Coolbeth Wins, Mees Crowned In Pomona

Paul Carruthers | October 14, 2012

POMONA, CA, OCT. 13 – Harley-Davidson’s Kenny Coolbeth ended what for him was a dismal 2012 season with a runaway victory on the Pomona Fairplex Half Mile, the New Englander leading from start to finish on a night in which Jared Mees was crowned as the AMA Grand National Champion.

With Coolbeth out front and putting on a clinic in a season that saw him bounce back from a broken lower leg, Mees had to deal with the bigger issue of championship rival Sammy Halbert – with the pair coming together early in the race. At that point, Mees forged ahead and out of harms way. Only later when he saw that Halbert had a clutch problem did he slow his pace, ultimately ending up eighth – five spots better than Halbert. And the championship was his – by 13 points.

“The feeling hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Mees said from the podium. “So much hard work and dedication has gone into this season and it all paid off. I kind of knew where I was the whole race and was able to bring it home. I really have to thank my team and sponsors for all their support this year; this was a great team effort.”

Second place in tonight’s race went to Brad Baker, the Dodge Brothers Racing Harley-Davidson rider holding off the Crosley Radio/Howerton Motorsports Kawasaki of Bryan Smith by just .144 of a second after 25 laps around the 5/8ths mile track.

Robert Pearson rode his Memphis Shades Harley-Davidson to fourth – 1.4 seconds ahead of a battle for fifth that went to JD Beach and his USC Kawasaki over Goodwin Racing Harley’s Stevie Bonsey, Lloyd Brothers/Foremost Insurance’s Henry Wiles and and Mees. Those four were covered by less than a second.

Brandon Robinson rode his Werner/Springsteen Kawasaki to night with Jethro Halbert 10th on his USC Racing Kawasaki.

Defending AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson, the third rider in with a chance of taking the title going into Pomona, ended up 14th.

Pomona Half Mile
1.Kenny Coolbeth (H-D)
2. Brad Baker (H-D)
3. Bryan Smith (Kawasaki)
4. Robert Pearson (H-D)
5. JD Beach (Kawasaki)
6. Stevie Bonsey (H-D)
7. Henry Wiles (Ducati)
8. Jared Mees (H-D)
9. Brandon Robinson (Kawasaki)
10. Jethro Halbert (Kawasaki)

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.