Slammin’ Sammy Halbert lived up to his name at Lima, slammin’ the door on Henry Wiles on Turn 4 of the last lap to capture the victory in the half-mile.
But it wasn’t Halbert who leapt to the early lead in the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com and Lucas Oil. Defending GNC Champion Jake Johnson of Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer’s Harley-Davidson grabbed the holeshot with Scott Powersports Johnny Lewis in hot pursuit. Lewis was able to muscle his Kawasaki into the lead by Lap 5 with Halbert lurking in the wings as he worked his way through the pack after getting off to a mediocre start. Sammy maneuvered to the front on Lap 11 and looked like he might run away with it after building a 2.6-second lead until the race was red flagged on Lap 20 when Brandon Robinson crashed on Turn 4.
At the restart of the 25-lap national half-mile, Halbert fortunately got off to a strong start because it gave Wiles, who had been making a bull rush through the pack, the opportunty he needed to close the gap. After dispatching of Rogers Racing/ Blue Springs Harley’s Jared Mees on Lap 16, Wiles set his sights on Halbert but looked destined for a second-place finish until the red flag made for a compelling dash to the finish, Henry’s late race charge all the more impressive considering he started the Main from the penalty line after jumping the start. The two would run neck-and-neck the final five laps but Halbert had the answer for every Wiles advance, including a Turn 3 collision in the final lap where he was able to hold on for his first victory of the season. Wiles would cross the line 0.220 seconds behind Sammy for second, while Johnson was able to edge Mees out at the line by 0.805 seconds to capture the final podium spot.
Mees didn’t walk away empty handed though after earning the MotoBatt Hard Charger Award for moving up six positions during the race. The “Hard Charger” is a cash award presented to the rider who advances the most positions during each expert main event. And though Wiles was denied the victory at Lima, he rides away with extra cash in his pocket as well after winning the five-lap Dash for Cash.
Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle rider Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., had a freak accident at Lima, hitting a track marker and breaking both his tibia and fibula.
The Lima round did not come without its casualties. Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Factory Rider Kenny Coolbeth hit an infield marker kicked onto the track inadvertently by a rider in front of him on the first lap and had to retire from the race where it was learned he had fractured his tibia and fibula. No time table has been set for his projected return to racing. Greg Crow Racing / White’s Harley-Davidson’s Matt Weidman suffered a nasty get-off in Round 2 and went to the hospital with shoulder and ankle injuries after putting up the fastest practice time. And “Bullet” Brad Baker retired early on the Columbia Avionics / Mark Cheza Harley with a broken swingarm bolt after qualifying third-fastest.
The AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles Main also saw a repeat winner from last year as Western Hills Honda’s Zakk Palmer came from behind to snatch the victory. Parkinson Brothers Racing’s Jordan McCready jumped out to the early lead with Weirback Racing’s Ryan Wells trailing, but by Lap 5 Palmer tracked them down and rode from the front the rest of the way to the win.
Joining Palmer on the podium was Kris Myers Farm’s Benjamin Myers who was ecstatic after capturing second place in his first national race. Another youngster rode the wheels off his Honda CRF450R to earn a spot on the podium for the very first time as privateer Jacob Constantine edged Wells at the line by 1.033 seconds for third place.
Wells, meanwhile, would cut Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles points leader Gerit Callies lead down to two points. Callies finished back in 12th place on his Fun Mart Cycles KTM.
Lima Half-Mile GNC Twins Results 2012
1. Sammy Halbert (Harley)
2. Henry Wiles (Ducati)
3. Jake Johnson (Harley)
4. Jared Mees (Harley)
5. Johnny Lewis (Kawasaki)
6. Jeffrey Carver, Jr. (Harley)
7. Robert Pearson (Harley)
8. Bryan Smith (Harley)
9. Briar Bauman (Kawasaki)
10. Don Taylor (Harley)
11. Jethro Halbert (Harley)
12. Kayl Kolkman (Harley)
Lima Half-Mile Pro Singles Results 2012
1. Zakk Palmer (Honda)
2. Benjamin Myers (Honda)
3. Jacob Constantine (none listed)
4. Ryan Wells (Honda)
5. Austin Luczak (Honda)
6. Stephen Vanderkuur (Honda)
7. Jordan McCready (Honda)
8. Robert Treinen (Honda)
9. Jason Isennock (Honda)
10. Coy Matthews (Honda)