There is little doubt Henry Wiles circles two dates on the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Schedule each season.
The series has two TT (Tourist Trophy) events slated for 2014, and the second, the Peoria TT, is coming up this Sunday at Peoria Race Park in Peoria, Ill. Wiles has been the definition of dominant in TT events, which feature a single jump and additional turn compared to standard flat track races. A win on Saturday would give the Michigan rider 10 straight Peoria TT victories and a season sweep of AMA Pro Flat Track TT races.
The Expert main event that most predict will feature Wiles as the man to beat, is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. CT (5:30 p.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. PT). The Pro Singles main is scheduled for a 4 p.m. CT (5 p.m. ET, 2 p.m. PT) green flag. On-track action will begin at 10:30 a.m. CT (11:30 a.m. ET, 8:30 a.m. PT) and opening ceremonies are slated for 1:30 p.m. CT (2:30 p.m. ET, 11:30 p.m. PT). All the action can be seen live, in high definition and free of charge, at FansChoice.tv.
Last year, Wiles beat Brad Baker by 3.317 seconds with AMA Pro Road Racing standout JD Beach taking third. Beach is also on the entry list for Peoria this time arond.
Just weeks ago, Don’s Kawasaki’s Wiles shook up the point standings with a victory in the Castle Rock TT in Washington. Wiles currently sits eighth in points, but could make a big jump with a checkered flag in Illinois.
With TT events testing a different set of dirt-track skills, the results are anything but predictable. Current GNC points leader, Rogers Racing’s Jared Mees, missed the podium for the first time in five events in Castle Rock, but still scored a solid fourth there. His main competition for the title, Villa Esparza/Crosley Radio’s Bryan Smith, was relegated to 10th in that race. Smith bounced back with a second in the Indy Mile on Friday night, and he trails Mees by just a single point in the championship hunt.
Ramspur Winery’s Jake Johnson has been impressively consistent all season, never failing to place in the top 10. Johnson, who was seventh at Castle Rock, is a mere eight points back of the leader.
Kenny Coolbeth and his Zanotti Racing entry bounced back after failing to qualify for the main event at the Castle Rock TT by winning the prestigious Indy Mile. The timely victory put Coolbeth back in title contention as he trails Mees by 25 points.
Fredericktown Yamaha’s Sammy Halbert is fifth in points, 19 behind Coolbeth, after settling for 15th at the Indy Mile last time out.
Reigning GNC champion Baker, riding for Brothers Power Sports, might have found his stride after a subpar start of the season due to a broken arm. Baker was on the podium, in third at Castle Rock, then matched his previous season’s best finish of fifth in Indianapolis. As a result, Baker is sixth in points, 20 behind Halbert.
USC Kawasaki’s Brandon Robinson sits just two points in front of Wiles, in seventh.
In the Pro Singles class, Kyle Johnson took over the championship lead again with a runner-up finish at the Indy Mile. Parkinson Brothers Racing’s Johnson was the victim of a last-second draft pass for the victory by Johnny Vintage Motorcycle’s Jarod Vanderkooi.
T.J. Burnett Farms’ Davis Fisher is second in points, but may miss the Peoria TT following a crash at the Indy Mile.
Johnson stuggled at Castle Rock, riding to a 14th place showing. KTM’s Ryan Wells is third in points, 25 back of Johnson (146-121) and was 10th at Castle Rock. A strong showing combined with another lackluster TT finish from Johnson could catapult Wells back into serious title contention.
Meanwhile, Vanderkooi is continuing his surge up the standings. The Ohio native was too young to start the season at Daytona, but made up for lost time, claiming two Pro Singles victories to make his way to fourth in points with an even 100. Rod Lake Racing’s Bronson Bauman rounds out the top five and also has 100 points to his credit.
Top 10 in points in AMA Pro Flat Track Experts
1. Jared Mees 182
2. Bryan Smith 181
3. Jake Johnson 174
4. Kenny Coolbeth 157
5. Sammy Halbert 138
6. Brad Baker 118
7. Brandon Robinson 117
8. Henry Wiles 115
9. Stevie Bonsey 105
10. Briar Bauman 82
Top 10 in points in AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles
1. Kyle Johnson 146
2. Davis Fisher 142
3. Ryan Wells 121
4. Jarod Vanderkooi 100
5. Bronson Bauman 100
6. Brandon Wilhelm 99
7. Dan Bromley 98
8. Dylan Morin 70
9. Dominic Colindres 69
10. Kolby Carlile 52
How to Watch:
FansChoice.tv will be the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Flat Track and AMA Pro Road Racing events in 2014. The site will also provide coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series.