Photography by Larry Lawrence
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Sept. 1, 2013) — Sunday’s Springfield Mile was typical AMA Grand National Mile action with the race coming down to a final lap draft contest between six riders. Amazingly, in spite of equal chances for all six riders, it was Oxford, Pennsylvania’s Brandon Robinson coming through again to win and complete the sweep of the Labor Day weekend Springfield doubleheader. Equally incredible was the fact that it was the very same podium as Saturday’s race with Bryan Smith taken second and JD Beach third, all on Kawasakis.
As a result of his perfect weekend Robinson catapulted from fifth to third in the series standings. The championship is heating up going into the final two rounds in California. Brad Baker, who was fifth today, remains the leader in the standings, but his 17-point lead coming into Springfield has narrowed to just 10 points over Smith. The red hot Robinson is now only 13 points back and Henry Wiles and Jared Mees are still very much in the hunt as well, down only 25 and 26 points respectively.
The series is one of the most closely contested in years and will now almost certainly come down to the finale in Pomona next month and any one of five riders could still win it.
Despite the speed of the Kawasakis, Harley-Davidson riders were very much in the hunt today. A six-rider breakaway formed with the trio of Kawasaki riders and Harley XR750 mounted Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., Baker and Mees. Coolbeth actually led during the middle of the race and positions swapped nearly every corner between the top six.
In the end though it once again proved to be the Kawasaki riders who had the speed they needed to find their way to the front on the final lap. Robinson led out of four and held it to the flag, just 0.202 seconds ahead of Smith and Beach. Coolbeth, Baker and Mees rounded out the lead pack in that order. Only 4-10ths of a second separated that pack.
Former Springfield winner Willie McCoy brought home another pack of six riders battling for seventh, about five-seconds behind the lead group.
“Man, this is almost surreal,” Robinson said after the win. “One of my biggest goals in racing was to win the Springfield Mile and now to get two wins here in a single weekend is almost too much. This race was even better than yesterday because it was in question until the flag. I honestly didn’t know I was going to win today.”
Shayna Texter made it a clean sweep for Kawasaki and riders from Pennsylvania, as she duplicated Saturday’s win in the Basic Twins class even though the Harley-Davidson riders were allowed bigger restrictors for Sunday’s race. It was closer today, but the race was still never in question as Texter won by 4.2 seconds over Cody Johncox.
”That was a great learning experience for me,” Texter said. “Winning these races like this gives me a lot of confidence for my future with the big bikes.”
Jason Isenock was third in the race.
Next up is the Santa Rosa (Calif.) Mile on Sunday, September 29.
AMA Grand National Championship – Springfield Mile, Sept. 1, 2013
1 44 Brandon Robinson Oxford, PA Kawasaki EX650 25 Laps 36.057
2 42 Bryan Smith Flint, MI Kawasaki EX650 +00.202
3 95 JD Beach Philpot, KY Kawasaki EX650 +00.274
4 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. Morris, CT Harley-Davidson +00.370
5 12 Brad Baker Eatonville, Wa Harley-Davidson +00.405
6 1 Jared Mees Clio, MI Harley-Davidson +00.419
7 59 Willie McCoy Keller, TX Harley-Davidson +05.108
8 73 Doug Lawrence Mississauga, ON Harley-Davidson +05.189
9 17 Henry Wiles Winn, MI Harley-Davidson +05.238
10 23 Jeffrey Carver Jr. Godfrey, IL Harley-Davidson +05.248
AMA Basic Twins – Springfield Mile, Sept. 1, 2013
1 25A Shayna Texter Willow Street, PA Kawasaki EX650 12 Laps
2 96B Cody Johncox Attica, NY Harley-Davidson +04.239
3 30S Jason Isennock Timonium,MD Kawasaki EX650 +04.835
4 72F Tyler Butts Bellville, OH Harley-Davidson +05.817
5 25L Mikeal Strable Howard, SD Kawasaki EX650 +06.
6 94B Ryan Wells Albion, NY KTM LC8 950 +06.848
7 77A Eric Stump Berlin, NJ Harley-Davidson +08.676
8 28P Michael Bickerton Alexis, IL Kawasaki EX650 +09.035
9 17C Shawn McNary Clearwater, FL Kawasaki EX650 +11.916
10 89F Justin Zeigler Fredericktown, OH Harley-Davidson +13.408