SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Sept. 15, 2012) -- For three quarters of the race it appeared Brad Baker was en route to victory at the Springfield Short Track AMA Pro Grand National. But then Grand National Singles specialist Henry Wiles kicked in the afterburners on his Don's Kawasaki KX450F. In the course of three laps he went from fourth to second. Then with five to go Baker made one slight mistake going into turn one and that was all Wiles needed. He zipped underneath Baker to take over the lead and then pulled away to a 0.941 second margin of victory over Baker. Grand National Championship Series leader Jared Mees finished third.
For Wiles it marked his third victory of the season, following wins at the Springfield TT and Peoria TT earlier in the summer.
After losing a ton of points on his lead in Knoxville, Iowa last week, Mees did what he needed to do to try to open up some more daylight on his close title rivals Jake Johnson and Sammy Halbert. Johnson finished fifth, while Halbert had a sub-par night, having to take a provisional start and then battling bike set up and finishing a lowly 14th. That means with four rounds to go Mees has an 11 point lead on Johnson. Halbert is still in the hunt, 23 points back from Mees.
Running fourth in the first half of the race Wiles admitted he was a little bit worried.
"I was going back and forth on which bike to run tonight," Wiles said. "As the race went on the bike I rode just got better. I was thinking I might be in a little trouble, but then I started finding a line and making my way to the front. Once I got behind Baker I noticed he was bouncing around here and there. I thought of going for it a few times earlier, but he made that little bobble in turn one and ran wide and I said, 'Thank you very much.'"
Jared Mees was crowned AMA Grand National Singles Championship tonight at the final round of the sub-series.
Dan Bromley came out of nowhere to win the Pro Singles final. Last year's AMA Horizon Award winner had not finished any better than eighth so far in his rookie season, but on the short track Saturday night he dominated, leading from flag to flag on his Bromley Brothers/KTM Racing KTM 450 SX-F.
Bromley held off a strong challenge from Wyatt Maguire, who took second, just 0.183 seconds behind the winner. William Cato finished third.
Jake Shoemaker, who finished fifth, took over the Pro Singles series lead.
Riders move from the Arena track to the Springfield Mile for the second half of the national doubleheader on Sunday.
Springfield Short Track Grand National Results
1. Henry Wiles, Kaw.
2. Brad Baker, Hon.
3. Jared Mees, Hon.
4. Briar Bauman, Hon.
5. Jake Johnson, Hon.
6. JD Beach, Kaw.
7. Jeffrey carver, Jr., Yam.
8. Robert Pearson, Yam.
9. Brandon Robinson, Hon.
10. Matt Weidman Hon.