I-96 Flat Track: Harley/Coolbeth Report
2011 AMA Flat Track
Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Factory rider Kenny Coolbeth raced to an eighth-place finish in the Grand National Twins main at the 11th round of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship at I-96 Speedway, Lake Odessa, Mich.
The race was won by Rogers Lake/ Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider and Michigan native Jared Mees on a Harley-Davidson XR750 motorcycle.
Coolbeth won the previous race in the series at Hagerstown, Md., and has won three times at I-96 Speedway
Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson) says: “We really struggled all night with bike set-up. This track is very similar to Hagerstown and we should have been able to come in here and run fast with the same set-up, but the bike just would not handle tonight. We worked hard on suspension adjustments but couldn’t make the bike better than where we finished.”
Fast-qualifier Brad Baker put the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/TeamHurtByAccident.com Ducati in the lead at the start of the 25-lap main on the I-96 half-mile, only to see Fasthog.com/American Harley-Davidson rider Bryan Smith get by on lap two.
Mees got a bad start but worked his way into the lead by lap four, and then built a cushion of about 1.5 seconds and led to the finish. Smith settled into second place with Zanotti Racing /Schaeffer`s Harley-Davidson rider Jake Johnson right on his wheel in third place.
Series points lead Sammy Halbert, on the Kings Kustom/White’s Harley-Davidson XR750, ran a distant fourth. Johnson was never able to find a way around Smith, and the top four rode the final 20 laps in this formation. Mees led Smith by 1.66 seconds at the finish. Coolbeth ran in eighth place for most of the race.
Johnson won the four-lap Dash for Cash bonus sprint.
With the win, Mees jumps from third to second place in the season standings, and now trails Halbert by just three points. After 11 of 21 rounds in the 2011 AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, Halbert has 206 points, Johnson 203 points and Smith 197 points. Coolbeth is fourth with 176 points.
The next race on the AMA Grand National Twins schedule is July 30 on the Cal Expo Fair Mile in Sacramento, Calif.