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The AMA Flat Track series returned to Northern California with the inaugural Calistoga Half-Mile. Hard to believe, but an AMA Flat Track national hasn’t been held in the area since the Sacramento Mile in 1999. That all changed this weekend when the GNC Twins and Pro Singles headed to Calistoga for a pair of races on the new circuit. Brad Baker took the win in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com-sponsored Pro Singles main, with Norcal’s own Steve Bonsey taking the checkers in the Expert Twins main.
In the Twins race Bonsey pulled off the upset and beat some much bigger names for his first premier class win. The Salinas-based rider was joined on the Calistoga rostrum by Sammy Halbert and Jake Johnson. Bonsey earned the victory via late race charges, as seven-time GNC champ Chris Carr jumped out front, getting the early lead ahead of Halbert in the opening laps.
Sammy Halbert (#7) got an early lead at Calistoga, but couldn’t hold off the charge of Steve Bonsey (#80).
Carr bagged the last two Norcal Flat Track nationals, a testament to the veteran rider’s staying power. Unfortunately for the reigning world’s fastest rider (by virtue of his second gig as the BUB Seven Streamliner pilot) Carr couldn’t hold off a surging Halbert, or the hard-charging duo of Bonsey and Johnson.
Once around Carr, Bonsey zeroed in on Halbert making the pass and holding the win in the closing laps. Johnson got by Carr for the final podium spot, with defending champ Jared Mees having to settle for fifth. The lone factory-supported rider, Kenny Coolbeth, snagged sixth, once spot ahead of the points leader Joe Kopp. The sometimes Ducati, but tonight Harley-Davidson, rider crashed during his heat race, with Smoking Joe getting shook up but still able to make it to the main and grab valuable points.
Kopp’s seventh kept him atop the combined championship points at 166. Johnson snuck closer, however, and now sits just six back of the Team Latus rider with the other podium finisher, Halbert, just one point behind Johnson at 159.
GNC Twins Calistoga Results:
1. Steven Bonsey (Harley-Davidson)
2. Sammy Halbert (Harley-Davidson)
3. Jake Johnson (Harley-Davidson)
4. Chris Carr (Harley-Davidson)
5. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
6. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Harley-Davidson)
7. Joe Kopp (Harley-Davidson)
8. Robert Pearson (Harley-Davidson)
9. Henry Wiles (Harley-Davidson)
10. Brad Baker (Harley-Davidson)
11. Matt Weidman (Harley-Davidson)
12. Michael Kirkness (Harley-Davidson)
13. Bryan Smith (Kawasaki)
14. Nichole Cheza (Harley-Davidson)
15. Luke Gough (Suzuki)
In the Pro Singles class, it was Jeffrey Carver and Brad Baker with a spirited tussle for the win. The defending champ, Carver, maintained an early lead, but the race was delayed for quite an extended period of time after a serious Turn 1 crash with two riders brought out the red flag.
Brad Baker won the restarted race against defending champion Jeffrey Carver at the Calistoga Half-Mile.
On the restart Carver and Baker kept at it, at one point the two seemed to exchange position up front with every turn. In the end, Baker got the better of his rival in the final corner and on to the homestretch. Though Baker took the victory, Carver held onto his points lead.
GNC Pro Singles Calistoga Results:
1. Brad Baker (Honda)
2. Jeffrey Carver Jr. (Yamaha)
3. Michael Avila (Honda)
4. Ryan Foster (Honda)
5. Tyler OHara (Honda)
6. Wyatt Maguire (Yamaha)
7. Michael Martin (Honda)
8. Michael LaBelle (Honda)
9. Michael Toon (Honda)
10. Shayna Texter (Honda)