Riders let it rip during the AMA Pro Singles Main Event in the inaugural TT race in Salinas, California.
It was a furious finish in today’s dual on the cushion of Salinas’ TT track as “Jersey” Jake Johnson fought off Brad Baker’s challenge to win his first AMA Pro Grand National Singles race of the season. Baker doggedly pursued the reigning AMA Grand National champion throughout the race, trying several times to squeeze underneath him entering the final turn of the track, but Baker continuously fended him off with a clean line and a better drive off the corner. On Lap 22, Johnson’s front end hopped out and changed his line just enough for Baker to make a pass stick. But Baker’s lead was short lived as he spun out on Turn 2, allowing both Johnson and Henry Wiles to pass by. “Jersey” Jake would close the door for the race victory.
“The track came to me more and more as the day wore on,” Johnson said.
The “Iron Man” of the night award has to go to Wiles. “Hammerin’ Hank” damaged his knee in DuQuoin and could barely walk before the race but bucked up, jumped on his Kawasaki KX450F and proceeded to put in a brilliant showing considering his condition. Wiles grabbed third in the Dash for Cash and fought his way up to second in the AMA Pro Grand National Singles main. Afterwards Wiles announced he is scheduled for surgery on his knee Monday and is looking at potentially months of recovery.
After being so close to seizing the elusive victory, Baker gathered himself to finish the race in third. Fortunately, the front trio had enough space between them and the pack for Baker to salvage a podium finish.
Honda’s Jared Mees would win the mid-pack scramble to finish fourth-fastest. Mees had to earn his spot by holding off the likes of Sammy Halbert and Chris Carr, who finished fifth and sixth respectively. A little over a second in back of them was Yamaha YZ 450F rider Robert Pearson who edged JD Beach at the flag by 0.501 seconds.
Rounding out the top ten were Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. in ninth while Jethro Halbert captured the final slot.
In the Dash for Cash, Jimmy Wood jumped out to the lead and sped to the wire-to-wire win. Johnson was in second but ran wide on the final turn and dropped to fourth. Mees and Wiles slipped by to finish second and third.
In the Motorcycle Superstore.com AMA Pro Singles Main Event, Wyatt Maguire grabbed the holeshot but a nasty spill involving David Brown and Hayden Gillim in the treacherous second corner brought out the red flag. This scenario would play itself out again, bringing out the second consecutive red flag.
On the third go round, Mike Avila grabbed the holeshot and made points leader Gerit Callies chase him the rest of the race. Callies pursued Avila but could never run him down. In return, Callies was dogged by William Cato and Rodney
The Motorcycle Superstore.com AMA Pro Singles podium in Salinas features Mikey Avila (middle) holding the winner’s trophy flanked by Rodney Spencer, Jr. in second (left) and Gerit Callies (right) in third.
Spencer, Jr. Spencer would move past Cato and began to battle with Callies, banging bars to the delight of the crowd. The San Martin, California rider was able to muscle past Callies and used his WORCS background to his advantage on the TT course to earn second on the podium while the young Honda rider from South Dakota settled for his lowest placing of the season in third.
Michael Martin made it a Honda sweep of the top five. The best non-Honda finisher was Wyatt Maguire in seventh place.
Jess Garcia put the MotoUSA-backed Suzuki RM-Z450 in the main event straight out of the heat race in his first AMA Pro Singles event. He was able to avoid the pileups in the main and finished 14th.
2011 AMA Grand National Singles Salinas TT Results:
1. Jake Johnson (Honda)
2. Henry Wiles (Kawasaki)
3. Brad Baker (Honda)
4. Jared Mees (Honda)
5. Sammy Halbert (Yamaha)
6. Chris Carr (Honda)
7. Robert Pearson (Yamaha)
8. JD Beach (Honda)
9. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. (Kawasaki)
10. Jethro Halbert (Honda)
11. Jesse Janisch (Honda)
12. Jeffrey Carver, Jr. (Yamaha)
13. Johnny Lewis (Honda)
14. Tyler O’Hara (Honda)
15. Chad Cose (Honda)
16. Steven Bonsey (Honda)
2011 AMA Pro Singles Salinas TT Results:
1. Mike Avila (Honda)
2. Rodney Spencer, Jr. (Honda)
3. Gerit Callies (Honda)
4. William Cato (Honda)
5. Michael Martin (Honda)
6. Alex Wood (Honda)
7. Wyatt Maguire (Yamaha)
8. Ryan Foster (Honda)
9. Jeremy Hamilton (Honda)
10. Cole Crowley (Honda)
11. Zach Lenhof (Honda)
12. Jake Quick (Honda)
13. Aaron Colton (Honda)
14. Jess Garcia (Suzuki)
15. Dave Sanchez (Honda)