Bryan Smith Keeps Win Streak Rolling with Win in Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I

Another nail-biter AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines race goes to the “Mile Master”

An historic American Flat Track win streak remained in play despite facing its stiffest test yet today in front of a packed house at the Illinois State Fairgrounds to watch the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines contest the Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I.

The streak in question belongs to Bryan Smith, who pulled off a third successive Mile miracle aboard his No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750. The victory was the defending Grand National Champion’s fourth race win in a row overall, making him just the fifth rider in series history to accomplish that feat.

Bryan Smith (1) makes it four wins in a row at the first 2017 Springfield Mile. (American Flat Track/Brian J. Nelson Photo)

Bryan Smith (1) makes it four wins in a row at the 2017 Springfield Mile I. (American Flat Track/Brian J. Nelson Photo)

It certainly did not come easily on Saturday afternoon. Smith hoped to make an escape at the start, building up more than a half-second advantage early on before rival Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) slowly reeled him back in.

Soon enough, the third member of the Indian Wrecking Crew, Brad Baker on the No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750, followed suit.

Adding a bit of spice to the lead pack following a pair of Indian podium lockouts were the respective arrivals of Davis Fisher (No. 67 Bob Lanphere Beaverton Motorcycles Kawasaki Ninja 650) and Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07).

In fact, Halbert looked like he might have something for all comers on this day. He continually built up speed as the track came around to his bike set-up, enabling him to throw down the race’s fastest lap (34.571) with six to go.

The next man destined to join the fight up front looked to be Springfield master Kenny Coolbeth (No. 2 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R). The Main Event was shaping up to be a significant uptick in form for the entire works Harley-Davidson crew with all three riders battling in strong position, led by Coolbeth, who was sixth and closing with the laps winding down.

Unfortunately, a freak incident between Coolbeth and teammates Jake Johnson (No. 5 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) dashed the hopes for the Factory trio. A red flag then flew, setting the stage for a six-lap shootout for victory.

Once the race was back underway, Halbert continued to demonstrate race-changing pace and led as the pack took the white flag. Title hopeful Mees dove underneath to slot into first as they entered Turn 1 and held the advantage coming back onto the front straight.

However, he found himself outmaneuvered yet again by Smith, who went around the outside of Halbert on the backstraight and then rocketed off Turn 4 just behind Mees in the decisive run to the stripe.

Smith, Mees, and Halbert took the checkered flag practically three abreast, with the photo finish giving Smith the nod by 0.005 of a second over Mees. Halbert, meanwhile, snapped the run of Indian 1-2-3s in third position, just another 0.039 seconds back.

After discovering he had won, Smith took the checkered flag in his hand and did a reverse victory lap in honor of the late Nicky Hayden.

The victory was the 30th AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines victory of Smith’s career – including eight at the Springfield Mile. After the race, he said, “I’ve never won here at Springfield by being able to get away, so I put my head down (at the start). I was hoping to break away but I saw Jared trying to reel me in so I chilled. I wasn’t sure if we were cooking the tire or not.

“In the shootout, Sammy got up there and made it interesting for me and Jared. Heck, I didn’t know who won until I came around and they handed me the checkered flag.”

Despite narrowly missing out once again, Mees picked up another big points bounty for his title campaign. His season tally now reads two firsts, three seconds, and one third.

Runner-up Mees said, “Honestly, if I was to do it all over again, that’s probably what I would have done again. I was getting through the corners really good and getting off really good. I just came up a little short – that’s how it is on these Miles. I wanted to lead it off Turn 4 really bad because I felt I was really strong there, but obviously, I was just a millisecond not strong enough.”

The third-place result was Halbert’s second podium finish on the year. After the race he said, “For sure Estenson Racing put together a great bike for me – that Yamaha FZ-07 was running great, especially at the end. I was struggling a lot at the beginning and lost the lead draft, but as the track got faster and more hooked up, my set-up came in.

“I put in a lot of work to catch those guys before the red flag, but luckily I was able to get up to the front and lead a couple laps. I definitely had a shot at the win. I wish I would have played my cards a little differently, but I’m stoked to get up here on the box.”

Baker came home a close fourth, while a very racy Fisher scored his best result of 2017 to round out the top five.

The Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I will air on NBCSN on Thursday, August 10, at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Catch the highlights on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AmericanFlatTrack/videos/1538534296180669/) and YouTube (https://youtu.be/HRKqXUanTFk).

Next Up:
Next Saturday night American Flat Track will complete its run of four Miles in four weeks with the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky, on June 3. Live coverage can be viewed on FansChoice.tv beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at https://www.showclix.com/event/red-mile. Fans can also keep up-to-date with race day action by following American Flat Track on Facebook (American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack).

Award Updates:
AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Ohlins Fastest Lap – #69 Sammy Halbert
McElroy Packaging Lucky 13 – #1 Bryan Smith

Harley-Davidson Support Class Added To Springfield Mile

Harley-Davidson Support Class Added to Springfield Mile

A Harley-Davidson Support Class has been added to this year’s Springfield Mile. (American Flat Track/Brian J. Nelson Photo)

Up-and-coming riders get the opportunity to race the legendary Mile track with $5000 purse up for grabs

(Sent on behalf of Kiesow Racing, the promoter of the Springfield Mile)

Kiesow Racing is pleased to announce the addition of a Harley-Davidson support class for round 6 of the American Flat Track series at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Sunday, May 28. The support class will provide up-and-coming talent from the AFT Singles class with a chance to ride the legendary Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile on the most iconic brand in Flat Track history.

“We are excited to provide the future of our sport an opportunity to gain experience riding twins on a Mile and honoring our title sponsor Harley-Davidson at the same time,” said Dave Kiesow with Kiesow Racing, promoters of the Springfield Mile. “It also provides us a way to bring more of the close-racing action Springfield is known for to the fans.”

The all-Harley-Davidson support class allows for any model that has previously competed in Pro Flat Track – including the Harley-Davidson XG750R, XR750, 883, Sportster or Super Tracker.

Any competitor with an AFT Singles license that is 18 years or older will be eligible to apply for entry into the support class race on the big track, which follows the AFT Singles points-paying round held Saturday, May 27 at the nearby Springfield TT. The class will get a practice, timed qualifying, two Heats and a Main Event to complement Sunday’s AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines program.

Additional information for competitors outlining the entry process, purse breakdown and event schedule will be distributed by American Flat Track in the near future.

More information on the event can be found at http://www.americanflattrack.com. Tickets for the Springfield TT and Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I are available for purchase at: https://www.springfieldmile.org.

AMA Pro Flat Track Headed to Springfield Mile II Labor Day Weekend

As per tradition, AMA Pro Flat Track returns to the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill., on Sunday, September 4 for the Labor Day edition of the Springfield Mile. The legendary Mile flat track has hosted many a fierce battle and this year’s second running of the event promises to be no exception.

Jared Mees (No. 1 Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson XR750) holds a 35-point lead in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines championship following a technical protest and subsequent disqualification of rival Bryan Smith (No. 42 Crosley/Howerton Kawasaki Ninja 650) from the previous round at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park. Smith and his team have appealed the protest and await a decision from an independent appeal board to be convened on September 13.

In the meantime, they are going to Smith’s house. The Flint, Mich. rider has won four of the last five Springfield Miles and looks to keep his streak rolling to tie Ricky Graham with four-straight wins, just one behind Scott Parker and Chris Carr who are tied at five.

Springfield Mile 2016

AMA Pro Flat Track racers are headed back to the historic Springfield Mile to battle for the second time this year as the season hits the home stretch. (AMA Pro Racing/Brian J. Nelson Photo)

“Nothing against the new Miles, but there’s just something about winning at places like Sacramento or Springfield,” Smith said. “I’ve got the win-streak record at Sacramento, and I’d like to add one from Springfield as well. It’s all about wins now. As we’ve seen this year anything can happen. I’ve just got to dominate these Miles like we have been and hope luck’s on my side.”

As for Mees, his strategy is pretty simple: keep those podiums rolling. The series points leader has amassed nine podiums – four of those wins – this season.

“Definitely favoring his forte for sure,” Mees said. “But we just got to keep doing exactly what we’ve been doing pretty much all year since Daytona, and that’s staying on the podium, first or second. Not much to do other than that. Just stay consistent and try to get the win.”

Regardless of the outcome of Smith’s appeal, if Mees can leave Springfield with 43 points over Smith, he will have amassed enough points to clinch the 2016 championship. If he fails to leave Springfield with a 43 point advantage over Smith, the championship chase will roll on to the Ramspur Winery Santa Rosa Mile on September 25.

Jake Johnson (No. 5 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson XR750) sits third in the GNC1 championship and will be looking to score his first win at the Springfield Mile since 2009. Fourth place in the standings, Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Kennedy Racing Harley-Davidson XR750) will also be looking to return to former glory at the famed mile track. Robinson is no stranger to success at the track, having pulled off a Springfield sweep back in 2013 when the weekend was run as a doubleheader to make up for a Memorial Day weekend rain out.

The last rider not named Smith to win at Springfield was none other than veteran Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. (No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson XR750). Coolbeth, Jr. sits sixth in the GNC1 standings, trailing Sammy Halbert. Halbert will make his debut on the No. 69 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati 1100, filling in for injured rider Johnny Lewis.

“We are disappointed Johnny can’t make Springfield,” said David Lloyd, co-owner of Lloyd Brothers Motorsports. “Big thanks to Sammy Halbert for helping us out and filling in. For Sammy to debut at Springfield where our Ducati motors go so well, keeps us in the possibility of a great result.”

In the GNC2 class it’s definitely all about the wins now. Ryan Wells (No. 94B Parkinson Brothers Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650) clinched the title two rounds early at the Central New York Half-Mile. Dalton Gauthier (No. 14A Racing Unlimited Kawasaki Ninja 650) sits comfortably in second followed by Kolby Carlile (No. 36B K.C. Cycle Kawasaki Ninja 650) and Kevin Stollings (No. 99J Ben Evans Ninja 650). Rounding out the top five in the GNC2-points race is Brandon Price (No. 92S Don’s Kawasaki Ninja 650).

Gates for the legendary Springfield Mile II will open on the morning of Sunday, September 4 at 9:00 a.m. local time. Opening Ceremonies will begin at 1:00 p.m. with a tribute to more than 150 former Grand National Championship riders in attendance who have held National Numbers. Also during Opening Ceremonies, fans wishing to ride on the World’s Fastest Mile can donate $10.00 for their chance to take to the track for a parade lap. To sign up, fans are invited to head to the infield inside of turn four. All proceeds from the parade lap will go to Aid to Injured Riders to support riders in need.

Stevie Bonsey, who is recovering from injuries sustained at the Springfield Mile in May, will be in attendance this weekend and would like to show his appreciation to all the fans that supported him during his recovery. The California native invites fans to come by his tent in the pits during the fan walk for photos and autographs.

Fans also have the opportunity to enter for their chance to win a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail in the on-site ABATE Bike Raffle. Raffle tickets are $5.00 and will be sold in the grandstand pavilion. The grand prize winner will be announced during the intermission before the GNC2 Main Event.

Tickets for the legendary Springfield Mile start at just $40 for adults and $5 for children, and can be purchased online by visiting https://www.springfieldmile.org/Tabs/Events/EventList.aspx.

FansChoice.tv will broadcast the entire Springfield Mile II LIVE and in high definition on Sunday, September 4. Coverage will begin with Practice and Qualifying at 11:15 a.m. ET (8:15 a.m. PT). The Pre-Race Show will take place at 1:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT), followed by Opening Ceremonies at 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT) and Heat Races immediately afterward.

The GNC2 class will grid up for their Main Event at 4:15 p.m. ET (1:15 p.m. PT) followed by the 18 fastest flat track racers in the world at 4:45 p.m. ET (1:45 p.m. PT). Log on to FansChoice.tv and tune in at http://www.fanschoice.tv/watch-live/ama/flat-track.

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. Catch all the action at http://www.FansChoice.tv.

Bryan Smith Wins Springfield, Remains Unbeaten on Mile in 2016

Bryan Smith proved his dominance at the Springfield Mile I on Sunday, taking home his third consecutive Mile victory of the 2016 AMA Pro Flat Track season. This Mile win didn’t come as easily, as the Michigan native had to fight to the finish with a pack of riders every lap, topping second place finisher No. 1 Jared Mees by a margin of 0.119 of a second at the conclusion of the race.

Smith, who pilots the third-generation No. 42 Crosley/Howerton Kawasaki Ninja 650, wrestled tirelessly with Harley-Davidson-mounted riders, Mees, eventual third place finisher No. 6 Brad Baker and No. 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. and was officially scored with leading 16 of the 25-lap Main Event. The win was also Smith’s third consecutive Springfield Mile victory, having won both of last year’s contests at the historic venue.

GNC1 Podium Springfield Mile 2016

Bryan Smith (center) remains undefeated on the mile this year after edging out Jared Mees (R) and Brad Baker (L) at Springfield.

“It feels pretty awesome,” Smith said. “To have three Miles back-to-back and win them all. I don’t care what kind of track it is, it’s awesome. But to win the Miles that I love, obviously to have three in a row at a historic venue like Springfield, is great. There’s not just one thing that was going through my mind through the last lap. There was a million thoughts of what to do, what not to do, go fast, not too fast, spin the tires, just a million thoughts. I was able to get just enough of a draft off of turn four in that last lap and just barely squeak by Jared.”

Three-time and reigning Grand National Champion Mees expressed his desire to win the coming races over the “Mile Specialist” but shared his appreciation for the bar-to-bar racing that went down during Sunday’s race.

“It’s definitely getting old finishing second on the Miles to the same guy,” Mees said. “But hats off to those guys. They’re working hard and that thing is fast. It’s hard to get it before the finish line but the team is working really hard and we’re trying to find more and more power and reliability. I felt like we had a little bit more than last year but you know, it is Mile racing at its best and a close finish is normal at the Springfield Mile.”

Baker officially led three laps during the Main by using the all-important draft to push past his competitors. The Washington native took home the final spot on the podium.

“It feels really good,” Baker said. “I’ve had the speed the last three races or so but it feels good to be here on the podium. It was a really fun race and the end of the race was an all-out battle.”

Baker’s Factory Harley-Davidson teammate No. 67 Davis Fisher had a lot to prove with the competition debut of the next generation Harley-Davidson XG750R, and the rising star did not disappoint. Fisher experienced a mechanical issue in his Heat race but earned his Main Event starting spot thanks to a photo finish in his Semi race for the final transfer position. After picking off riders throughout the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines Main Event, Fisher earned the new machine its first Top 10 result with his eighth place finish.

“Davis is doing a great job of developing the new bike and moving forward with it but we know the XR is proven and capable of winning,” Baker continued. “Now we know the XG is capable of getting into the top 10 and now we have to see if it is capable of getting on the podium and winning. Until it gets to that point, I’m going to keep on the old, faithful XR750 that’s been around for 44 years and then eventually going to be jumping onto that thing when it’s ready. I want that bike to get better because if it gets better than the XR that means I’ll have a weapon to try to get on the top spot or the box on these Miles instead of always nipping at the heels of the Kawasaki.”

Smith now leads the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines point standings by 16 points over No. 69 Sammy Halbert, 110-94.

In the GNC2 class, No. 94B Ryan Wells was unrelenting as he duked it out for his first Mile win of the 2016 season with second place finisher No. 99J Kevin Stollings and third place No. 23F Jeffery Lowery.

“It’s my first Mile (win) and it’s awesome,” Wells said. “Especially at the Springfield Mile, the biggest Mile you could win, and for it to be a typical Springfield Mile ending, winning by half of a tire, it’s cool. I would have liked to win by more but it’s awesome. I wish I wouldn’t have seen a red flag with two laps to go but it all worked out and I’m happy. I knew I had a fast bike but I was drafting Stollings earlier in the race, and the kid’s real small and lightweight, so I knew if anybody could get by me before the line it would be him. I came out of turn four and I heard somebody; I peeked down underneath my handlebars and I saw the red bike and I knew it was him. I got as small as I could and was watching our front wheels go across the line and I was pretty pumped about it.”

Wells now leads the GNC2 point standings by 18 points over No. 14A Dalton Gauthier, 103-85.

Up next, 20 of the top AMA Pro Flat Track riders head to ESPN’s Summer X Games in Austin, Texas for the Harley-Davidson Flat-Track race on Thursday, June 2 at Circuit of The Americas. Be sure to purchase your tickets in advance at http://www.xgames.espn.go.com/xgames or tune in to ESPN on Thursday at 10:00 p.m. ET (7:00 p.m. PT).

Award Updates
Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines:
• Harley-Davidson Pole Award: No. 42 Bryan Smith
• McElroy Packaging Lucky 13 Award Winner: No. 1 Jared Mees
• MotoBatt Hard Charger Award Winner: No. 67 Davis Fisher
• Öhlins Fastest Lap Award Winner: No. 73 Doug Lawrence
• Sunoco “Go The Distance” Award Leader: No. 65 Cory Texter (197.5 miles completed)

GNC2:
• Larry and Judy McElroy Rookie of the Race Award Winner: No. 99J Kevin Stollings
• Westside Truck Parts “Just off the Box” Award Winners: No. 27U Jamison Minor (4th), No. 16S Tristan Avery (5th)
• Sunoco “Go The Distance” Award Leader: No. Dylan Morin (136.75 miles completed)