A hot Sunday afternoon greeted Round Six of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Twins Championship as the series moved to the challenging mile oval of Beulah Park in Grove City, Ohio for the Flying Horse Mile.
Latus Harley-Davidson / Screamin’ Eagle’s No. 3 Joe Kopp did the unheard of in Sunday’s mile track AMA Pro Flat Track event. The Washington veteran not only led every lap, but he pulled away to a 22-second lead over last year’s Beulah Park winner, No. 42 Bryan Smith (Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson / Moroney’s Harley-Davidson). Smith’s race was none the less impressive as he held more than an eight-second lead over Halbert Family / King Kustoms’ No. 43 Sammy Halbert.
Joe Kopp Speaks…
"I guess this kind of makes up for the last three or four Nationals that haven’t gone so well," Kopp said of his dominating ride. "I knew I wanted to get the hole shot and after I did, I battled with Bryan (Smith) for a few laps, but I cut a couple of good laps and got away. After I started to lap people, I just wanted to catch them and pass them."
Kopp was able to lap the all of the riders up through eighth place. The last of his victims were current points leader Blue Springs Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson’s No. 21 Jared Mees and seven-time Grand National Champion No. 4 Chris Carr, who finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
Canadian National Champion No. 53 Don Taylor had his best AMA Pro Grand National Twins finish as he propelled his Deeley’s Harley-Davidson home to fourth. Just a few seconds back in fifth place came the Memphis Shades backed Harley-Davidson of No. 33 JR Schnabel.
Some last lap confusion ruined the only race for position on the race track. Matt’s Racing / Silkolene’s No. 20 Matt Weidman and Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s No. 1 Kenny Coolbeth battled back and fourth over the last quarter of the race only to have Weidman misinterpret the flags as Kopp closed to put them down a lap. Kopp would finish right on their tails as Weidman backed off thinking his race was over. Coolbeth raced on to finish sixth to Weidman’s seventh by four seconds. National Cycle / Reiman’s Harley-Davidson’s No. 26 Brandan Bergen rounded out the top 10.
Earlier in the day Pro Honda Oils / Total Control Racing’s No. 10J Stephen Vanderkuur had spanked the Pro Singles class in the same way, leading all twelve laps of the main. Vanderkurr had a little early pressure from his Total Control teammate No. 22J Chaz Springsteen, but Springsteen slipped back into a battle with Weirbach Racing’s No. 71B James Rispoli.
Rispoli grabbed second on Lap 3, but he couldn’t shake Springsteen. That great race came to an end when Springsteen slid down in Turn 4.
Rispoli was a solid second as current points leader Mike Velasco / Brothers Powersports’ No. 17M Brad Baker sat just one second back in third. Van’s Yamaha’s No. 24P Jeff Carver and Western Hills Honda’s No. 81C Zach Palmer rounded out the top five in the Pro Singles class.
RESULTS – Beulah Park – Grove City, OH – August 16
AMA Pro Racing Pro Singles Championship: (18 riders / 12 laps) 1. Stephen Vanderkuur (Hon); 2. James Rispoli (Hon); 3. Brad Baker (Hon); 4. Jeff Carver (Yam); 5. Zach Palmer (Hon); 6. Michael LaBelle (Yam); 7. Corby Scherb (Hon); 8. Corey Crawford (Hon); 9. Kayl Kolkman (Hon); 10. Tony Davila (Hon); 11. Brian Tripp (Hon); 12. Jake Shoemaker (Suz); 13. Michael Toon (Hon); 14. Scott Lowery (KTM); 15. Cory Strickler (Yam); 16. John Long (Yam); 17. Justin Zeigler (Hon); 18. Chaz Springsteen (Hon).
AMA Pro Racing Grand National Twins Championship: (18 riders / 17 laps) 1. Joe Kopp (H-D); 2. Bryan Smith (H-D); 3. Sammy Halbert (H-D); 4. Don Taylor (H-D); 5. JR Schnabel (H-D); 6. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 7. Matt Weidman (H-D); 8. Jared Mees (H-D); 9. Chris Carr (H-D); 10. Brandan Bergen (H-D); 11. Cory Texter (H-D); 12. Aaron King (Apr); 13. Mick Kirkness (Suz); 14. Shaun Russell (H-D); 15. Dan Gedeon (H-D); 16. Kevin Vance (H-D); 17. Jake Johnson (H-D); 18. Henry Wiles (H-D).