Wiles Survives at Springfield ST

| September 3, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, IL., SEPT. 3 –  He faced a stiff challenge, but like clockwork it was Henry Wiles eventually breaking into the lead on his Monster Energy/Jones Brothers Kawasaki and pulling away to yet another victory in the Springfield Short Track National. It marked the fifth straight Springfield Short Track win for Wiles, who now has three wins this season, in spite of missing most of the year recovering from knee surgery.

Finishing second to Wiles was defending AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson. Johnson rode a smart and steady race, to nail down the runner-up spot. That finish, combined with a second in the Dash for Cash, moved Johnson squarely into the championship picture. He’s now just 10 points out of the series lead, owned by Sammy Halbert, and two points behind Jared Mees.



It was a breakthrough night for rookie Jeffrey Carver, Jr. Last year’s Pro Singles champ had a stellar outing at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Multi-Purpose Arena, winning his first heat race, scoring victory in the Dash and then leading the first half of the main before succumbing to veterans Wiles and Johnson.

Sammy Halbert scored fifth and that was good enough for the Graham, Washington rider to earn the AMA Grand National Singles Championship. He also continues to lead the overall Grand National point standings, 282-274, over Mees.

The National was plagued with crashes, having to be restarted three times. Once underway it was Carver, who hails from nearby Alton, Illinois, moving out to an early lead. The rookie was feeling the pressure right from the beginning from Wiles and Johnson. He held steady for 13 laps of the 25-lap final, but then he hit a hole coming out of two, went high enerting turn three and both Wiles and Johnson dove underneath and got past.

The leading trio raced close for several more laps, but gradually Wiles stretched his lead to 1.850 seconds over Johnson at the checkered flag. Carver held on to third. It marked his first his first Grand National podium.

To hear Wiles tell it, he never felt in danger of losing his Springfield Short Track winning streak to the hot rookie.

“I could tell he was starting to make mistakes as the race went on,” Wiles said of Carver. “I was experimenting around trying different lines, but I felt like I was faster than Carver. The closest call I had was when I nailed a lapped rider [Brandon Robinson] late in the race when he suddenly changed lines in the middle of a turn.”



Briar Bauman won the Pro Singles final going away on his Rod Lake Racing Honda. It was vindication of sorts for Bauman, who won at the Peoria TT a couple of weeks ago, only to be disqualified for illegal fuel. William Cato finished second and Gerit Callies third.

Michael Martin, who was sixth, still leads the Pro Singles standings by four points over Callies.

The racing continues at Springfield Sunday as the action moves next door to the Springfield Mile.


Springfield Short Track National Results

1. Henry Wiles                        Kawasaki KX450F     25 Laps

2. Jake Johnson                       Honda CRF450R        1.849 secs.

3. Jeffrey Carver Jr.                Yamaha YZ 450F       2.217

4. Brad Baker                          Honda CRF450R        3.277

5. Sammy Halbert                   Yamaha YZ 450F       5.658

6. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr.            Kawasaki KX450F     6.282

7. Chris Carr                            Honda CRF450R        6.544

8. Robert Pearson                    Yamaha YZ 450F       6.973

9. Matt Weidman                    Honda CRF450R        8.398

10. Jared Mees                        Honda CRF450R        9.312

11. Chad Cose                        Honda CRF450R        10.001

12. Kayl Kolkman                   Kawasaki KX450F     10.649

13. Justin Hittle                       Honda CRF450R        11.817

14. Brandon Robinson            Honda CRF450R        24 Laps

15. Shaun Russell                    Kawasaki KX450F     2.199

16. Brock Schwarzenbacher   Honda CRF450R        7.436

17. Mikey Rush                       Honda CRF450R        4 Laps

18. Bryan Smith                      Honda CRF450R        0.335


Pro Singles Final

1. Briar Bauman., Honda.

2. William Cato, Honda.

3. Gerit Callies, Honda.

4. Jason Isennock, Honda.

5. Michael Avila, Honda.


Larry Lawrence