InSLIDE Line 40....A Heavy Mist of InformationOct 4, 2013
Hello, and welcome to the InSlide Line Presented by Bell Helmets. It was pretty neat last week typing the column from a foreign country, but this week it's back to the Fight For Dirt Track lair deep in the subdivisions of West Kentucky. It was a wild weekend in Santa Rosa with some freak things going down and on the opposite coast, the Randy Texter Memorial Half-Mile in York Pennsylvania had over 200 entries and went off without a hitch. Needless to say, we have quite a bit to cover. Let's get to work.
The All-Star Series wrapped up its very successful 2013 season in York Pennsylvania on one of the nicest half miles on the East coast. A ton of racers, many of whom couldn't quite afford to make it all the way to the other side of the country for the Santa Rosa Mile, lined up to do battle under the late September sun. This is a day race on limestone, but the All-Star crew knows how to keep the moisture in the track and keep things running smoothly. In the Amateur ranks it was two Ohio boys trading wins on the day. While Hunter Edwards took the win in Open Amateur, Jerod Vanderkooi grabbed the checkers in the 450 Amateur division. Those two swapped positions in the opposite amateur classes while Tristan Avery rounded out the podium in 3rd place in both Amateur classes.
In Pro Singles action it was Justin Jones taking the win over a stacked field. Cody Johncox hung on for 2nd on the Sunnyside Cycle backed Yamaha while Jamison Minor from New Hampshire rounded out the podium. 2013 AMA Horizon Award Winner Jeffrey Lowery and multi-time Pro Singles national winnerZakk Palmer rounded out the top five. In the Expert Singles division, it was Jake Constantine taking the win on his Honda over Jeremy Higgins on a Yamaha and Cory Texter on a Honda. Very cool for Cory to be on the podium at his father's memorial race. Chad Cose and Jake Shoemaker rounded out the top 5 on the singles bikes. For the twins class, All-Star Series officials combined the Pros and Experts to make for a full field and to give the crowd something to see. In the combined event, it was Jake Constantine once again taking the win on a Kawasaki with Jake Shoemaker finishing 2nd on his Kawasaki and Shawn Baerbreaking up the Kawasaki podium sweep by putting a Waters Autobody KTM into the 3rd spot. Corey Crawford and Jason Isennock rounded out the top 5 on the twins.
With the All-Star series drawing to the close, it was Brandon Robinson taking the Expert Singles title overBrad Baker and Rob Pearson. In Pro Singles it was Dan Bromley taking the championship over Molly Terry and Justin Jones. In Expert Twins, Brandon Robinson again took the championship over Sammy Halbert and Rob Pearson. Dan Bromley also won the Pro Twins championship over Justin Zeigler andCody Johncox. If you combine the Expert's points together, your overall champion is still Brandon Robinson, while the second spot goes to Rob Pearson with Brad Baker taking the 3rd spot. Congratulations to all of the new champions and hats off to the All-Star Series crew who put together one heck of a nation wide series at some truly great race tracks this year. They are already making plans for next year and should have a little bit of a new class structure to bring some more bikes to the track. I can't wait!
We are into October now, but the racing is still going on. Check out where you can race this weekend.
Mid America Speedway, Indianapolis, IN Short Track
Western Reserve M/C, Salem, OH Short Track
Lodi M/C, Lodi, CA Short Track & TT (2 day event)
Ukiah Speedway, Ukiah, CA Short Track
Oakland Valley Speedway, Cuddebackville, NY
Marion County Speedway, Satsuma, FL Short Track
The temperatures are falling and the leaves are turning but the checkers are still flying. Check out where you can race next weekend.
Pomona, CA Half-Mile AMA Pro Grand National
Mid America Speedway, Indianapolis, IN Short Track
Erie, CO Short Track
The funny thing about being out of the country is that I don't have a data plan on my phone. Meaning, while I am at a work deal, and even after the event, I can't get on live timing or anything to see what is going on. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, Sunday was a VERY long day and by the time I got to my hotel it was very late at night. Now sure, my brain doesn't work correctly most of the time according to some people, but after a long and stressful day, it was really cooked. Do you know how hard it is to understand Facebook when you are reading about racer's qualifying efforts and how they finished only to read "Santa Rosa has been cancelled" from another racer? I checked my email, nope, no press release from AMA Pro Racing. It was too late at night to start ringing people up to get a full understanding, but after a little sleep and some more posts, I figured it out. Yes, that evil heavy mist that we all worry about on race day cancelled the main events in Santa Rosa.
Would You Want To Race At 130mph In This? Photo: Dave Hoenig
Pro Singles Roost Photo: Tom Stein
Nichole Cheza Roosted Photo: Tom Stein
Even Dry The Track Was Rough! Photo: Carol Swanson
You see, Santa Rosa is a cushion mile. It's a pretty deep cushion too. Last year it did get dry and form a tiny notch around the bottom. This year, from the pictures that I saw, it looked a lot deeper with a lot more moisture. Overcast skies certainly helped keep moisture in the track. When you combine a cushion with a lot of moisture, you get zero visibility. Racers have no business running at nearly 140 miles an hour with no vision. When a heavy mist came in before the mains, the track just went to straight soup. Couple that with the cushion being rough all day, and the race was called due to rider safety. I'm sure fans and racers alike were upset about it, but it is always better to call the race in conditions like that than to have one of our racers hurt. The bright spot in all of this is that the group from Circle Bell Promotions is offering discount tickets to the Pomona race next weekend for ticket holders from Santa Rosa. I know the two events are several hundred miles apart, but it is still an awesome gesture.
Though the mains were cancelled, the line ups had been posted. The Pro Singles even ran a few laps before the red flag came out after points leader Wyatt Maguire went down. Racers were paid the full purse based off of how they would have lined up for the main. Every racer was awarded one point. However, in the Expert class, the Dash For Cash had already run, so Brad Baker bagged the 5 bonus points for that. However, Bryan Smith was second, so that is just a one point advantage for Brad going into Pomona. While we are on the Expert kick, it was certainly looking like a Bryan Smith kind of day after he was your top qualifier and he won his heat race. It wasn't on it's way for being a perfect day for number 42 as Bryan got a bad start in the dash and had his radiator on the Kawasaki pretty much clogged by the closing laps. Bryan has a temperature gauge on his handlebars and as he saw the temperatures rise beyond the safety zone, he rolled out of the throttle and just let Brad have the win rather than risk grenading the bike. This is why he's one of the smartest racers on the track.
With all of the crying about how fast the Kawasaki's are, in qualifying, Harley Davidson's occupied the 2nd through 5th spots with Brad Baker, Sammy Halbert, Stevie Bonsey and Kenny Coolbeth twisting the grips on them. I don't think the Harley has sung it's last song. In heat 1, Bryan Smith did the winning, withBrandon Robinson and Jared Mees in tow. Henry Wiles took that last transfer spot on the Harley that he scrambled to put together in just a couple of weeks before the event. "Henry's Heroes" as I have tagged them, the ones that scrambled to make sure he had a ride must have done one heck of a job! Brad Bakerwon heat 2 with Matt Weidman taking second on the Scott Powersports Kawasaki. Rob Pearson took third on what I'm guessing was the Racing Unlimited Kawasaki with Kenny Coolbeth getting the last transfer spot. Yeah, the Kenny Coolbeth that we thought didn't have a ride. Well, he had a ride, just his regular crew wasn't there. Kenny was still on the factory equipment, just doing things on his own for the event. Kenny had his right hand man Mike Hacker there making adjustments and of course his Dad was there making sure to keep those two out of trouble. I give Mike Hacker a lot of grief in the pits just because he's a lot of fun to hang out with, but from several people I have talked to, he is a VERY valuable asset to have on a team. Kenny doesn't need a huge black truck with a blinding mirror finish rear gate to go fast when he has good support under the tent.
In heat 3 it was Sammy Halbert taking what I'm sure was a VERY popular win. It's a testament to his grittiness and determination to bounce back from injury like he does. Behind Sammy it was Jake Johnsongetting things done on the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati, Briar Bauman coming home third on a Suzuki and Mikey Martin taking the last spot on his Triumph. Yes, 4 different brands in the top 4. Stevie Bonsey took the win in the Semi on the Zanotti Harley Davidson while Jeffrey Carver, Nichole Mees, Kayl Kolkman, Jethro Halbert and Brandan Bergan transferred from the semi and were all slated to start the main event.
In other tid bits from the race, Kayl Kolkman had a really bad crash in the semi and pretty much destroyed a motorcycle. Kayl hit a hole and it was so violent that the bars were ripped out of his hands. The rider behind him told me that it looked like he was trying to bail off the back of the motorcycle as it headed towards the air fence. Kayl got separated from the bike in time, but when the bike hit the air fence, it bounced up in the air and as some would say "went out of the park" Kayl was ok, sore I'm sure, but the bike was pretty mangled. Kayl was able to get on a back up bike, and as I said above, would have been in the main.
In Pro Singles action, the little 450's were singing their hearts out to stay on top of the cushion. It was no surprise that Ohio boy JR Addison was on top of qualifying. If anybody knows how to ride a deep cushion, it's the kids from Ohio! JR was aboard the Parkinson Brothers Honda. Stephen Vanderkuur was right there in 2nd spot in qualifying, but he lost a motor mid corner before the heat races and his day was done. Man, what horrible luck for the reigning champ! Hopefully he can get a bike together for Pomona and put in a real solid ride or even pull off a win. One thing I noticed in Pro Singles qualifying was how the entire field was from the West coast except for 5 racers. JR Addison, Stephen Vanderkuur, Ryan Wells, Kyle Johnson and Shayna Texter were pulling through for the East coast and each one of them was inside the top 7.
JR Addison won his heat with Ryan Wells and Shayna following him home for the top 3 spots. Nate Wait, Rondney Spencer Jr., Dominic Colindres and Ryan Kearns also transferred to the main directly out of heat number one. In heat number two it was Pro Singles rookie Kyle Johnson taking the win over another rookie, Bronson Bauman. Nick Armstrong brought home 3rd with Wyatt Maguire, James Monaco, Austin Skaggs and Hunter Taylor all taking transfers to the ill-fated main event. In the Semi,Wyatt Anderson took the win and the last 3 to make the main event were Dylan Morin, Jesse Sanchezand Michael Inderbitzin. The Pro Singles class actually did start the main and ran 3 laps until points leaderWyatt Maguire went down and brought out the red flag. In the crash he actually had to be transported to the hospital and it was discovered that he re-broke his leg, yes, that he just healed up after Peoria from. I talked to Wyatt yesterday however and he said he is already feeling a lot better and will attempt to ride in Pomona and take the title back to Washington with him. During the down time of the red flag, the heavy mist kept falling. AMA Pro Racing officials could see how roost covered the bikes were, racers were talking about how little vision they had, and after a big meeting, it was decided to call the event in the name of safety.
Sure, it was a bummer for all, but it seems that everybody, including Wyatt will be around to race Pomona. That is the good news. We have awesome points battles in both the Pro Singles and Expert classes heading into the last round. Wyatt takes a 5 point lead into Pomona, but the big catch is that he has a win to his credit this year. That win could be the potential tie-breaker if Ryan Wells doesn't win Pomona. It's still mathematically possible for Stephen Vanderkuur to win this title too. He sits 20 points away from the lead, but with Wyatt injured and Ryan not showing a lot of dominance at any time this year, anything is possible. In the Expert class, I was really looking forward to there being a knock down drag out battle for the title, but with Santa Rosa going the way it did, Brad Baker is headed to his favorite half-mile of the year with an 11 point lead. Harley's haven't been beat on a half-mile in 104 tries. I would say has a pretty good feeling about Pomona, but hey, this is why we run the races. Brandon Robinson sits 15 points back, and he will face the same opposition that Bryan has to deal with: Brad Baker and his awesome Dodge Brothers Harley-Davidson. We will get into the points thing a little more next week, but even though I thought we would be going into the last round with a 3 or 4 point margin, it could still go either way.
While in most of the country racing seasons are winding to a close, down in Florida they are still going strong. Along with their short track next weekend at Marion County Speedway, during Biketoberfest they have a 2 day event going on. October 18th you can head to Valusia Speedway for a practice night and on the 19th they will be having a race on the Half Mile. Will be something fun to do during Biketoberfest for sure.
We did have a few injuries in the sport this week away from the Grand National scene. Molly Terrysuffered a very serious crash while practicing on the motocross track in Galesburg. She suffered some internal injuries and actually had to be life flighted to the hospital for treatment. Two surgeries later and one of the toughest females in dirt track is back on the mend. About a thousand miles away in Colorado, Eldred Bristol, who is best known as the man behind the curtain here at Fight For Dirt Track, went down in a heap of bikes during a short track and ended up with a broken Tibia. Right now they are hoping that it will heal itself with no surgery. Keep those two racers in your thoughts and prayers as they recover! I know Molly will come back as fast as ever, but Dred, I mean, he's old and we may just have to put him down or something. Just messing with you Dred, don't take the site offline!
That's all I have this week. It sure is a bummer that we don't have more main event analysis and more points issues to worry about, but hey, I think everybody has done their best. Next week I'm sure some more news will pop up as we head into the finale. In the mean time, have a great weekend and thank you for reading!
Best Electrician: Scott Baker
Best Dismount: Kyle Johnson
Best Use Of Tip Toes: Bryan Smith
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