Posted in:

Flat Track Finals 2013 — Pomona

On the scene in 2013, flat track racing continues to prove itself among the best of motorsport in terms of live spectating.  The speed, the sound, and the ballet-like balance of machines constantly on the edge of control makes flat track an obvious thrill ride…even when viewed from a distance.  The sideways action at the Pomona Fairplex just outside Los Angeles is an excellent venue to see this spectacle firsthand.  Although billed as a half-mile, the course is slightly more than that.  In years past, it has been fairly established that the Kawasaki-powered riders have an edge on the big mile courses; while the tractable power of the Harley-Davidson remains King of the Half-Mile (with all riders switching to converted 450cc motocross machines for the short tracks and TT courses).

However, with Pomona being slightly longer than a half-mile, the emerging Harley/Kawasaki rivalry reaches near parity. Add to it, that the Grand National Championship is decided at Pomona, and the tension builds to fever pitch.  It’s “put up or shut up” time on the clay.  This year’s final saw multiple restarts and a podium that featured three different makes, along with countless lead changes. Let’s look at some of the highlights, in pictures:

AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
Reigning champion Jared Mees (#1) put in a valiant effort in the early half of the race. With a broken leg early in the season, Mees was out of the title hunt but hoping to finish 2013 with a bang. Unfortunately he ended the evening– and the championship– in fourth place. Likewise, he showed great form in the early part of the season, as he shows promise in the photo early in the race, hounding the leaders. (Photo: Robert Jesmer)
AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
Phenom Shayna Texter had a disappointing 7th place in the Pro Singles class at Pomona. However, with two wins in 2013 she landed fourth overall, just two points shy of third. She and her crew also had the most holiday spirit in the pits. (Photo: Johnny Killmore)
AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
Defending champ Jared Mees contemplates his navel before the main event. His broken right arm during practice in June caused him to miss multiple rounds, spoiling his shot at keeping the number one plate for another year. He still managed one win and another three podiums, finishing fourth at the end of the season (as well as fourth here in Pomona). Not a bad season given the circumstances. (Photo: Johnny Killmore)
AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
Tension builds as racers wait the final seconds for the start. It was very odd to see a Suzuki logo on the front row of an AMA Grand National. (Photo: Johnny Killmore)
AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
“Slamin'” Sammy Halbert (#7) managed a win and two top-five finishes this year, but he still only made six events the entire season. Bad luck struck him at Pomona, as the race was stopped to remove his machine from the track. (Photo: Johnny Killmore)
AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
Rains from the previous few days made a mess out of the infield area. Since no one was shooting over here I trudged through the mess in hopes of getting some great shots. Not knowing how to really use a camera ruined that plan though, but my shoes cleaned up afterwards at least. (Photo: Johnny Killmore)
AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
Brad Baker (#12) took the win and the Combined Championship in impressive fashion, battling almost the entire race with title rival Bryan Smith. Baker’s Dodge Brothers Harley-Davidson seemed smooth in the high groove, but it wasn’t until the final laps that he managed a relatively comfortable lead over Smith’s Crosley Radio Kawasaki, winning by 0.7 seconds. (Photo: Johnny Killmore)
AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
Last year’s race winner Kenny Coolbeth dominated the entire weekend. This year he was only able to pull off a sixth place finish, also where he finished in the championship. He finished off the podium the entire year, with a best of fourth at the famed Springfield Mile II race. (Photo: Robert Jesmer)
AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
Briar Bauman (#14) is shown here putting his SV1000 Suzuki powered machine through its paces, threatening the lead after one of the restarts. This is the first time I’ve seen a Suzuki on the podium, this being Bauman’s best finish of the season. He landed 12th overall in the points, normally finishing out of the top 10, but managing three top-five results in 2013. (Photo: Robert Jesmer)
AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
Bryan Smith (#42) attempts to get the tighter exit to drive past for the lead. Brad Baker (#12) was able to keep up the fight for race distance and hold off the Kawasaki of Smith. This is the most evenly matched I have seen the Harley and Kawasaki yet. Usually the top end of the Kwaker makes it a force to be reckoned with on mile tracks, while the smoother power delivery of the Harley power plant gives it more grip on the half miles. It goes to show that a skilled right wrist and a large pair of cubes will make a race more exciting than all the technology in the world. (Photo: Robert Jesmer)
AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
This was the view for much of the race, with Baker (#12) on the Harley, leading Smith (#42) on the Kawasaki. Smith did not make things easy, however, making several lead changes during the entire race and keeping fans well entertained. (Photo: Robert Jesmer)
AMA Pro Flat Track Final 2013
Brad Baker (center) in victory, taking the win at Pomona and for the season. Bryan Smith (left) continues to prove the Kawasaki has potential enough to allow a brand rivalry to form again in flat track for the first time in decades. (Photo: Robert Jesmer)

 

Written by Johnny Killmore

Johnny Killmore is a Formula sidecar and motorcycle racer who lives in the Bay Area of California. Fascinated at a young age by machines, Johnny is most comfortable at race tracks, garages, or far away places astride a motorcycle. Having cultivated a life revolving around speed, racing is a natural extension of that.

Johnny is also a great story teller so it follows naturally that he would share his adventures and report on the adventures of others. Having formally studied journalism, art, and agriculture, Johnny uses the visual and literary arts to bring to life the challenges, risks, and rewards of living a life at speed.

72 posts