Photography by Larry Lawrence
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (July 26, 2014) -- Bryan Smith said this was the toughest one yet, but in spite of enduring relentless pressure all the way to the finish, Smith managed to win a record fourth consecutive Sacramento Mile on his Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki. Smith battled with as many as five other riders in the lead pack throughout the 25-lap main, in the end the race came down to a drafting war with Smith just holding off a surging Jake Johnson by 3-100ths of a second. Jared Mees and Brandon Robinson were in the hunt as well, the top four separated by just 4-10ths of a second.
The win not only gave Smith a record of consecutive wins at Sacramento, it also moved him to the series lead at the halfway mark in the season. He now holds a two-point advantage over Mees (150-148), who led coming into this race. Jake Johnson remains a very close third in the standings with 142 points.
Smith said he felt the pressure of trying to make history at Sacramento.
“I was loose and the groove wasn’t as well defined as it has been in past years,” Smith said. “Definitely for whatever reason, maybe it was the added pressure of being four in a row I’m not sure, but Jake and Jared didn’t let me have it easy that’s for sure.”
Johnson ran a Ramspur Winery/Lloyd Bros Motorsports Kawasaki tonight. It marked the third brand of motorcycle he’s ridden in the Twins races this season. He did everything right on the final lap, but his slingshot move came up just short.
“My strongest point of the track was going into three,” Johnson explained. “I tried to give Bryan a little bit of a lead so I could get a run on him. I got a good drive through three and came off of four and just… if the straightway was maybe 30 feet longer. We were close. It was good.”
This was the 49th running of the Sacramento Mile and Smith was thrilled with putting his name in the history books.
“It’s awesome,” Smith said of being the first to win four in a row. “Especially considering the guys I beat out. Scotty Parker is one of my best friends and an all-time hero of flat track. So to beat anything he’s accomplished is pretty awesome. It’s a proud day for me for sure.”
Kyle Johnson took a come-from-behind win in the Pro Singles final on his Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda. He chased down and nipped Davis Fisher on the final lap, the TJ Burnett Farms Honda, by a scant 0.025 seconds. Nick Armstrong was third. The victory moved Johnson into the lead of the Pro Singles Series by three points over Fisher.
Jay Springsteen and Chris Carr brought the fans to their feet with their exhibition race. “Springer” drafted Carr at the line to win the exo and the two were running times within a half second of the leaders in tonight’s races.
Next up for the series is the Castle Rock TT on August 2.
Results of the Sacramento Mile – July 26, 2014
1 42 Bryan Smith Flint, MI Kawasaki EX650 25 Laps 38.425
2 5 Jake Johnson Coatesville, PA Kawasaki EX650 +00.030 38.448
3 9 Jared Mees Clio, MI Harley-Davidson +00.056 38.336
4 44 Brandon Robinson Oxford, PA Kawasaki EX650 +00.505 38.
5 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. Morris, CT Harley-Davidson +01.923 38.689
6 1 Brad Baker Eatonville, Wa Harley-Davidson +06.361 38.419
7 7 Sammy Halbert Graham, WA Harley-Davidson +06.381 38.824
8 80 Stevie Bonsey Salinas, CA Harley-Davidson +06.393 38.846
9 14 Briar Bauman Salinas, CA Harley-Davidson +09.474 38.852
10 65 Cory Texter Willow Street, PA Kawasaki EX650 +13.899 39.025