The Jammer Jared Mees grabbed the holeshot and looked strong all night, winning his heat race and the Dash for Cash. Mees and Johnny Lewis would tangle on Turn 3 of the last lap of the Experts Main Event, sending Lewis down and Mees wide, allowing Matt Weidman to sneak past both for the first Experts win of his career. Needless to say, it was an emotional moment for Weidman on the podium.
If the first two races of the AMA Pro Flat Track season are any indicator, we’re in for one hell of a year. After Johnny Lewis rocketed to his first GNC Expert Main Event victory Thursday night, an opportunistic Matt Weidman did the same on Friday, seizing the moment when the two riders in front of him tangled and opened up the window for his first Experts win.
At the start of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Main, it was Jared Mees who grabbed the holeshot with Thursday night’s winner Lewis in hot pursuit. Weidman settled in behind them in third place with Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., “Bullet” Brad Baker and Sammy Halbert gving chase. .
The running order of the top five remained the same for much of the race, with Halbert and Baker dicing for the fifth position. Mees looked strong all night on his Honda CRF450F, winning his heat race and the Dash for Cash. But in the Main, he could never really shake Lewis, who kept Mees within a couple of bike lengths lap after lap, sizing him up for a potentially race-winning move. Weidman patiently tracked the duo, keeping pace in third.
On the final lap, Lewis executed his plan of attack on the second turn, bringing the crowd to its feet as he edged past Mees down the back straight. Heading into Turn 3, Mees made an aggressive move on the inside of Lewis and contact was made, sliding Lewis down and out of the lead. Contact between the two riders sent Mees wide and Weidman was there to seize the moment, passing both riders on his way to the checkered flag. Mees recovered to hold on to second place, 0.115 seconds behind. Baker would win the battle between Coolbeth and Halbert for the final spot on the podium.
”Man, I feel bad about it. Johnny and I go way back and he’s the last guy in the world I’d want to put down on the ground but I’m sorry, that’s just the way it goes. I mean, it’s racing, and like I said, I can’t apologize enough,” said Mees post-race.
Chaplin Kawasaki rider Coolbeth would finish fourth for the second night in a row. Last year’s double winner Halbert would cross the line a second back of him to round out the top five.
GNC rookie Briar Bauman, winner of Heat Race 1, fought his way to an impressive sixth. Bryan Smith brought his Honda CRF home in seventh, while Lewis was able to get his bike back on track to salvage valuable championship points in eighth. Defending AMA Pr o Grand National Champion Jake Johnson is probably ready to put Daytona behind him after finishing a disappointing ninth.
As mentioned, Mees captured the $1000 Cash for Dash and the five points toward the championship that goes along with it. Mees victory in the Dash was never in question, with Lewis finishing second while Weidman earned a few points in third, helping him to take the early lead in the GNC Expert point standings with 48.
2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Daytona Short Track II Experts Results:
1. Matt Weidman (Honda)
2. Jared Mees (Honda)
3. Brad Baker (Kawasaki)
4. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. (Kawasaki)
5. Sammy Halbert (Yamaha)
6. Briar Bauman (Kawasaki)
7. Bryan Smith (Honda)
8. Johnny Lewis (Honda)
9. Jake Johnson (Honda)
10. Jethro Halbert (Yamaha)
11. Mikey Rush ((Suzuki)
12. Brandon Robinson (Honda)
13. JD Beach (Kawasaki)
14. Henry Wiles (Kawasaki)
15. Chad Cose (Honda)
The sweet taste of victory! Let the champagne fly boys!
Sixteen-year-old Ryan Wells blew away the field Friday night to win the AMA Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles race.
In the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles race, 16-year-old phenom Ryan Wells shredded the competition on his way to a dominating victory. Wells checked out early as the Weirbach Racing rookie jumped out front early and never looked back, putting himself on the top step of the podium in only his second professional race.
“Yesterday we got off to a rough start and it kind of brought my confidence down, but we came out strong this morning and I just put my head down the whole day, I got a good start and just tried checking out from there,” Wells said.
The real battle waged behind him as Michael Labelle, Hayden Gillim and Robert McLendon duked it out for the final two podium spots. Jason Issenock worked hard to hunt the trio down and a slight bobble coming out of the heavily rutted Turn 4 of the Daytona track sent McClendon wide, dropping him out of contention. The three riders swapped positions numerous times before LaBelle was able to put a small gap between the other two on his way to a second place finish, 2.753 seconds behind Wells. Gillim would power his way to the final podium spot on his Kawasaki KX450F. Issenock would finish fourth, edging out Brandon Wilhelm at the line by 0.147 seconds.
The front row of many heats and the GNC Singles Main Event were peppered with riders wearing the sharp looking blue and white Motorcycle-Superstore.com Bell Helmets. Motorcycle-Superstore.com, presenting sponsor of both the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series and title sponsor of the AMA Pro Racing Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles Class, is offering up big money in its 2012 Bell Helmet Rider Support Program. Both Wells and LaBelle cashed in on the night, with Wells earning $600 in contingency money on the night for his race-winning effort while LaBelle will go home with an extra $500 in his pocket for his second-place finish.
The AMA Pro Flat Track paddock heads to Springfield, Illinois next for the Springfield TT on May 26, 2012.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Singles Daytona Short Track II Results 2012
1. Ryan Wells (Honda)
2. Michael LaBelle (Honda)
3. Hayden Gillim (Kawasaki)
4. Jason Issenock (Honda)
5. Brandon Wilhelm (Honda)
6. Robert Lewis (Honda)
7. Jake Quick (Honda)
8. Robert McLendon (Yamaha)
9. Wyatt Maguire (Yamaha)
10. Hunter Taylor (Honda)