File Photography by Larry Lawrence
KNOXVILLE, IA, JUNE 15 – The AMA Pro Flat Track Championship returned to Knoxville Raceway after skipping the venue the 2013 and picked up pretty much exactly as it left off. Sunday’s Grand National Championship podium finishers were the same men who stood on the box in ’12 and even finished in the same order.
Zanotti’s Racing’s Kenny Coolbeth was untouchable in Sunday’s 25-lap main event. The points leader took the lead on the race’s first lap aboard his H-D XR750 and never looked back, working up a 3.198-second margin of victory by the time he took the checkered flag.
He was followed home by fast qualifier Jake Johnson on the Ramspur Winery, Lloyd Bros Motorsports H-D (yes, Harley-Davidson – Johnson elected to race the team’s XR instead of the Ducati at Knoxville).
Meanwhile, South East Harley-Davidson’s Sammy Halbert successfully fended off Rogers Racing’s Jared Mees on the race’s final lap to lock down the final spot on the podium.
In addition to replicating the 2012 podium, Johnson and Halbert also backed up their respective second and third-place results from the series’ first trip to Knoxville in 2011.
The unrestricted Harleys proved to be the class of the field on Sunday, storming to the race’s top six positions. Behind the Halbert-Mees battle for third, second Zanotti entry Stevie Bonsey battled defending AMA Grand National Champion Brad Baker on the factory machine for fifth. Bonsey ultimately stole away the spot on the contest”s last lap, concluding another frustrating outing for the luckless defending champ.
Kawasaki EX650s scooped up the final four spots in the top 10, led by Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radios Kawasaki’s Bryan Smith in seventh. USC Racing’s Brandon Robinson, Dons Kawasaki’s Henry Wiles, and Weirbach Racing’s Robert Pearson rounded out the day’s top 10.
Meanwhile, in Pro Singles action, Hot Rod Harley-Davidson’s Kyle Johnson closed out a day of domination by walking away with the class’ main event.
After getting a slow start, Johnson sliced his way into the lead by lap 3 and stretched it out from there, ultimately taking a 6.271-margin of victory.
K.C. Cycle Helmet World’s Kolby Carlile surprised even himself by battling his way into the runner-up spot, narrowly fending off TJ Burnett Farm’s Davis Fisher on the final lap.
GNC Main Event from Knoxville Raceway
1. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Harley-Davidson)
2. Jake Johnson (Harley-Davidson)
3. Sammy Halbert (Harley-Davidson)
4. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
5. Stevie Bonsey (Harley-Davidson)
6. Brad Baker (Harley-Davidson)
7. Bryan Smith (Kawasaki)
8. Brandon Robinson (Kawasaki)
9. Henry Wiles (Kawasaki)
10. Robert Pearson (Kawasaki)
AMA Pro Singles Main Event
1. Kyle Johnson (Honda)
2. Kolby Carlile (KTM)
3. Davis Fisher (Honda)
4. Dylan Morin (KTM)
5. Ryan Wells (KTM)
6. Bronson Bauman (Honda)
7. Jarod Vanderkooi (Kawasaki)
8. Molly Terry (Honda)
9. Wyatt Anderson (Suzuki)
10. Brandon Wilhem (Honda)