In what could be the final running of the legendary race at the Cal Expo State Fairgrounds, First Racing Honda’s Bryan Smith did all that he could do to pile on the points in his quest for the Formula USA National Dirt Track title, by qualifying fastest, winning his heat race and then scoring the Pro Singles main event victory. The Michigan-based youngster battled with his veteran teammate, Terry Poovey, for the entire distance, the two riders drafting clear of the rest of the pack early in the 20-lap final. Smith was better at the line most of the time, though Poovey did take the lead when the white flag was shown to the field. Smith remained calm and simply followed the Texan around the big oval, timing the slingshot draft perfectly to win the race by a bike length at the line.
“I did everything I could tonight,” Smith said. “I picked up two points for fast qualifier, more points for the heat race win and then won the main. I’m happy. This is one of my favorite tracks. I would have been disappointed if I didn’t win it. I knew I had Terry covered. I let him lead on that last lap so that I could follow him, but I probably could have won it if I had led it off of four too.”
Durelle Racing Products Honda rider Dave Durelle put in another strong Pro Singles performance, catching and passing Dan Stanley, Willie McCoy and Logan Myers to finish third.
Smith’s win puts him in even greater control of the series points lead with two rounds remaining. Smith now leads Poovey, 218-156, as the series heads to the Del Mar Fairgrounds for its final two races of the season.
“I’m looking forward to Del Mar,” he said. “I’ll probably give away a few points at the short track, but I want to win the mile.”
The Memphis Shades Twins Challenge was another display of team power. Team KTM’s Joe Kopp and Kenny Coolbeth had it, but Coolbeth had more as he ran down Kopp – who appeared to have an insurmountable lead – late in the race to earn his second Formula USA win of the year.
“My bike was awesome tonight,” the KTM/Jones Power Sports-backed Coolbeth said. “Once I got into second place, I looked up and saw where Joe was. I didn’t think that I could catch him, but I was just burying the thing into the corners as deep as I could.”
Team Suzuki/Parts Unlimted’s Kevin Varnes gave his camp a reason to cheer as well when he put the team’s new fuel-injected, DL1000-based entry onto the podium for the first time. Varnes ran second early, then succumbed to Coolbeth before running a lonely third. Eventually, Geo Roeder II caught up to Varnes and made a pass for third on the last lap, but Varnes was able to retake the position with a draft move at the line. It was Varnes’ best career finish on a mile.
The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for a Harley-Davidson rider, as Jennifer Snyder rode her Blast-powered, factory-backed Harley-Davidson 500R to the win in the Silver Cup race. Snyder took the lead just before the halfway point and then pulled away convincingly. SuperTrapp/Moroney’s Mike Hacker was second. Custom Chrome/Kiesow Racing’s Gary Rogers was third.
Cal Expo State Fairgrounds
Results: September 13, 2003
PRO SINGLES (20 laps; 18 riders): 1. Bryan Smith (Hon); 2. Terry Poovey (Hon); 3. Dave Durelle (Hon); 4. Dan Stanley (Hon); 5. Willie McCoy (Hon); 6. Logan Myers (Hon); 7. Nicholas Cummings (Hon); 8. Kenny Coolbeth (KTM); 9. Joe Kopp (KTM); 10. Jake Johnson (Hon); 11. Merle Scherb (Hon); 12. Shaun Russell (KTM); 13. J.R. Schnabel (Yam); 14. Matt Wait (Yam); 15. Jared Mees (Hon); 16. Raun Wood (Hon); 17. Rob Pearson (Hon); 18. Rich King (H-D).
Time: 13 min., 02.339 sec.
MEMPHIS SHADES TWINS CHALLENGE (16 laps; 12 riders): 1. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 2. Joe Kopp (H-D); 3. Kevin Varnes (Suz); 4. Geo Roeder II (H-D); 5. Jake Johnson (H-D); 6. Mike Hacker (H-D); 7. Willie McCoy (H-D); 8. Rich King (H-D); 9. Larry Pegram (Apr); 10. Jared Mees (H-D); 11. J.R. Schnabel (H-D); 12. A.J. Eslick (Suz).
Time: 10 min., 09.532 sec.
SILVER CUP (8 laps; 18 riders): 1. Jennifer Snyder (H-D); 2. Mike Hacker (Hon); 3. Gary Rogers (Hon); 4. Kyle Ragsdale (Hon); 5. Brett Pankey (Hon); 6. Jimmy Wood (Hon); 7. Larry Pegram (KTM); 8. Justin Filice (Hon); 9. Nichole Cheza (Hon); 10. Kenny Carlotta (Hon); 11. Paul Bergstrom (Hon); 12. R.J. Overholt (Hon); 13. Mark Williams (Yam); 14. Casey Yarrow (Hon); 15. Tony Souza (Hon); 16. Scooter Vernon (Hon); 17. Jaime Aguilar (Hon); 18. Kevin Bricker (Hon).
Time: 5 min., 27.588 sec.