2013 AMA Pro Flat Track
Three years competing on the elite AMA Pro Flat Track Series presented by J&P Cycles finally paid dividends for Brad Baker Saturday night on the Hagerstown Half-Mile as the 2011 Rookie of the Year broke through to earn his first Grand National Championship Main Event victory.
Baker has made no secret about his desire to win at the top level of his sport and he put on quite a performance to prove the point. Riding his Dodge Brothers Harley-Davidson XR750, Baker pulled away from the Kawasakis of Jake Shoemaker and Bryan Smith to win by a big margin of 6.778 seconds in the most dominating performance of the season so far.
The victory, combined with a main event crash by former series leader Brandon Robinson, put Baker into the championship lead by 20 points (77-57) over Robinson, Henry Wiles and Jake Johnson, who are in a three-way tie for second after four rounds of action.
Brad Baker says: “Oh man, this feels amazing. I haven’t been in the game very long as far as an expert goes – three years – but it just feels like it’s taken forever to get to this point. I’ve been so close so many times.”
For Baker, Hagerstown was a magical night where the young rider from Eatonville, Wash., never put a wheel wrong. Going into the final Baker had won the fastest Heat race to earn the pole, and scored another victory in the Dash for Cash, which pits the top six qualifiers in a special four-lap shootout.
Although he was supremely confident going into the final, Baker knew he had been in the exact same position before only to have mechanical problems or another rider find a better setup for the main event. But nothing was stopping Baker on this night. He took the lead going into the first turn and never looked back, pulling away to a massive lead at the checkered flag.
Brad Baker says: “This was the most comfortable I’ve been on a bike in a long time, at least when it comes to a clay half-mile. It was a lot of fun. Everybody’s been asking me ‘When are you going to get your first win? Is it going to be this weekend?’ I finally got it out of the way so it feels great.”
It was a night of surprises at Hagerstown, not only for Baker’s first win, but for the performance of rookie Jake Shoemaker as well. Shoemaker, who also qualified for Hagerstown last year as a provisional expert, showed no respect to the series veterans as he raced home to a solid second-place result, marking his first Grand National podium result. At the onset, Shoemaker was simply hoping to make the main, but as the night wore on he kept resetting his goals.
Jake Shoemaker says: “I started by coming here and wanting to make the main event, like I did last year. Then I made the main and made the Dash and I thought top 10 would be good, top five would be sweet and a podium would be amazing. Here I am on the podium, so no complaints there. It was awesome sitting there in second the whole race, but it was also the most boring race because I rode for 25 laps by myself.”
The J&P Cycles Grand National Championship continues on July 20 at the Grays Harbor Half-Mile in Elma, Wash.
2013 Hagerstown AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Results (July 6, 2013):
1. 12 Brad Baker, Eatonville, Wash., Harley-Davidson 25 Laps
2. 55A Jake Shoemaker, Glenmoore, Pa., Kawasaki EX650 +06.778
3. 42 Bryan Smith, Flint, Mich., Kawasaki EX650 +09.305
4. 73 Doug Lawrence, Mississauga, On., Harley-Davidson +10.728
5. 7 Sammy Halbert, Graham, Wash., Harley-Davidson +11.596
6. 95 JD Beach, Philpot, Ky., Kawasaki EX650 +11.960
7. 5 Jake Johnson, Coatesville, Pa., Harley-Davidson +13.994
8. 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., Morris, Conn., Harley-Davidson +15.615
9. 17 Henry Wiles, Winn, Mich., Harley-Davidson +16.173
10. 23 Jeffrey Carver Jr., Godfrey, Ill., Harley-Davidson +16.580
2013 Grand National Standings:
1. Brad Baker, Eatonville, Wash., 77
2t. Brandon Robinson, Oxford, Pa., 57
2t. Henry Wiles, Winn, Mich., 57
2t. Jake Johnson, Coatesville, Pa., 57
5. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., Morris, Conn., 47
2013 Hagerstown AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Results:
1. 30S Jason Isennock, Timonium,Md., Honda CRF450R 16 Laps
2. 18M Wyatt Maguire, Mead, Wash., Yamaha YZ 450F +00.122
3. 54A Dan Bromley, Warrington, Pa., KTM 450 SX-F +01.240
4. 94B Ryan Wells, Albion, N.Y., Honda CRF450R +01.575
5. 1 Stephen Vanderkuur, Davison, Mich., Honda CRF450R +01.847
6. 19B Justin Jones, Honda CRF450R +02.356
7. 21U Jay Maloney, Oakland, N.J., Honda CRF450R +02.724
8. 77J Kyle Johnson, Twin Lake, Mich., Kawasaki KX450F +03.131
9. 11P Molly Terry, Creve Coeur, Ill., Honda CRF450R +03.655 25.
10. 83S Mike Poe, Timonium, Md., Honda CRF450R +06.718
2013 Pro Singles Standings:
1. Wyatt Maguire, Mead, Wash., 67
2. Kyle Johnson, Twin Lake, Mich., 59
3. Ryan Wells, Albion, N.Y., 57
4. Jason Isennock, Timonium,Md., 51
5. Mike Poe, Timonium, Md., 42