Mees Leads Grand National Series by Five Points; Baker Sixth on Factory Harley
ELMA, Wash. (July 20, 2014) – Harley-Davidson® Wrecking Crew rider Jared Mees made a late-race pass for the lead and rode his Rogers Racing/Las Vegas H-D/Blue Springs H-D Harley-Davidson® XR750 motorcycle to victory in the AMA Pro Racing Grand National Twins main at Grays Harbor Raceway.
Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle® Factory Team rider Brad Baker won his qualifying heat, started on the front row for the 25-lap main, and finished sixth after running as high as fourth place with the lead group of riders.
“Pretty cool to see three East Coast racers come out on a West Coast podium,” said Mees, who now leads the series by a five-point margin. “I got a good start tonight to get with the lead group, and then ran my race and waited for the guys in front of me to make a mistake. That happened first to Coolbeth, and then to Smith, both in about the same spot on the track.”
The event, originally scheduled for Saturday night, was delayed by rain until Sunday afternoon, contributing to the challenging track conditions.
“This was a pretty technical track that took a lot of finesse and bike control,” said Baker, the defending AMA Pro Grand National champion. “I got the holeshot but then someone cut under me on the first lap. I got settled in and was racing with a group for third, and got up to fourth but then Halbert forced his way past me on the last lap and left some rubber on my leg it was so close. I had to catch it and Coolbeth got by me then. There was some close racing out there today.”
South East H-D/White’s H-D rider Sammy Halbert qualified on the pole for the 25-lap main on a rough half-mile track that was a physical challenge to ride for all the riders. Halbert jumped to an early lead but was passed on lap 10 by Crosley Radios/Villa-Esparza Kawasaki rider Bryan Smith. Smith battled for the next eight laps with Zanotti Racing/Moroneys H-D rider Kenny Coolbeth Jr., but when Coolbeth faltered and lost his line on lap 19, Mees jumped up to second place and then got by Smith on lap 21. Mees opened a gap on Smith of almost a half-second in the closing laps, and crossed the finish line with a 0.369-second lead. Ramspur Winery/Lloyd Bros Motorsports rider Jake Johnson finished third on a Harley-Davidson, followed by Harley-Davidson riders Halbert, Coolbeth and Baker.
Earlier in the evening, Halbert won the four-lap Dash for Cash bonus race.
After seven of 16 events on the AMA Pro Grand National schedule, Mees leads the series with 127 points. Smith jumps from fourth to second place with 122 points, followed by Johnson with 121 points. Coolbeth is fourth with 114 points, followed by Halbert with 108 points. Baker is in ninth place with 69 points.
AMA Grand National Twins racing resumes on July 26 on the Sacramento Mile at the Cal Expo Fair in Sacramento, Calif.
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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.