“This win feels great,” said Smith. “Everyone kept it clean and it was a really good race. I have to thank my team as they’ve been behind me from the start. I also want to thank Kawasaki for coming on board this year, that’s really huge.”
The win marked Smith’s 18th career Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines victory and his fifth at Springfield. The Flint, Mich., native now sits seventh in the point standings and will be looking to earn another win next weekend when the series visits Sacramento, Calif., for the Sacramento Mile. It’s a track where Smith has been dominant, winning his last four main events there.
The first row at Springfield showed the diversity of this year’s paddock, with two Kawasaki’s, two Harleys, a Triumph and a Ducati all starting from the front. Smith grabbed the holeshot with Sammy Halbert slotting into second position on his Briggs Auto Kawasaki, Mees jumping out in third.
Willie McCoy showed promise early in race, shooting up the inside on the back straight of the first lap to pass both Mees and Kenny Coolbeth heading into Turn 3.
Halbert also was an early contender, grabbing the lead on Lap 2 before Smith quickly returned the favor. On Lap 4, McCoy snuck up the inside to grab the lead over the Kawasaki’s of both Halbert and Smith. The trio used the draft to play cat and mouse at the front of the pack with Coolbeth and Baker hanging around in the fifth and sixth position. But every time a rider launched an attack, Smith would use a combination of the Kawasaki’s horsepower and deft drafting to power back into the lead.
The race was red-flagged on Lap 11 when Johnny Lewis went down on the front straight-away, injuring his right hand. On the restart, Smith again shot out to the lead, Mees in hot pursuit.
Mees didn’t have enough to take the win from Smith at the end of the main, and was left with a battle for third with Baker on the No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson as the two crossed the line almost simultaneously. Mees now sits second in points for his efforts, though, and remains arguably the most consistent rider on the circuit.
Baker, barely a wheel behind Mees, showed the 2013 Grand National Champion is fully healed from an arm injury suffered during the offseason. Baker sat behind No. 7 Briggs Auto Kawasaki rider Halbert for the majority of the main, but got by late to challenge Mees for the second spot.
Baker’s third place finish improves his position in the point standings to eighth, while Halbert’s fourth place effort moves him to third.
Rounding out the Springfield Mile top five in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class was McCoy aboard his Harley-Davidson of Wausau XR-750.
Kenny Coolbeth maintained the points lead with a seventh place finish on his No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson.
Three-time World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss failed to make the main event aboard his 21I Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati, however, the Aussie showed signs of improvement as the day went on, decreasing his lap times in every on-track session.
“I’m really pleased with the way things went,” said Bayliss. “These guys are younger than me and they cut their teeth on this sport. They’ve been doing it year-in and year-out for many years and they’re very good. After my first session, I was like ‘Wow, this is going to be quite difficult today.’ But every session I gained a second and by the end of the day I was basically one second off the fast time. I knew making the main event would be hard. It was good to race these guys. It was sweet. The bike was nice and there’s a few little things we need to work on, but it’s about me getting comfortable.”
2015 Springfield Mile 1 GNC2 Results –
In his second career Springfield Mile start, Davis Fisher rode his No. 67M Racing Unlimited Kawasaki to the GNC2 main event victory.
Starting from third on the grid, Fisher benefited from earning the holeshot following the second staggered start of the main, proving once again that he is one of the fastest riders in GNC2 today.
Fisher edged a charging Jamison Minor in the race’s final laps to earn his first victory of 2015, and his win puts him atop the point standings after three rounds.
“As the race went on, I knew it was going to come down to the final laps,” said Fisher. “I saw (Jamison) Minor catching up to me and I just didn’t want to make any mistakes. It was definitely a battle and a great race. It feels good to get the win and achieve my goal today.”
Minor’s second-place effort aboard his No. 27U Roy Built Kawasaki moves him to sixth in the GNC2 point standings.
Closing out the podium was the No. 44E Goeken Racing Kawasaki rider, Nick Armstrong, while Brandon Wilhelm, riding the 24J Mike Butler Racing Kawasaki and Dan Bromley, aboard the No. 54A Bill Werner Racing Kawasaki, rounded out the top five, respectively.
Andrew Luker owned the GNC2 points lead heading into Springfield, but a crash on lap three of the main event forced him out of the race, clearing the way for a big shakeup in the standings. Luker’s 18th place finish puts him back to third in points.
Next up, the stars of AMA Pro Flat Track will visit Sacramento, Calif., for the Sacramento Mile on May 30. For tickets and information regarding the event, scheduled to take place at the Cal Expo, please visit https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/b/ae283e or call 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453).
Fans can also watch every round of the AMA Pro Flat Track season live online, in high definition and free of charge at www.FansChoice.tv.
2015 AMA Pro Springfield Mile 1 GNC Results:
1. Bryan Smith (Kawasaki)
2. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
3. Brad Baker (Harley-Davidson)
4. Sammy Halbert (Kawasaki)
5. Willie McCoy (Harley-Davidson)
6. Henry Wiles (Harley-Davidson)
7. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. (Harley-Davidson)
8. Mikey Martin (Kawasaki)
9. Doug Lawrence (Kawasaki)
10. Kyle Johnson (Kawasaki)
11. Briar Bauman (Kawasaki)
12. Nichole Mees (Harley-Davidson)
13. Shawn Baer (KTM)
14. Jake Shoemaker (Triumph)
15. Robert Pearson (KTM)
2015 AMA Pro Springfield Mile 1 GNC2 Results:
1. Davis Fisher (Kawasaki)
2. Jamison Minor (Kawasaki)
3. Nick Armstrong (Kawasaki)
4. Brandon Wilhelm (Kawasaki)
5. Dan Bromley (Kawasaki)
6. Ryan Varnes (Kawasaki)
7. Dalton Gauthier (Kawasaki)
8. Bronson Bauman (Harley-Davidson)
9. Jeffery Lowery (Kawasaki)
10. Kolby Carlile (Kawasaki)