AMA Pro Flat Track Grand Nationals
Round 16 of 16: Fairplex at Pomona
Story by Dan Jacobson Sr.
Photos by Tom Hnatiw
POMONA, CA, OCT. 13, 2012
This was Jared Mees’ day to not lose the championship lead, and Sammy Halbert needed to gain as many points as possible to win the series for the 2012 combined title. The drama played out starting in the Expert Twins heat races. The qualifying results showed that Halbert and Mees were both ready to do business on the run to the title.
In the first Harley-Davidson Insurance Expert Twins heat, Brad Baker, on the Dodge Brothers/ Perry’s Harley-Davidson, and USC/ Hart Racing-backed Kawasaki rider Jethro Halbert were one and two. The excitement of the chase was on, with H-D XR750-mounted Jared Mees taking a comfortable third. The big problem for Jared was that he missed the chance at Dash For Cash points. Foremost Insurance/ Ramspur Winery-sponsored Ducati rider Henry Wiles was looking good, locking down the last direct transfer to the main and bumping defending champion Jake Johnson to the semifinal round for a second chance to qualify.
In the second heat, Steve Bonsey, on the Goodwin Racing/ Alpinestars Harley, backed up his victory at Tucson by pulling out nearly five seconds on Memphis Shades/ Bumpus H-D rider Robert Pearson, who was followed by Briar Bauman, on the Dave Burkes Motorsports/ American Suzuki. Fourth was Werner-Springsteen Kawasaki jockey Brandon Robinson, who would also move forward to the main.
In the third heat, Screaming Eagle/ Factory H-D rider Kenny Coolbeth Jr. showed his power, taking a two-second victory over championship challenger Sammy Halbert, on the South East H-D. J.D. Beach, on a USC Kawasaki/ Red Bull ride, closed out the direct transfers to the Grand National Championship main.
The Expert Twins Dash For Cash would be four laps for the fastest six from the three heat races. Sammy Halbert was doing everything he could to gain championship points, only to come up short. Brad “The Bullet” Baker lit up the Dodge Brothers H-D to take the win, over Sammy Halbert. Coming in third was Kenny Coolbeth Jr., who just edged out Jethro Halbert, who was followed by Robert Pearson and Steve Bonsey.
After a less-than-stellar heat race, Michigan rider Bryan Smith, on the Crosley Radio/ Howerton Motorsports Kawasaki, outdistanced Kayl Kolkman, on the Roy’s Taco House/ Wieblers H-D in the first Expert Twins semi. Dustin Crow, on the Salina H-D, was also heading to the big dance. Heading to the haulers were Brandon Bergen, Chad Cose, Michael Martin, Duke Erickson, Matt Weidman and Steve Murray.
In the second Expert Twins semi, defending 2011 Champion Jake Johnson stretched out a lead to lock down the transfer to the main on the Zanotti Racing/ Schaeffer’s H-D. Canadian Doug Lawrence, on the R&J Racing/ CVC Communications H-D, was runner-up, followed by Scott Baker, on the Wood Rotax/ Schenck Racing Enterprises BMW, making his first trip to a GNC main this season. Ben Evans, Kevin Anderson, Clint Erickson, Aaron Lindfors, Shawn Raggio and Nichole Cheza become spectators for the main.
Next up was the Harley-Davidson Insurance Expert Twins Dash For Cash. For the first time this season, out of the six riders lined up, there were only two on Harley-Davidsons: Sammy Halbert and Michael Avila. Bryan Smith, Matt Weidman and Brandon Robinson were on Kawasakis; Henry Wiles was on the Ducati. From the start, it was Smith over Sammy Halbert for the first two laps of four as the two battled around the Fairplex Half Mile. Sammy took over the lead, holding on just barely – by just fifty-two-thousandths of a second – and picking up maximum points, moving even closer to Jared Mees.
Finally it was time for the AMA Pro Grand National Championship Expert Twins main. Making all the right adjustments to the factory Harley-Davidson Motor Company/ Screaming Eagle XR750 was all it took for the recovering Kenny “The King of Cool” Coolbeth Jr. to roll out a big lead.
Brad “The Bullet” Baker proved to be just a little more than Bryan Smith could handle, so Smith had to settle for third. Robert Pearson, who has perhaps passed more riders than any else this season, was all smiles in fourth. J.D. Beach, Steve Bonsey and Henry Wiles had one of the closest battle heading to the checkers, with just a little more than half a second between them. The Championship points leader, Jared Mees, found himself safe in eighth place, with Sammy Halbert dropping to 13th late in the race.
In that National Championship main, out of the top ten bikes, four were Kawasaki, battling one Ducati and five Harleys. The Kawasaki contingent has figured out how to get the handling and speed for the half-mile tracks.
In the Motorcyclesuperstore.com AMA Pro Singles Grand National Championship main, Michigan’s Steven Vanderkuur proved he is the real deal. Just like the Santa Rosa Mile, Vanderkuur pulled out a lead and never looked back.
However, there was exciting action all through the field as racers worked the half mile, looking for anything or anybody to use for traction to move forward. Weirbach Racing’s Dominic Colindres was just two-tenths of a second back from leader Vanderkuur. Wyatt Maguire closed out the last podium slot. Jake Shoemaker, Rodney Spencer, Jason Isennock and Ryan Foster were almost in a tie at the line. The next group, comprised of Nathan Wait, Cody Johncox, Dan Bromley and Jacob Lehmann, battled and passed each other all race long, making for another great Motorcyclesuperstore.com Pro Singles event!
Fairplex at Pomona
Results: October 13, 2012 (Round 16 of 16)
PRO SINGLES HEAT 1: 1. Steven Vanderkuur (Hon); 2. Jason Isennock (Hon); 3. Ryan Foster (Hon); 4. Rodney Spencer (Hon); 5. Jacob Lehmann (Hon); 6. Shayna Texter (Hon); 7. Michael Inderbitzen (Hon).
PRO SINGLES HEAT 2: 1. Dominic Colindres (Hon); 2. Jake Shoemaker (Hon); 3. Wyatt Maguire (Yam); 4. James Monaco (Hon); 5. Nathan Wait (Hon); 6. Cody Johncox (Hon) 7. Dan Bromley (Hon).
PRO SINGLES LCQ: 1. Aaron Colton (Hon); 2. Cole Anderson (Hon); 3. Ryan Kearns (Hon); 4. Zachary Lenhof (Hon).
PRO SINGLES MAIN: 1. Steven Vanderkuur (Hon); 2. Dominic Colindres (Hon); 3. Wyatt Maguire (Yam); 4. Jake Shoemaker (Hon); 5. Rodney Spencer (Hon); 6. Jason Isennock (Hon); 7. Ryan Foster (Hon); 8. Nathan Wait (Hon); 9. Michael Inderbitzen (Hon); 10. Dan Bromley (Hon); 11. Jacob Lehmann (Hon); 12. Shayna Texter (Hon); 13. Cole Anderson (Hon);14. Aaron Colton (Hon); 15. Zachary Lenhof (Hon); 16. Michael Inderbitzen (Hon).
EX TWINS MAIN: 1. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (H-D); 2. Brad Baker (H-D); 3. Bryan Smith (Kaw); 4. Robert Pearson (H-D); 5. J.D. Beach (Kaw); 6. Steven Bonsey (H-D); 7. Henry Wiles (Duc); 8. Jared Mees (H-D); 9. Brandon Robinson (Kaw); 10. Jethro Halbert (Kaw); 11. Kayl Kolkman (H-D); 12. Briar Bauman (Suz); 13. Sammy Halbert (H-D); 14. Jake Johnson (H-D); 15. Doug Lawrence (H-D); 16. Jeffrey Carver Jr. (H-D); 17. Dustin Crow (H-D); 18. Scott Baker (BMW).
EX TWINS GNC FINAL POINTS STANDINGS (After 16 of 16 rounds): 1. Jared Mees (291); 2. Sammy Halbert (278); 3. Jake Johnson (265); 4. Bryan Smith (228); 5. Brad Baker (196); 6. Henry Wiles (179); 7. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (159); 8. Jeffrey Caver Jr. (139); 9. Robert Pearson (131); 10. Matt Weidman (124).
PRO SINGLES GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL POINTS STANDINGS: 1. Stephen Vanderkuur (214); 2. Jake Shoemaker (192); 3. Jason Isennock (175); 4. Dominic Colindres (163); 5. Shayna Texter (147); 6. Wyatt Maguire (143); 8. Gerit Callies (107); 9. Jake Cunningham (95); 10. Rodney Spencer Jr. (91) 11. Zakk Palmer (78); 12. Cole Anderson (73); 13. James Monaco (72); 14. Nick Mataya (62); 15. Michael Bickerton (61).
[For a racer’s-eye view of this event and more photos, please see “Race Report from Pomona” by Pro Singles rider Dominic Colindres… Editor]