Racing in the thin air of Denver’s Bandimere Speedway almost anything can happen, but it’s doubtful that many of the fans who attended this year’s Mopar Mile High Nationals could have predicted that Gann’s Speed/Pirana-Z Buell’s Shawn Gann would emerge with his first victory in a full nine seasons.
Gann hasn’t had a lot of success in his previous seven rounds this season, but he made up for a lot of bad luck as he rode one of the best races of his career. Gann’s bike, which is prepared by his father Blake, was also one of the performance leaders with a string of solid runs. Gann qualified in the number-five spot with a 7.29, and opened eliminations with a 7.28 in his round one win against Angie Smith and a 7.315 in the second round against Steve Johnson, who actually ran quicker with a 7.312, but gave up a slight starting line holeshot.
“I’ll tell you what; if you have power you can’t hide it. You can’t lie about it and you can’t sweep it under the rug and we have great power,” said Gann. “My dad [Blake] is unbelievable. He can make anything. I don’t care if it’s a doghouse from Popsicle sticks or a nuclear weapon. He can make anything.”
Gann figured to face his toughest challenge in the semis when he was paired with Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson’s Andrew Hines, but managed to pull out a 7.31 to 7.37 victory. The final round against Lucas Oil Buell’s Hector Arana Jr. was over quickly as Gann got a huge lead at the start and held on for the win with a 7.35. Arana, who was obviously distracted at the start, and was well behind despite a competitive 7.37 elapsed time.