Two-time and defending AMA Grand National Twins Champion Ken Coolbeth got a great start to his title defense by dominating the belated opening round of the GNC Twins on the Vernon (N.Y.) Downs Mile.
Officials and track workers worked hard to avoid a second-straight rainout. The race was delayed for hours after brief, but heavy showers moved through the area Saturday evening. By the time Coolbeth took the checkered flag it was nearly 1:00 am on Sunday morning.
Coolbeth, riding a factory Harley-Davidson XR750, pulled away from an early battle with Chris Carr and stretched it out to an incredible 15.898-second margin of victory at the end of 25 laps.
Moroney’s/Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson’s Bryan Smith took second after an excellent late-race skirmish with Jared Mees and Brandan Bergen. Mees rounded out the podium finishers on his Blue Springs/Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson. Bergen was fourth in his Grand National Twins debut and, after a great early race, Carr faded late to finish fifth.
The win moved Coolbeth into the top 20 on the all-time AMA Grand National wins list. The Morris, Connecticut rider now has 15-career victories.