Flat Track is back! The 2013 season opener at Daytona was a taste of what’s likely to be an amazing year of racing.
The 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track season Presented by J&P Cycles got off to a stellar start in Daytona. Day 1 of the two day Flat Track schedule was full of practice runs, qualifiers, meet-and-greets with fans and two heated final races that saw one rider gain his first-ever pro win, and another gain redemption following a broken back which ended his season in 2012.
AMA Pro GNC Expert Singles
Mikey Rush returned to flat track piloting a Honda CRF450R for Machete Energy and after two restarts and a fierce battle with Brad “The Bullet” Baker, won the inaugural Expert Singles race of 2013. Baker, riding for Specialty Fabrication, held to second-place over two seconds ahead of Montgomeryville Cycle’s Jared Mees, the defending AMA Pro Grand National Champion.
The win was especially gratifying for Rush, who broke his back in 2012 and was forced to sit out the remainder of the season. He last won an Expert Main event in 2007, also at Daytona and he was elated to grab the victory.
“I love Daytona,” said Rush, “This place is special to me. I was watching what he (Baker) was doing. I made (the pass) stick. I just tried to put down some smooth laps after that.”
The race was halted twice during the early laps after riders got tangled in Turn 3, but once underway it was Baker who jetted to the front. “The Bullet” was able to hold steady in the lead for a number of laps and appeared to be building a comfortable gap on the field, but Rush was tenacious and soon caught Baker while the two went head-to-head for a number of laps. Rush pushed past in Turn 4 on Lap 18 and once in the lead was uncatchable. Mees held steady in third and was happy to see Rush earn the win following his difficult season last year.
“When I saw Mike, I thought, ‘he’s going to win this thing,’ ” Mees said. “I’m happy for Mike. He deserves that win.”
Mees didn’t go home empty handed though, as he took home the $1000 dollar prize after winning the four-lap Dash for Cash a fraction of a second ahead of Henry Wiles. Wiles challenged Mees for the podium but was unable to find a line past, ending the main event in fourth. TJ Burnett Farms’ Brandon Robinson took fifth followed by Scott Powersports’ Matt Weidman in sixth and Jake Johnson in seventh.
Rush takes the initial points leader in the Expert Singles class and tomorrow night he’ll try to double his score in the Daytona Flat Track II on Friday, March 15th.
AMA Pro GNC Singles Daytona I Results 2013:
1. Mikey Rush (Honda)
2. Brad Baker (Honda)
3. Jared Mees (Honda)
4. Henry Wiles (Honda)
5. Brandon Robinson (Kawasaki)
6. Matt Weidman (Honda)
7. Jake Johnson (Honda)
8. Johnny Lewis (Honda)
9. Stevie Bonsey (Honda)
10. Jethro Halbert (Suzuki)
11. Robert Pearson (Honda)
12. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. (Kawasaki)
13. Kayl Kolkman (Kawasaki)
14. Donald Mullen II (Honda)
15. Jeffrey Carver Jr. (Honda)
AMA J&P Cycles Pro Singles
In the J&P Pro Singles main event, rookie flat tracker Kyle Johnson of Boughner Racing made a big impact, powering his Kawasaki KX450F to the win in his first professional race. He beat out High Dairy Stores’ Jason Isonnock by just over one second and Mike Poe finished in third.
Johnson made the pass for the front during the final laps, getting ahead of Poe who had been leading. The Pro Singles main got off to a rough start, with two restarts necessary. After the second restart, defending Pro Singles champion Stephen Vanderkuur was forced to retire from the race due to mechanical issues that his team had tried to resolve after the first restart. Once the action was underway, Johnson was never far from the lead fighting hard with Isennock and Poe throughout.
Wilhelm Racing’s Brandon Wilhelm crossed the line fourth, followed by GP Sports’ Rodney Spencer Jr. in fifth. Waters Auto Body’s Ryan Wells would finish the night sixth with Hunter Mfg.’s Hunter Taylor trailing in seventh.
As with the GNC Expert Singles, the Pro Singles riders get a second day of competition at Daytona’s flat track on Friday. Johnson will work to extend his overall lead but will have some stiff competition in Isennock and Poe, as well as Vanderkuur if he’s able to cure his mechanical gremlins.
AMA Pro Singles Daytona I Results 2013:
1. Kyle Johnson (Kawasaki)
2. Jason Isennock (Honda)
3. Mike Poe (Honda)
4. Brandon Wilhelm (Honda)
5. Rodney Spencer Jr. (Honda)
6. Ryan Wells (Hodna)
7. Hunter Taylor (Honda)
8. Dan Bromley (KTM)
9. Jake Constantine (Honda)
10. Wyatt Maguire (Yamaha)
11. Cory Strickler (Honda)
12. Robert Lewis (Honda)
13. Austin Luczak (Honda)
14. Dominic Colindres (Honda)
15. Shayna Texter (Honda)