The Bullet Takes the Win
Brad Baker killed it at the at the Ramspur Winery Santa Rosa Mile presented by Triumph win a win on the No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson XR750 rider crossing the finish line a shocking 10.5 seconds clear of 2nd place Bryan Smith.
“I can’t even describe the way it feels,” Baker said. “It’s been a roller coaster of a year. And it seems like every time, I’d have an eight ball. If anything that could happen badly, it did. You just got to grin hard and not let those things bother you. Same thing with the team… You just have to move forward and that’s what they did. After that Semi, it did kind of come out to my advantage because I got to try out some lines on that motorcycle. Can’t give a big enough thanks to my whole team.”
By the Numbers:
- GNC1 Race 1 (25 Laps)
- Location: Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, CA
- Race Time: 16:57.438
- Margin of Victory: 10.500
- Best Race Lap: Brad Baker (0:38.664)
- Winner: Brad Baker
Smith Takes 2016 Championship - If Brad Baker won the battle, then Bryan Smith won the war. By taking 2nd place, Smith took the 2016 Championship on his high-performance Kawasaki.
It was the battle for second though, that had everyone captivated. A thrilling battle in the final moments which served as the climax of a season long battle for the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines Championship between Smith on the No. 42 Crosley/Howerton Kawasaki Ninja 650 and Jared Mees on the No. 1 Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson XR750.
Bryan Smith and his tuner Ricky Howerton have an expression between the pair of them about good news or bad news: “Are we drinking champagne or Jack Daniels?” If you’re in racing, good news means winning, more importantly winning the championship and drinking champagne.
“If a racer ever said that he’s gave it everything on the last lap or last corner, I’d call him a liar because that was everything that I had inside me,” Smith said. “The grips were falling out of my hands, my feet were falling off of the pegs and I could not hold on, so thank God that it worked out.”
Just two points separated Smith and three-time Grand National Champion Mees going into the final race of the season and, as it turned out, as well as the final lap and final corner! The championship was ultimately decided in the final turn of the year at the Santa Rosa Mile when, separated by just inches, Smith slammed the door shut on Mees and locked up the 2016 championship.
Mees put up a great fight, but Smith was not going to let his first Grand National Championship slip out of his grasp once again.
“It’s something you can’t explain,” Smith said. “To win it and come down that close, I would have liked for Jared (Mees) not to catch me. My heart rate went to about 360 that last lap."
2016 Top 10 Standings
- Bryan Smith
- Jared Mees
- Brandon Robinson
- Jake Johnson
- Sammy Halbert
- Brad Baker
- Kenny Coolbeth, Jr.
- Henry Wiles
- Cory Texter
- Jarod Vanderkooi
2017 American Flat Track ScheduleAmerican Flat Track series expanded to an 18-round schedule for 2017. The mix of track configurations (six Miles, seven Half-Miles, two Short Tracks and three TTs) and boasts the most rounds on a schedule since 2011.
- March 16: DAYTONA TT – Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.
- March 25: Georgia Short Track – Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, Ga.
- April 1: Charlotte Half-Mile – Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.
- May 13: Arizona Mile – Turf Paradise, Phoenix, Ariz.
- May 20: Sacramento Mile – Cal Expo Fairgrounds, Sacramento, Calif.
- May 27-28: Springfield Mile I* – Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, Ill.
- June 3: Red Mile – The Red Mile, Lexington, Ky.
- June 17: OKC Mile – Remington Park, Oklahoma City
- June 24: Lima Half-Mile – Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, Ohio
- July 8: Rolling Wheels Half-Mile – Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, Elbridge, N.Y.
- July 29: Calistoga Half-Mile – Calistoga Speedway, Calistoga, Calif.
- Aug. 6: Buffalo Chip TT presented by Indian Motorcycle – Buffalo Chip Campgrounds, Sturgis, S.D.
- Aug. 8: Black Hills Half-Mile – Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, S.D.
- Aug. 13: Peoria TT – Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, Ill.
- Sept. 2-3: Springfield Mile II** – Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, Ill.
- Sept. 9: Williams Grove Half-Mile – Williams Gove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, Pa.
- Sept. 23: Lone Star Half-Mile – Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas
- Oct. 7: Perris Short Track – Perris Auto Speedway, Perris, Calif.
The 2017 season will kick off on March 16 during Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Fla. on a new TT circuit under the bright lights inside Daytona International Speedway. The debut event is moving inside the “World Center of Racing” on a one-of-a-kind .6-mile TT track designed by seven-time Grand National Champion Chris Carr.
Rule Changes for 2017
The AMA will allow race-only Twin engines from any manufacturer upon approval in 2016. Teams will have the option of using engines ranging from 550cc to 1250cc in the Twins class, which can be modified to “achieve the class displacement limit by modifying the bore and stroke.”
Race-only engines can’t exceed 750cc though, with “a maximum allowable overbore of 0.045” per cylinder.”
Specifications have been made regarding a host of mechanical elements which can be modified, from the crankshaft, intake and exhaust ports, clutch basket, pistons and more. Click here to view the full text provided by the AMA. The minimum weight for all Twins displacements is down to 300 pounds from 310 in 2015.
The forks on Twins machines can make use of any commercially available inner and outer fork tubes and modifications are permitted. Out back, single or dual shocks are permitted as are linkages.
The engine mount location, steering head, swingarm pivot point, and rear suspension pick-up are not regulated, nor are handlebars, hand controls or cables.