LIMA, OH – June 27, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – In front of a full house on Saturday night at the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio, Brandon Robinson piloted the No. 44 Kennedy Racing Harley-Davidson XR750 to his first win since 2013 in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class. The Lima Half-Mile, a longstanding staple on the AMA Pro Flat Track calendar now promoted by Jared and Nichole Mees, was another successful 2016 event for the sport.
The defending champion bolted from the start to take the holeshot for the GNC1 Main Event, but quickly encountered a number of challenges from the rest of the field. “Mile Specialist” Bryan Smith and Factory Harley-Davidson rider Brad Baker each took the lead before the field completed the first lap, with Smith officially taking the point. Robinson showed that he wanted the win, however, and began to pull away from the pack after taking the lead on Lap 2.
Despite two red-flag periods, Robinson refused to surrender the lead. The Pennsylvania-native made the Kennedy Racing team proud as he led the GNC1 class for 24 of the evening’s 25-lap Main Event, finishing ahead of reigning GNC1 champion, Mees, by a margin of 0.403 of a second.
“I hate red flags,” Robinson said. “But it all played out tonight in my favor. I knew from the Dash I had a shot to win this thing. The bike was working good, especially early when the track was smooth and had a lot of moisture it was hooked and working so flawlessly, and I was just along for the ride just switching the throttle. It made my job easy. Half-way through the race it started to get rougher and rougher and I wouldn’t say I was getting tired, I was just struggling adapting to the track a little bit. I figured it out there in the end. My initial thought was ‘Finally!’ Three years of coming close and not getting the job done and then finally getting it done here again. It’s just rewarding. It feels good.”
Mees, who promoted his first-ever AMA Pro Flat Track event Saturday night, enjoyed his success both on and off the track.
“Hats off to their whole team,” Mees said. “They’ve been struggling and this is definitely going to give them some confidence, that’s for sure. It was a fun race. I got a good start at the very beginning and faded back and then I just started picking them off. The fitness played a big key and then we got a red flag so everybody got to calm down. I kind of wish I could’ve just ran 25 laps up in front there and maybe worn the boys out a little bit but it was great. I can’t thank my team enough.”
Winner of the 2015 Lima Half-Mile, Baker, wanted more from this year’s edition. The Washington native closed out the podium and finished ahead of fourth-place No. 42 Bryan Smith and fifth-place No. 10 Johnny Lewis.
“My line wasn’t working there for the beginning of the Main Event,” Baker said. “It took a couple of times almost crashing to figure it out and then I finally did. I felt like I was running consistent times when I was with the leaders, but by that time I was too far gone. I kept on missing shifts on the restarts. I think I would’ve had a chance to fight with these guys for the win if it wasn’t for that. I had a pretty intense battle with Bryan Smith and Johnny Lewis, he was bobbing pretty bad, almost clipped my bars a couple times but I guess that’s racing. I was mad, but Harley-Davidson, Monster Energy and Vance & Hines put a good bike under me.”
In the GNC2 class, No. 94B Ryan Wells took home first place on his Honda CRF450R over No. 68A Ryan Varnes and No. 14A Dalton Gauthier.
“I was more than confident,” said Wells. “After the first practice I knew we had a good bike and I kept getting good starts, I was thankful for it. I didn’t get the Hole Shot in the Main but I was second, so that was huge. About halfway, I put as many consistent laps as I could together and then I looked back over my shoulder to see that I had a pretty good lead and it was just clear sailing from there. I just made sure I didn’t make too big of a mistake for them to be able to capitalize if I went down or something. All-in-all it was a great race.”
Up next, AMA Pro Flat Track returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. on Saturday, July 30. Tickets for the Charlotte Half-Mile start at just $29 for adults and kids 13 and under are free. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/ama_pro_flat_track_charlotte_half_mile/.
Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines:
- Harley-Davidson Pole Award: No. 44 Brandon Robinson
- McElroy Packaging Lucky 13 Award Winner: No. 44 Brandon Robinson
- MotoBatt Hard Charger Award Winner: No. 20 Jarod Vanderkooi
- Öhlins Fastest Lap Award Winner: No. 69 Sammy Halbert
- Sunoco “Go The Distance” Award Leader: No. 42 Bryan Smith (252.75 miles completed)
- Larry and Judy McElroy Rookie of the Race Award Winner: No. 49T Broderick Buchan
- Westside Truck Parts “Just off the Box” Award Winners: No. 49T Broderick Buchan (4th), No. 16T Dave Pouliot (5th)
- Sunoco “Go The Distance” Award Leader: No. 26E Dylan Morin (186.37 miles completed)
About AMA Pro Flat Track
AMA Pro Flat Track is the world’s premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on AMA Pro Flat Track, please visit http://www.amaproracing.com/ft/, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or live stream the on-track action on FansChoice.tv.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.