Photography by Larry Lawrence
NEW KENT, VA (Aug. 23, 2014) – It didn’t start out the way he’d pictured it. Bryan Smith was said to have jumped and was forced go to the back row for the start of the shortened 15-lap Virginia Mega Mile National held at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Virginia. While it made things a little more interesting for a few laps, Smith did what most expected he would do and that was to blast through the field on his Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio/Howerton Kawasaki and win by a solid margin of 2.559 seconds over Jake Shoemaker and Jake Johnson.
The win, combined with a tough day for former series leader Jared Mees, that saw him miss the Dash for Cash and fight back from various bike problems to finally finish fifth in the main, means that Smith once again regains the championship lead by six points (224-218) with three rounds remaining. Johnson, who had issues with both his team’s Ducati and Harley, finally had to run the Ramspur Winery Kawasaki with no practice and managed a remarkable podium finish that keeps him in the championship hunt as well with 206 points.
Smith was told he’d jumped the start even though he claims the beam was never broken and the red light didn’t come on. That forced him to move to the back row, also occupied by Mees and Johnson, who were forced to start there because they were on back-up bikes.
Semi-retired Joe Kopp led two laps on the Latus Motors Triumph before Brad Baker moved past to take over the top spot on lap three. But by then Smith was rolling. On lap four he moved into the lead and gradually pulled away from the rest of the field.
Jake Shoemaker made a strong second-half surge to move into second to score his second podium of the season, first ever on a Mile on his Montgomeryville Cycle Center Kawasaki. Johnson also surged from the back of the field to finish third making it a Kawasaki sweep of the podium.
The motor on Brad Baker’s factory Harley-Davidson locked up coming through the last turn, but he was able to coast across the finish line in fourth. Mees rounded out the top five.
J.R. Addison made a triumphant return to racing after breaking his back in Springfield to win the Pro Singles final on his Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda. He edged fellow Parkinson Brothers Honda rider Kyle Johnson at the line to earn the victory by a margin of 0.035 seconds. Jeffery Lowery was third on his Englehart Racing Honda.
Johnson now leads the Pro Singles Championship by 20 points.
Next week the series moves to the Labor Day weekend Springfield Mile.
AMA Pro Grand National results from the Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va. – Aug. 23, 2014
1. Bryan Smith, Kaw.
2. Jake Shoemaker, Kaw.
3. Jake Johnson, Kaw.
4. Brad Baker, H-D.
5. Jared Mees, H-D.
6. Brandon Robinson, Kaw.
7. Jeremy Higgins, KTM.
8. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., H-D.
9. Henry Wiles, Kaw.
10. Shawn Baer, KTM.
1. J.R. Addison, Hon.
2. Kyle Johnson, Hon.
3. Jeff Lowery, Hon.
4. Jarod Vanderkooi, Hon.
5. Bronson Bauman, Hon.