Bryan Smith Thunders to a win at the Black Hills Half-Mile during the 76th Sturgis Rally
South Dakota is known for its celebrations of all things motorcycles, and on this special Tuesday night, August 9, 2016, it celebrated the speed and thunder of the AMA Pro Flat Track racing series in Rapid City on the half-mile oval at Black Hills Speedway.
Defending Harley-Davidson GNC1 Champion, Jared Mees, rolled into Sturgis with a scant three-point lead over "Mile Specialist" Brian Smith due to his win a week earlier at the Charlotte, NC Half-Mile.
Bryan Smith slipped his Ninja® 650-powered machine across the stripe just inches ahead of the No. 1 Harley-Davidson XR750 racer of Jared Mees. The veteran of the pack, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr.,riding the No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson XR750 was just 0.300 seconds behind to secure a third place finish.
Smith and Mees did not disappoint the crowd, with several dozen lead changes over the race’s 25 laps. At the end, Smith earned his first Half-Mile circuit win of the 2016 season with a 0.207 second margin of victory over Mees.
“It feels great,” Smith said. “I’m pumped to be able to beat the other guys on the Half-Mile. We had a little bit of success before but we felt like the Kawasaki was the bike to have today. My team just did their homework in the last week and got me a bike that was completely dialed in and the best bike out there. I’m just pumped to let the competition know that we’re there to win this championship.”
Heading into the Main Event Smith was the man to beat, winning Qualifying Heat 2 with the fastest lap time of the day. After the sun set the GNC1 Main Event got under way and the Black Hills fans would not be disappointed.
Throughout the 25-Lap event, the leaders would swap positions several dozen times and when the dust settled it was Smith taking the win by a margin of .207 seconds.
In Other racing news - New Indian Scout FTR750 launched at Sturgis
The new Indian Scout FTR750 Flat Track Race Bike was revealed with the #51 of Bill Tuman, the last rider to win a Grand National Championship on an Indian in 1953. The Indian Scout FTR750 represents Indian Motorcycle’s bid for a strong return to AMA Pro flat track racing (FTR stands for Flat Track Racer).
On-hand were two surviving members of the legendary Indian Wrecking Crew, Bobby Hill and Bill Tuman, both of whom are AMA Hall of Fame members.
The bike features a high-revving, custom V-Twin engine developed in-house and is wrapped in a unique steel frame that allows for a tight wheelbase, large centrally located airbox and unique lightweight carbon fiber body.