnson's lead grew, Halbert came under attack from Coolbeth. The defending Grand National Champion had pulled clear of a Mees / Weidman war and was giving Halbert fits. The two exchanged second several times, but Halbert prevailed every time at the line. On lap seventeen Coolbeth had the spot and it couldn't have come at a better time. The intermittent sprinkles picked up and oil was spotted in turn one, leaving the AMA Pro officials with little choice but to throw the red flag and stop the race.
Johnson was cruising alone, but the Coolbeth / Halbert battle and the Ragging race between Mees and Weidman would come to a premature end. Both Coolbeth and Weidman improved their positions at just the right time. Carr, Marshall, Bryan Smith (# 42 Screamin' Eagle / Moroney's Harley-Davidson), JR Schnabel (# 33 Memphis Shades) and Mick Kirkness (# 87 F&S Harley-Davidson / Yeager Cycles) rounded out the top ten.
Earlier in the Dash saw pole sitter Sammy Halbert fall on the warm up lap. His crew could not get his back up bike out quick enough and his shot at the $1000 and five points was over. Jake Johnson gave a four lap preview of what was to come as he walked away from Kenny Copolbeth and Jared Mees.
Mees has retained the points lead, but Halbert and Coolbeth are closing.
The first Main event of the night saw Pro Singles points leader Brad Baker take his # 17M JGPhotowerx / Celorie Brothers Trucking backed Honda to victory in the twelve lap Pro Singles Main event. James Rispoli held the early lead on his # 71B Weirbach Racing / Barnett backed Honda, but once Baker worked his way into the lead he was not to be headed again.
Rispoli soon found himself under attack from young Canadian rider Mike LaBelle on his # 20T Woody Kyle Racing / Jimmy Stevens Racing backed Yamaha. Rispoli was able to hold on despite LaBelle's relentless challenge.
Southland Racing's Kayl Kolkman was able to bring his # 42E Honda home fourth over the # 81C Western Hills Honda backed Zach Palmer and Montgomeryville Cycle's # 55A Jake Shoemaker.
Baker's points lead now stands at six points over Rispoli with Jeff Carver holding his # 24P Van's Yamaha in third after fifteenth place finish.
AMA Pro Racing Pro Singles Championship: (18 riders / 12 laps) 1. Brad Baker (Hon); 2. James Rispoli (Hon); 3. Mike LaBelle (Yam); 4. Kayl Kolkman (Hon); 5. Zach Palmer (Hon); 6. Jake Shoemaker (Suz); 7. Kurtis Lee (Hon); 8. Lucas Scherb (Hsq); 9. Brody Miller (Suz); 10. Nigel Heggarty (Kaw); 11. Shayna Texter (Suz); 12. Michael Bicker ton (Hon); 13. Brian Tapp (Hon); 14. Mike Poe (Kaw); 15. Jeff Carver (Yam); 16. Cory Strickler (Yam); 17. Joseph Ratz (Hon); 18. John Long (Suz).
Time: 4 min, 56.645 sec.
AMA Pro Racing Grand National Twins Championship: (19 riders / 17 laps) 1. Jake Johnson (H-D); 2. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 3. Sammy Halbert (H-D); 4. Matt Weidman (H-D); 5. Jared Mees (H-D); 6. Chris Carr (H-D); 7. Ricky Marshall (H-D); 8. Bryan Smith (H-D); 9. JR Schnabel (H-D); 10. Mick Kirkness (Suz); 11. Joe Kopp (H-D); 12. Shaun Russell (H-D); 13. Brandan Bergen (H-D); 14. Jake Mataya (H-D); 15. Cory Texter (H-D); 16. Adam Carpinello (H-D); 17.Luke Gough (Suz); 18. Don Taylor (H-D); DQ. Brandon Robinson (H-D).
Time: 7 min, 08.501 sec. (RED FLAG--race called complete)