Rodney Smith and Jason Raines continued their ongoing battle in the AMA Grand National Cross Country Series at the Wisp round in Maryland, yesterday. This time, it was FMF Suzuki’s Smith coming out on top the last two times, it was Raines who prevailed.
“I told Jason on the start, ‘Hey, its going to be me and you today,’ and it was,” Smith said. “Jason rode awesome. I got a bad start and moved up early, and we passed each other a few times on the last lap.”
“I [wanted] to win this race so bad, but I know Rodney wanted to, too,” Raines said.
Raines, on the Am-Pro Yamaha, passed Smith for the lead early on the final lap, but Smith found a new line on a downhill and the following corner to get the spot back with just a few miles to go. The two riders were never more than a few seconds apart throughout the entire three-hour race.
“On the last lap I passed him and he passed me back,” Raines said. “We were pushing it so hard, I know we were swapping bad. We both saw the sides of our bikes a few times out there.”
Third place on the day went to a very happy Steve Hatch who made his podium debut with his new Throttlehead.com Kawasaki team.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Hatch said. “The team never gave up on me and I never gave up on them. I had some arm pump early, so it was just one of those things. Then I snapped the end off of my brake pedal, and it was hard to get stopped on those downhills.”
Smith and Raines hold a big points lead over the rest of the field, and with the win Smith doubles his points lead from five to 10 over Raines.
O/A: 1. Rodney Smith (Suz); 2. Jason Raines (Yam); 3. Steve Hatch (Kaw); 4. Robbie Jenks (Yam); 5. Doug Blackwell (Suz); 6. Fred Andrews (Suz); 7. Mike Kiedrowski (Suz); 8. Nathan Kanney (Yam); 9. Scott Summers (Hon); 10. Randy Hawkins (Yam); 11. Jimmy Jarrett (Yam); 12. Cole Calkins (Kaw); 13. P A Allen (Kaw); 14. Brian Garrahan (KTM); 15. Scott Watkins (Kaw); 16. Jesse Robinson (Kaw); 17. Justin Williamson (Yam); 18. Aaron Wegner (Yam); 19. Chris Gallt (Kaw); 20. Ryan Rodgers (KTM).
AMA Grand National Cross Country Series Point Standings (After 9 of 14 rounds): 1. Rodney Smith (221/5 wins); 2. Jason Raines (211/3 wins); 3. Steve Hatch (138); 4. Fred Andrews (135); 5. Mike Kiedrowski (128); 6. Barry Hawk Jr. (124); 7. Scott Summers (115); 8. Doug Blackwell (107); 9. Brian Garrahan (99); 10. Robbie Jenks (88).