AMA Flat Track Motorcycles
Calistoga Speedway/Napa County Fairgrounds September 22, 2014
Media Contact: Bill Sessa (916) 804-3663
AMA Pro Title Battle Is Close As Tour Comes To Calistoga Half-Mile
Three Riders Have a Shot at No 1 plate
Calistoga—-As the AMA Pro racing flat track motorcycle series returns to Calistoga Speedway for only the third time in the track’s history this Saturday night, three riders will be looking to close out a championship and the right to wear the “No 1” plate next year.
Defending champion Bryan Smith, Flint, Mi., leads the title chase with two races remaining in the 16-event national series, but his close buddy Jared Mees, also from Flint, is breathing down his tailpipe only nine points behind, by virtue of two race wins and an amazing streak of top finishes, in which he has finished in the top five in all but one race out of 14.
Behind them, Pennsylvania rider Jake Johnson is winless in 2014 but has relied on consistent top finishes to remain just 23 markers back. “It’s a long shot,” Johnson, sponsored by Napa Valley’s Ramspur Winery, says about his title chances. “But anything can happen.”
Johnson knows first-hand that long-shots can pay off. He came from behind to win the Calistoga Half Mile in 2011, the last time the series appeared in the valley, and won the season finale in Pomona to claim that year’s national championship.
Smith, who won at Cal Expo in July for the fourth consecutive year, is an acknowledged “master of the miles.” But he says that the strategy for winning on the half miles, where he has claimed two wins this year, is vastly different. “The start is much more important than the draft,” said Smith. “You have to be more aggressive with a lot of passing in the corners,” he added. “It’s not a chess match like it is on the miles.”
Up to 40 Expert Twin and Pro Singles teams are expected for the AMA Pro Calistoga Half Mile, the next to last stop on the 16 race tour that began in Daytona in March and will end in Pomona on Oct. 11.
Ticket gates will open at noon and afternoon events on the Napa County Fairgrounds will include a display of historic racing motorcycles and an autograph session with legendary Hall of Fame riders such as Mert Lawwill, Dick Mann and three time national champion Bubba Shobert.
The day will also feature a parade of racing bikes driven through the town, leading to an autograph session with some of the top riders on the AMA tour. Practice begins at 3:30 with racing set for 6 pm. Ticket and race info is available at www.calistogahalfmile.com