Kawasaki’s Bryan Smith Beats Mees to Line at Du Quoin Mile Flat Track
Kawasaki’s Bryan Smith proved once again he is the man to beat on mile circuits. Following a nine-year hiatus from the Du Quoin Mile in Illinois – the track known as the Magic Mile – the AMA Pro Flat Track Championship returned there on Independence Day.
Aboard his No. 42 Crosley Radio Kawasaki, Smith earned the Du Quoin Mile Flat Track win on the Fourth of July by less than a hundredth of a second. He finished just ahead of No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson’s Jared Mees and 0.013 of a second ahead of No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson’s Kenny Coolbeth.
This was Smith’s third-straight Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines victory on a Mile course in 2015. Following Du Quoin Mile Flat Track, he will now look to build upon this record at next weekend’s Indy Mile in Indianapolis.
“It took everything I had on that last lap to outrun two of my best buddies,” said Smith referring to his last-second pass of Mees and Coolbeth. “I hung on tight and was fortunate to come away with the win by a quarter of an inch. Kenny checked out on the restart halfway through (the main event) and I knew I was going to have to ride harder than I had all season if I wanted to catch him. It was fun and nerve wracking at the same time.”
Until the checkered flag at the Du Quoin Mile, Smith hadn’t led at any point during the 25-lap main event, and his three-straight wins on a Mile course have him sitting third in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines point standings after six rounds of AMA Pro Flat Track action.
Mees positioned himself for the win on lap 22, when he took the lead from Coolbeth, who had looked to be in control following a restart with 15 laps to go due to an accident involving Henry Wiles (No. 17 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson).
Mees, piloting the No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson machine, was leading all the way into the final turn and even down the front stretch of lap 25, but he didn’t have enough to hold off a charging Smith at the line.
Coolbeth finished third to round out the podium on his No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson. The Connecticut native got off to a fantastic start on the staggered restart, and he led for a total of 15 laps during the night’s main event. Coolbeth’s third place effort was his best performance of 2015 since the season-opening doubleheader at DAYTONA Flat Track when he finished first and third. The three-time champion now sits fourth in the point standings.
Finishing fourth and adding a Ducati into the mix was Johnny Lewis, piloting the No. 10 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati. Sammy Halbert, riding the No. 7 Briggs Auto Kawasaki closed out the top five with a strong fifth place finish.
Mees extended his championship lead over Halbert to eight points (96-88) and Smith moved into third, two points behind Halbert. Coolbeth and Smith both have 86 points, and Brad Baker is fifth in the standings with 76. Baker’s No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson suffered a mechanical issue causing him to retire from the race early and he would be scored in 12th at the end of the night.
Du Quoin Mile GNC2 Results
Saturday’s GNC2 main event at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds couldn’t have been more intense, as young stars Davis Fisher, Tristan Avery and J.R. Addison all fought for the win and were separated by the slimmest of margins on the race’s final laps.
In the end, it was Avery, riding the No. 16S Ron Ayers Motorsports Kawasaki, who came away with his first career win in front of Fisher, the GNC2 points leader.
“I was just giving it my best effort out there and was trying to be the No. 1 guy at the end,” said Avery following Du Quoin Mile Flat Track. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team, my family and everyone who has helped me get to where I am. My team put in tremendous work on the bike and got it working great. I can’t thank them enough, and this win is a dream come true for me. It feels amazing to finally get this win.”
Fisher, riding the No. 67M Parkinson Brothers Racing Kawasaki, was leading for most of the race before he let Avery pass him in turn 2 on lap 10. Fisher took the lead back when Avery slid up the track in turn 1 and fell back to fourth. The AMA Pro Flat Track rookie steadily climbed back to the front in an impressive display for the youngster.
Although the win slipped away, Fisher still has an 18-point lead in the GNC2 point standings over Jamison Minor (No. 27U Roy Built Kawasaki).
Entering the Du Quoin Mile fresh off a Lima Half-Mile win, J.R. Addison proved last weekend was no fluke as the No. 24F Smith Racing Kawasaki rider performed well for the second-straight event. He closed out the podium with a third place finish.
Dan Bromley was fourth on the No. 54A Bill Werner Racing Kawasaki and Ryan Varnes, riding the No. 68A Varnes Racing Kawasaki, finished fifth.
Next up, the stars of AMA Pro Flat Track head to Indianapolis for the Indy Mile, scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 11 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. For tickets and information regarding the event, please visit http://www.ticketmaster.com/Indy-Mile-AMA-Pro-Flat-Track-tickets/artist/1692790?tm_link=artist_artistvenue_module.
Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines Du Quoin Mile Results, top five
1. Bryan Smith (Kawasaki)
2. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
3. Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson)
4. Johnny Lewis (Ducati)
5. Sammy Halbert (Kawasaki)
Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines top five in points after Round 6
1. Jared Mees (96)
2. Sammy Halbert (88)
3. Bryan Smith (86)
4. Kenny Coolbeth (86)
5. Brad Baker (76)
GNC2 Du Quoin Mile results, top five:
1. Tristan Avery (Kawasaki)
2. Davis Fisher (Kawasaki)
3. J.R. Addison (Kawasaki)
4. Dan Bromley (Kawasaki)
5. Ryan Varnes (Kawasaki)
GNC2 top five in points after Round 6
1. Davis Fisher (91)
2. Jamison Minor (73)
3. Andrew Luker (69)
4. Brandon Wilhelm (69)
5. J.R. Addison (66)
How to Watch:
FansChoice.tv is the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Flat Track events. The site also provides coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series.