Murphree Takes Castle Rock Short Track

Henny Ray Abrams | August 13, 2006
Coziahr H-D/National Cycle’s Johnny Murphree won his first AMA Grand National Championship race of the season with a flag to flag ride in the hotly contested Grand National Singles final at Castle Rock Race Park in Castle Rock, Washington.

So fierce was the competition that first through fifth was covered by .971 seconds, with sixth place only .039 secs. back.

Starting second on the grid, by virtue of the second fastest heat race, Murphree jetted into the lead and controlled the pace.

For 25 laps the Honda rider withstood the pressure to notch the win. The margin of victory was .154 seconds.

It was Murphree’s fourth career GNC win and first in just under two years. It was also his second GNC short track win.

Bartel’s H-D’s Shaun Russell (Hon) moved into second on the third lap and stayed put to the end. At the end he’d have his hands full with local favorite Joe Kopp. The Washingtonian put the Latus H-D/Renton Honda/Beaverton Honda-backed ATK into third just under .2 secs. behind Russell.

Kopp’s gap to Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford’s Chris Carr (KTM) was slightly more, .235 seconds. Kopp passed the reigning Grand National Champion on the 21st of 25 laps.

Carr, in turn, had .4 secs. on American Suzuki/Parts Unlimited’s Jake Johnson, the winner of Saturday night’s GNC Singles TT.

H-D Motor Company/Screamin’ Eagle’s Kenny Coolbeth (Hon) finished sixth, just outside the same second as Murphree. Coolbeth took over sixth when Moroneys Honda/’s Bryan Smith (Hon) went out on the 14th lap.

Then came a gap of 4.2 seconds to Dave Burks Motorsports’ Robert Pearson (Suz), followed by Henry Wiles (Hon).

The Castle Rock double-header weekend ended with Johnson in control of the AMA Grand National Singles Championship. His 83 points are nine better than Kopp’s 74, with Russell now third at 60.


1. Johnny Murphree (Honda)

2. Shaun Russell (Honda)

3. Joe Kopp (ATK)

4. Chris Carr (KTM)

5. Jake Johnson (Suzuki)

6. Ken Coolbeth (Honda)

7. Robert Pearson (Suzuki)

8. Henry Wiles (Honda)

9. John Raun Wood (Honda)

10. Mike Rush (Honda)

11. A.J. Eslick (Honda)

12. Josh Toungett (ATK)

13. Scooter Vernon (Honda)

14. Jared Mees (Honda)

15. Kevin Varnes (Suzuki)

16. Bryan Smith (Honda)

17. Jethro Halbert (Honda)

18. J.R. Schnabel (Yamaha)

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.