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 Saturday night. 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 12-lap Main and three Expert Heats, one Dash and a 25-lap National.
Even once the racing was under way, light sprinkles could be felt off and on. The 19-rider, 25-lap National saw points leader Jared Mees lead the first lap on his No. 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 No. 43 Halbert Family / King Kustom’s Harley along with the No. 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 (No.1 Harley-Davidson Motor Company), Chris Carr (No. 4 Chris Carr Racing / Lancaster Harley-Davidson) Ricky Marshall (No. 41 Eric Snedeker Racing) and the No. 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 17, Coolbeth had the spot and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The intermittent sprinkles picked up and Brandon Robinson’s No. 44 Harley-Davidson had engine failure, leaving oil between Turns 1 and 2. Due to the confluence of events the decision was made to throw a red and checkered flag to indicate that the race was being stopped with no intention to restart.
The riders had completed 18 circuits at the end of the red flag lap and the race was not to be restarted following the red flag, satisfying the requirement that results be based on rule 6.18 (d) Should a race not be restarted after a red flag, riders final positions will be determined by their race positions (not track positions) in the lap preceding the red flagged lap. Official finishing positions are therefore determined by the order at the completion of the 17th lap.
Johnson was cruising alone and was declared the victor, but by the close of the Lap 17 the Coolbeth / Halbert battle and the Ragging race between Mees and Weidman would come to a premature end. Coolbeth improved his position to take second over Halbert at just the right time, but Weidman wasn’t as fortunate and took home fifth to Mees’ fourth. Carr, Marshall, Bryan Smith (No. 42 Screamin’ Eagle / Moroney’s Harley-Davidson), JR Schnabel (No. 33 Memphis Shades) and Mick Kirkness (No. 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 No. 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 No. 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 No. 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 No. 42E Honda home fourth over the No. 81C Western Hills Honda backed Zach Palmer and Montgomeryville Cycle’s No. 55A Jake Shoemaker.
Baker’s points lead now stands at six points over Rispoli with Jeff Carver holding his No. 24P Van’s Yamaha in third after fifteenth place finish.
Following post-race inspection, AMA Pro officials determined that Brandon Robinson failed to install the 33mm restrictors in his No. 44 Harley-Davidson XR750 as required by the AMA Pro Flat Track rulebook. Robinson has been disqualified from the Hagerstown Speedway event, given a $1500 fine and placed on a one-year probation and will not be allowed to compete in any AMA Pro Racing event until the fine has been paid in full.
Race Results – Hagerstown Speedway
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. Jared Mees (H-D); 5. Matt Weidman (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)