Johnson Takes Series Opener

Paul Carruthers | March 8, 2007
Suzuki’s Jake Johnson started his AMA Grand National Championship title defense on the right foot Wednesday night with a victory in the season opener at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Johnson took the lead before the end of the first lap on his factory Suzuki RM-450Z and pulled away to a 5.421-second win in the 25-lap race, the opening round of a doubleheader national. The second race will be held tonight.

“It feels great to win here again,” said Johnson, who scored his first initial victory in the Daytona Short Track in 2005. “I didn’t get a great start, but I got in there behind Kenny [Coolbeth] and he hit some bumps or something and went a little wide and I snuck by. I looked back after three or four laps and saw I had a little bit of a lead and just kept charging.”

Californian Mike Rush surprised a lot of people with a solid second-place ride. Rush battled with Chris Carr and Kenny Coolbeth before moving clear on his Suzuki to finish second. Honda-mounted Coolbeth, meanwhile, held off Johnny Murphree and Carr to earn the final podium result.

AMA Grand National Singles Results

1. Jake Johnson, Suzuki

2. Mike Rush, Suzuki

3. Ken Coolbeth, Honda

4. Johnny Murphree, Kawasaki

5. Chris Carr, KTM

6. Jared Mees, Honda

7. Glen Schnabel Jr., Suzuki

8. Henry Wiles, Honda

9. Robert Pearson, Yamaha

10 Sam Halbert, Yamaha

11. Nick Cummings, Honda

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.