Circuit of the Americas MotoGP
Harley-Davidson Lone Star Half Mile
AMA Pro Flat Track
Circuit of the Americas
Story and Photos by Kurt Bauer/dirtbauer.com
AUSTIN, TX, APR. 9, 2016
Saturday, April 9, at Circuit of the Americas would be a full day of racing, with MotoGP action starting in the morning for practice and qualifying and with two MotoAmerica races in the afternoon.
Next up would be a flat-track race right down the street on the back of COTA’s property, where they had the X Games Flat Track, but it was a redesigned half-mile track that had to be better than the insanely rough track the X Games had last year.
It was raining Saturday morning, so I didn’t take my camera into the GP practice session.
Well, the weather cleared up, and I had a good seat in the grandstands, so I shuttled back to the car for my gear and made the trek back to where I might get some good shots of the GP qualifying sessions for Sunday’s race.
There were a few brief showers, but for the most part the track was dry by the time the qualifying started for the MotoGP riders.
Scott Redding stayed at top of the leaderboard early, but eventually it was Marc Marquez setting the fastest laps, ahead of Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. Ducati’s Andrea Iannone and Suzuki-mounted Maverick Vinales completed the top five.
Tony Elias took the win in the 1000cc Superbike/ Supersport race, ahead of Roger Hayden. Veteran Josh Hayes rounded out the podium in third.
Then I made my way over to the flat-track race, which was an adventure in itself, as I got three different directions and got yelled at by a Tricycle Shuttle as I met him head-on in my rental car. I finally made it to the flat track and got parked in a cow pasture or horse field or a place for whatever it was that made the holes that rattled my POS Corolla and possibly twisted my ankle as I walked to the grandstands to get an event T-shirt before they sold out.
I then cruised the pits to see how the riders qualified and asked them how the track conditions were. I noticed that Jarod Vanderkooi was limping, and then I heard he had crashed in practice, and also that Ryan Wells had big get-off but luckily sampled the Airfence.
Rob Pearson set the fast lap in qualifying. Track conditions could pretty much be summed up as: The track is okay but it is rough – but not like it was at the X Games.
I grabbed some mac-and-cheese and a beer! With that powerful dinner consumed, I was now ready to shoot the heat races from the grandstands without being in anyone’s way. I was able to cover all the heat races with some excellent lighting conditions as the Texas sun faded.
In the Pro Singles class, it was Ryan Wells and Andrew Luker winning their heat races.
Heat one of the Expert Twins had fastest qualifier Rob “Bugs” Pearson battling Dominic Colindres; Colindres got the win. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. broke a chain and had to retire to the pits.
Brad “The Bullet” Baker battled with Sammy Halbert in the next heat. Baker rode really smoothly and was missing the big rut in turn three that was causing some excitement. He finished ahead of Halbert.
Stevie Bonsey, coming off his Super Hooligans super short-track win in downtown Austin [see “Super Fun at the Super Hooligan Race in Austin,” also by Kurt Bauer… Editor] won the third heat race, pulling away from Briar Bauman. There were numerous crashes in turn one on the first lap, as it was sharp, though it was wide enough to handle all of the bikes.
The semis for the Expert Twins had both Team Zanotti riders, “Jersey Jake” Johnson and Kenny “The King of Cool” Coolbeth Jr., as well as both Texters, siblings Cory and Shayna.
Cory Texter took the win in the first semi, and Coolbeth also advanced to the main with a third-place finish.
Henry Wiles won the second semi, just one-hundred-sixty-one-thousandths of a second ahead of Jake Johnson.
Ryan Wells was running up front early in the Pro Singles main event, but his brake went out, though he still managed to garner a fifth-place finish, behind Dalton Gautier, who was challenging leader Andrew Luker before he lost his steel shoe with five laps to go. Luker took the win, ahead Kolby Carlile and Kevin Stollings.
Jared Mees took the win in GNC1, but Baker possibly had the field covered before a mechanical gremlin sidelined him for the night. Mees took the lead on the eighth lap and then held off a hard-charging Pearson. Halbert, who’d gotten a bad start, was making his way up toward the front before a red flag halted the racing.
This would leave the riders facing a five-lap Lone Star Saturday Night Shootout, in a staggered start.
On the restart, Mees held on to the lead, and Pearson got his first career podium finish by coming in second, ahead of Halbert.
Veteran Joe Kopp took the win in the Super Hooligans race, with Roland Sands in second and Shaun Guardado in third place. These big bikes were a handful on the rough track, and there were a few big crashes.
Circuit of the Americas
Results: April 9, 2016
GNC1: 1. Jared Mees (H-D); 2. Sammy Halbert (H-D); 3. Stevie Bonsey (H-D); 4. Jake Johnson (H-D); 5. Dominic Colindres (Yam); 6. Bryan Smith (Kaw); 7. Doug Lawrence (H-D); 8. Henry Wiles (Kaw); 9. Johnny Lewis (Duc); 10. Kayl Kolkman (Kaw).
GNC2: 1. Andrew Luker (Hon); 2. Kolby Carlile (Hon); 3. Kevin Stollings (Hon); 4. Dalton Gauthier (Yam); 5. Ryan Wells (Hon); 6. Jesse Janisch (Hon); 7. John Vanderlaan (Hon); 8. Parker Norris (Hon); 9. Jamison Minor (Hon); 10. Kyle McGrane (Hon).
SUPER HOOLIGANS: 1. Joe Kopp (Ind); 2. Roland Sands (Ind); 3. Shaun Guardado (Ind); 4. Cameron Brewer (Ind); 5. Chris Wiggins (Ind); 6. J.D. Mosley (Duc); 7. Michael Gregory (H-D); 8. James Robinson (Duc); 9. Dimitri Coste (Ind); 10. Aaron Guardado (H-D); 11. Gabriel Vidrio (H-D); 12. David Aldana (Ind).