Mees Finishes Second on Harley-Davidson XR750; Baker is Ninth on Factory Harley
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (July 5, 2014) – Harley-Davidson® Wrecking Crew rider Jared Mees moved into the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season points lead after racing his Rogers Racing/Las Vegas H-D/Blue Springs H-D Harley-Davidson® XR750 motorcycle to a second-place finish at Hagerstown Speedway. The Grand National Twins main was won by Crosley Radios/Villa-Esparza Kawasaki rider Bryan Smith.
Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle® Factory Team rider Brad Baker finished ninth. Baker qualified on the second row, but a great start put him into the lead pack in the early laps. Baker got sideways out of the groove on lap four and was able to regain control without crashing, but dropped back to 10th place.
“The bike slid out on me there and I went into quite a tank slapper. I managed to save it, but lost a lot of ground,” said Baker, the defending AMA Grand National Champion. “The bike ran really well tonight, but we just missed on the set-up a little, and I think I made a bad choice on gear selection. I could not put the power to the track on the straights. I wasn’t hooked up as well as some of the other bikes.”
Zanotti Racing/Moroneys H-D rider Kenny Coolbeth Jr. was on the pole for the 25-lap main and led from the start, opening a lead of about 1.5 seconds on second-place Smith. Coolbeth’s race came to a sudden end on lap eight when his motorcycle suffered a mechanical issue. Smith inherited the lead, with Mees in hot pursuit. For about 10 laps Smith and Mees raced wheel to wheel, as Mees was able to pull alongside Smith but never quite able to complete a pass. On lap 20 Mees began to fall off the pace, and Smith eventually won by 0.832 seconds. Montgomeryville Cycle Center Kawasaki rider Jake Shoemaker was third.
“I was running my own race and saw Coolbeth drop out, so I thought it was time to put my head down and catch Smith,” said Mees, the 2012 AMA Grand National champion. “His line crossed mine in turns three and four and I just couldn’t find a way around him. Finally with about five to go my tire went away and was losing grip and drive off the turns. My team put me on a great Harley-Davidson and we gave him a lot of pressure.”
Earlier in the evening, Smith also won the four-lap Dash for Cash bonus race.
Coolbeth’s trouble also cost him the AMA Grand National Championship points lead. After six of 16 events, Mees now leads the series with 104 points. Ramspur Winery/Lloyd Bros Motorsports rider Jake Johnson, who placed sixth at Hagerstown, retains second place 103 points. Coolbeth is now in third place and tied with Smith at 99 points. Baker is in tenth place with 52 points.
AMA Grand National Twins racing resumes on July 19 on the Grays Harbor Raceway half-mile in Elma, Wash.
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Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson® motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson's website at www.h-d.com.