Sacramento Mile: AMA Flat Track Preview
2011 AMA Pro Flat Track
After a decade away, the roars of AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track racing will again be heard at the prestigious Sacramento Mile, when the championship returns to the Cal Expo Fair July 30.
The infamous Mile track will give California fans the chance to witness one of the most thrilling sights in all motorcycle racing: multi-rider hordes engaged in furious, high-speed drafting battles, the kind of heart-stopping action that typifies competition on the country’s best Mile circuits.
Strategy and drafting abilities are key to netting good results in mile racing, as are the patience and endurance required to test your rivals for the twenty laps before making your move through the last five. Mile racing tends to favor the series’ best, most race-savvy riders – those who’ve had enough experience with late-race maneuvering to know exactly when to spring their traps.
Seven-time Grand National Champion Chris Carr is a prime example of the kind of wily, veteran rider the rest of the field will be on-guard against, and it was Carr – currently in the middle of his “Farewell Tour” – who won the 1999 edition of the Sacramento Mile, his ninth victory overall on the ultra-fast circuit.
The AMA Pro Flat Track field is deep, however, with more than enough top challengers to ensure that Carr, and the rest of the pack, have their hands more than full.
Sammy Halbert (King’s Kustoms/Larry Zumbrun Racing) has held the Combined Grand National Champions points lead since the series’ opening round in Daytona, but he’s come under increasing pressure from Jared Mees (Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson) in recent rounds. At last week’s I-96 Michigan round, Mees earned his third win of the season, tying Halbert for race victories and narrowing Halbert’s combined lead to very dangerous three points.
Defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing) – who, like Mees, is backed by a California business – lurks just six points behind in third overall, and is intent on adding another win to the two race victories he’s managed thus far.
Other riders to keep an eye on are the American Motorcyclist Association’s Chris Carr, FastHog.com/American Harley-Davidson’s Bryan Smith, and White’s Harley-Davidson’s Matt Weidman.
At the opposite end of the strategic and calculating Expert class is the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles event — a flat out, wide-open race that sees a deep field of up-and-coming riders push their 450cc single mounts to the limits. Comprised of the series’ youngest professional racers, the Pro Singles class is famously unpredictable, and you never know when a local rider may step forward to make a name for themselves on the national AMA Pro Racing stage.
California riders Mikey Avila (SDI Insulation/M.E.H. Corp) and Mikey Martin (Weirbach Racing) quickly filtered to the top of the 2011 class point standings, but Gerit Callies (Full Throttle) has thus far split the two. Martin leads the Pro Singles Championship by ten points over Callies, who’s currently holding off Avila to the tune of three very fragile points.
With such slim margins in play and home-town crowds bearing witness, the Sacramento Mile – which represents only the second opportunity the young Pro Singles riders have had to test themselves on a Mile track this year – is sure to present some of the most intense motorsports action fans have seen. Huge losses and huge gains are up for grabs on the mile dirt, with contests rarely decided until the finish.
For Sacramento Mile tickets and information, visit sacramentoflattrack.com or call 916-263-3049. To learn more and be a part of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, visit amaproracing.com and join us on facebook.com/AMAProFlatTrackSeries and twitter.com/AMAProFlatTrack.