GROVE CITY, Ohio — Bryan Smith was confident that he would be a major contender once the AMA Grand National Twins Championship visited Miles. The Flushing, Michigan rider was proved right on Sunday when he won the rain-delayed Beulah Park Mile aboard his Moroney’s/Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson XR750 in the Columbus suburb of Grove City, Ohio.
“It was a challenge to race, much less win on this track,” said Smith, who scored his first victory of the season. “You couldn’t over-ride it. I found the fast line down low fairly early and just stayed there all day. I’m just going to keep chipping away in the championship and see if I can be in a position to maybe win this thing at the end of the season.”
Smith emerged from an exciting four-way early battle between himself, Geo Roeder, Chris Carr and Joe Kopp. This was the first AMA visit to the Beulah Park Mile, a sand-based horse racing track. It proved to be challenging to make it raceable for the Grand National bikes. Several riders complained that it was one of the the worst Miles they’d ever raced, pointing out how slick and narrow-lined the surface became, although none blamed officials for the poor track.
“It was just the fact that it was a sand track,” Smith explained. “They probably did the best they could, but there wasn’t much they could do.”
Chris Carr had an excellent outing, finishing second on the Carr Racing/Drag Specialties machine. Kopp was third on his Latus Harley-Davidson.
Smith’s win, combined with series leader Kenny Coolbeth’s sixth-place result, tightened up the championship standings. Coolbeth now leads with 111 points over Kopp with 104 and Smith with 103.
The series moves to Greenville, Ohio, this coming Saturday, July 19.