Saddlemen

The Best-Kept Secret in Motorsports

| 26 October 2014 5:36 pm

AMA Pro Racing Flat Track Series Finals
L.A. Fairplex

Editorial by Dan Jacobson Jr. “Danja”
Photos by Dan Jacobson Sr. and Randy Washam
POMONA, CA, OCT. 11, 2014

The Pomona Half Mile closes out the 2014 AMA Pro Racing Flat Track season, and what a season it has been! The year 2014 has played host to all kinds of real can’t-help-but-get-sucked-in drama.

Close-quarters racing is the norm for AMA Pro Flat Track – the best motor racing on the planet! Here, Bryan Smith (42) leads the way, only to be passed by Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (2) in the last corner of the last lap. All four riders pictured – Smith, Coolbeth, Jared Mees and Jake Johnson – held the lead during this 25-lap main. Photo by Randy Washam

Close-quarters racing is the norm for AMA Pro Flat Track – the best motor racing on the planet! Here, Bryan Smith (42) leads the way, only to be passed by Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (2) in the last corner of the last lap. All four riders pictured – Smith, Coolbeth, Jared Mees and Jake Johnson – held the lead during this 25-lap main. Photo by Randy Washam

From factory Honda rider Marc Marquez dominating in MotoGP, with 10 unanswered wins to start his season, to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross seeing a championship battle to the very end from Red Bull/ KTM teammates Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen, there has been great action in all racing disciplines this season. The AMA Pro Racing Flat Track Series has produced yet another season that makes me to wonder why flat-track racing isn’t a mainstream sport all across the world.

Brad Baker and Marc Marquez at the legendary Indy Mile greet the crowd with announcer Barry Boone. Photo by Randy Washam

Brad Baker and Marc Marquez at the legendary Indy Mile greet the crowd with announcer Barry Boone. Photo by Randy Washam

Willie G. Davidson and his wife, Nancy, love to attend AMA Pro Flat Track events. Harley-Davidson has won more than any other brand. Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

Willie G. Davidson and his wife, Nancy, love to attend AMA Pro Flat Track events. Harley-Davidson has won more than any other brand. Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

The 2014 season has treated flat-track fans to seven main events where the race was won by less than one-tenth of one second. To give that some perspective, the average person’s heartbeat lasts for eighty-five-hundredths of one second. There was a total of 10 Pro and Expert riders that either won or lost by one-eighth of the time it takes your heart to beat.

In Sacramento, Bryan Smith held off Jake Johnson by three-hundredths of a second and Jared Mees by fifty-six-thousandths of a second.

Jared Mees (9), on the Harley-Davidson, and Jake Johnson (5), on the Ducati, fight for every inch of real estate. Photo by Randy Washam

Jared Mees (9), on the Harley-Davidson, and Jake Johnson (5), on the Ducati, fight for every inch of real estate. Photo by Randy Washam

Later in the season, at the Indy Mile, Jarod Vanderkooi and Kyle Johnson came across the line in the Pro Singles main event and stumped the scoring machines, registering a gap of .000 of a second between the riders at the finish. Later, it was decided that Jarod Vanderkooi would take the victory lap. This is just a small slice of the amazing season of races in which I got to see 14 different riders take the checkers.

Jarod Vanderkooi (17F) won all the Pro Twins events in 2014, his first year as a Pro. Photo by Randy Washam

Jarod Vanderkooi (17F) won all the Pro Twins events in 2014, his first year as a Pro. Photo by Randy Washam

Jarod Vanderkooi (right) marched onto the racing scene in 2014, winning both Springfield Pro Twins events and finishing fourth in the season points. Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

Jarod Vanderkooi (right) marched onto the racing scene in 2014, winning both Springfield Pro Twins events and finishing fourth in the season points. Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

All the exciting drama would come to a head in Pomona, California, at the L.A County Fairgrounds. The Pro Singles and Expert Grand National Championship would be decided on an excellent Southern California afternoon. Only two riders from each division had a realistic chance to be holding a number-one plate at the end of the day. Davis Fisher (67M ) came into Pomona second in the points, behind Kyle Johnson (#77J), in the Pro Singles division.

Former GNC rider number 12, Rex Fisher, and his son Davis, who is only 16, will be hard to stop in 2015. (That’s GNC rider number 44,Brandon Robinson, in the background, doing some photo-bombing.) Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

Former GNC rider number 12, Rex Fisher, and his son Davis, who is only 16, will be hard to stop in 2015. (That’s GNC rider number 44,Brandon Robinson, in the background, doing some photo-bombing.) Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

In the GNC Expert Twins, Bryan Smith, after a unfortunate black-flag incident at the Calistoga Half Mile, the event before Pomona, would trail Jared Mees coming into the event.

Bryan Smith did everything he could to overcome a black-flag incident for a smoking bike at Calistoga to win the 2014 Grand National Championship. The whole Crosley Radio team is great for the fans, the sport and other competitors. Too bad all sports aren’t like this! Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

Bryan Smith did everything he could to overcome a black-flag incident for a smoking bike at Calistoga to win the 2014 Grand National Championship. The whole Crosley Radio team is great for the fans, the sport and other competitors. Too bad all sports aren’t like this! Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

Jake Johnson readies himself for 25 laps at the AMA Pro Flat Track Finals at Pomona. Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

Jake Johnson readies himself for 25 laps at the AMA Pro Flat Track Finals at Pomona. Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

Both of the riders who were second in the championship points chases, Davis Fisher and Bryan Smith, would need to sweep the Pomona Flat Track Finals to have any chance of holding up their pointer fingers with a big smile and a new number for the 2015 season. The fans in the stands that night would get to see just how mentally strong these elite racers have to be in order to win a Grand National Championship. By the end of the night, both Fisher and Smith had successfully swept their divisions with a degree of dominance. But they got no slack from the championship points leaders: Kyle Johnson and Jared Mees did exactly what they had to do to hold on to their points leads and earn a number one for their number plates – and their teams. The conclusion would leave flat-track fans breathless: The Pro Singles division saw Kyle Johnson finish second in Pomona but first in the series – by one point. (That’s not a typo.) And the best of the best, the Grand National Championship, was decided by a mere 3 points, giving Jared Mees his second Grand National Championship.

Craig Parkenson (left) and Kyle Johnson captured the AMA Pro Singles Championship for 2014 – by one point. Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

Craig Parkenson (left) and Kyle Johnson captured the AMA Pro Singles Championship for 2014 – by one point. Photo by Dan Jacobson Sr.

My personal excitement about this series is a little biased: I am a second-generation racing fanatic. But I can’t help but scratch my head a little bit about the amounts of attention received by other sports that do not deliver the same action, drama and exciting competition – with the diversity of four very different styles of tracks and skill sets – as flat track. My hopes are that in my lifetime, the sport of motorcycle flat-track competition loses the Dave Despain title of “the best-kept secret in motorsports.”

Davis Fisher and his dad, Rex Fisher, celebrate Davis’ first win as a Pro at Calistoga Speedway in 2014. Photo by Randy Washam

Davis Fisher and his dad, Rex Fisher, celebrate Davis’ first win as a Pro at Calistoga Speedway in 2014. Photo by Randy Washam

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Category: Flat Track, National, POV

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