After thoroughly dominating the 56th running of the Peoria TT in 2004, there was some doubt as to whether or not Mack Daddy Racing Honda’s Henry Wiles (pictured) was legit or whether he had just caught a lucky break in the early laps of that race and been able to get to sneak off to a victory that he might not otherwise have earned. Today, at the 57th running of the oldest race on the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship schedule, the 21-year-old Michigan rider silenced the doubters as he amply proved that 2004 was no fluke.
Wiles once again thrashed the field in the 25-lap Grand National TT, leading from the start in a race that was red-flagged twice, bunching the field back up just about every time it seemed that he had pulled clear of the competition.
But every time the green flashed again, Wiles would streak away again, running the high line to perfection in the chewed-up turns and flying high over the fabled Peoria jump to lead every lap, including the nine-lap dash that came after the final red flag. Even after he slowed down to acknowledge the crowd on the final lap, Wiles’ margin of victory was still a sizable 1.724 seconds. No fluke indeed.
Wiles (17) outran a tough six-rider pack of potential winners, two of them former Peoria TT winners. Wiles held off 2003 winner JR Schnabel (33) through the two red flags, Schnabel running second on the Memphis Shades/Parts Unimited Yamaha each time, only to suffer bike trouble and drop back early in the nine-lap dash at the end. That left Quality Checked Certified Pre-owned Ford Racing KTM rider Chris Carr (1) to take up the chase, but the 13-time Peoria winner struggled to get through the corners late in the race and was passed by Coziahr Harley-Davidson/National Cycle’s Johnny Murphree (20), who finished second, and Team Suzuki Flat Track/Parts Unlimited’s Jake Johnson (14), who finished third.
Carr’s fourth-place finish marked the second year in a row that he was kept off the Peoria podium, but in the bigger picture that is the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship chase, the 37-year-old veteran still beat the men who are pursuing him the closest to open up his series points lead to double digits. Carr now leads Mid-America Harley-Davidson/Jones Powersports’ Kenny Coolbeth, who was 11th today, 186-174. Latus Motors Harley-Davidson’s Joe Kopp, who finished 10th after having to come from the third row, is still third, with 153.
Saddlemen/Lancaster Harley-Davidson’s Jard Mees still holds down the fourth spot, his ninth-place finish today at Peoria putting him on 139 points. Johnson moved back around Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson’s Rich King in the points, retaking the fifth spot, with 115. King finished 13th in the Peoria main event.
Moroney’s Harley-Davidson’s Bryan Smith nursed a healing broken ankle to finish fifth, ahead of KK Motorcycle Supply’s A.J. Eslick, Bartels’ Harley-Davidson/TNT Harley.com’s Shaun Russell. Ideal Environmental Engineering/Marshall Distributing’s Bryan Bigelow was eighth, charging back through the pack from the last starting spot after crashing and bringing out the second red flag.
PMC Race Park
Results: August 21, 2005 (Round 11 of 16)
GRAND NATIONAL (25 laps; 18 riders): 1. Henry Wiles (Hon); 2. Johnny Murphree (Hon); 3. Jake Johnson (Suz); 4. Chris Carr (KTM); 5. Bryan Smith (Hon); 6. A.J. Eslick (Hon); 7. Shaun Russell (Hon); 8. Bryan Bigelow (Hon); 9. Jared Mees (Hon); 10. Joe Kopp (KTM); 11. Kenny Coolbeth (KTM); 12. Rob Pearson (Yam); 13. Rich King (H-D); 14. JR Schnabel (Yam); 15. Josh Butler (Hon); 16. Cory McDermitt (Hon); 17. Matt Burton (Yam); 18. Dan Stanley (Hon).
Time: No time, due to red flag.
Margin of victory: 1.724 sec.
AMA FORD QUALITY CHECKED CERTIFIED FLAT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES POINTS STANDINGS (After 11 of 16 rounds): 1. Chris Carr (186/2 wins); 2. Kenny Coolbeth (174/2 wins); 3. Joe Kopp (153/2 wins); 4. Jared Mees (139/1 win); 5. Jake Johnson (115/1 win6); 6. Rich King (111/1 win); 7. Bryan Smith (100); 8. Shaun Russell (91); 9. Johnny Murphree (87); 10. Henry Wiles (83/1 win); 11. Bryan Bigelow (80); 12. JR Schnabel (76/1 win); 13. (TIE) (68)/Willie McCoy (68); 15. Kevin Varnes (61); 16. Jay Springsteen (39); 17. Geo Roeder II (35); 18. Paul Lynch (30); 19. Raun Wood (29); 20. Dominic Beaulac (27).
Round 12: Sedalia, Missouri, August 27
Round 13: Springfield, Illinois, September 3