Photography by Larry Lawrence
His Kawasaki stopped running in his Heat race, so Henry Wiles had to make it to the Peoria TT Grand National by way of a Semi. That meant a third-row start, but it was no matter. Wiles blasted his way through traffic on his Don’s Kawasaki Honda CRF450F (badged to look like a Kawasaki) to earn his ninth straight Peoria TT victory. That broke the legendary Chris Carr’s record of eight straight.
Carr still holds the record for the most Peoria TT wins at 13.
Wiles said starting from the third row made this year’s race one of his toughest ever. “Everyone’s always told me that Nicky Hayden’s come-from-behind win here was maybe the best all time,” Wiles said. “Nicky came from the back and passed for the lead on the last lap. I did it in 10 laps.”
Wiles said having to start from the back of the field worried him, but, “Once I got into the top five I could see the pace those guys were running and I knew I could go a lot better so I was pretty confident I could get to the front.”
Shaun Russell, who hasn’t raced a national in nearly a year, came back with an amazing early run, leading the first three laps of the race. Briar Bauman then held the lead for two laps before succumbing to Brad Baker.
Baker, the series leader, held on for four laps before Wiles caught him on lap 10 going into turn one. An inside pass for the lead and Wiles was gone. He won the race over Baker by 3.317 seconds. Road racer JD Beach turned in his best career Peoria finish with a third.
The runner-up finish, combined with his win in the Dash, earned Baker the 2013 AMA Pro Grand National Expert Singles Championship by just two points over Wiles.
Baker and Wiles are also one and two in the overall Grand National point standings (135-106). Bryan Smith scored tenth today and is third in the standings with 93. Smith figures to be the rider to beat on the next five rounds, all of which are on Miles, which could make the championship battle very interesting coming down the home stretch.
Rodney Spencer Jr., won the twice red flagged Pro Singles final. Spencer held off an amazing charge through the field by Dan Bromley. Bromley earlier crashed while leading the race, and had to start from the back of the field. He made a mad dash through traffic on the hard-to-pass track to second. All of this after suffering what appeared to be a broken pinky on his left hand and broken thumb on his right in his crash.
With his victory Spencer moved up to third in the Pro Singles standings with 80 points. Wyatt Maguire and Ryan Wells are tied atop the class standings with 93.
The series now moves to the Indy Mile next Saturday, Aug. 17, during Red Bull Indianapolis GP weekend.
Peoria TT AMA Pro Grand National results, Aug. 11, 2013
1 17 Henry Wiles Winn, MI Honda CRF450F 25 Laps
2 12 Brad Baker Eatonville, Wa KTM 450 SX-F +03.317
3 95 JD Beach Philpot, KY Honda CRF450R +05.040
4 28 Shaun Russell San Jose, CA Honda CRF450R +08.652
5 14 Briar Bauman Salinas, CA Honda CRF450R +08.808
6 80 Stevie Bonsey Salina, CA Honda CRF450R +09.051
7 27 Robert Pearson Morton, IL Honda CRF450R +09.196
8 1 Jared Mees Clio, MI Honda CRF450R +13.075
9 23 Jeffrey Carver Jr. Godfrey, IL Honda CRF450R +14.882
10 42 Bryan Smith Flint, MI Honda CRF450R +15.630
Peoria TT AMA Pro Singles results, Aug. 11, 2013
1 74Z Rodney Spencer Jr. San Martin, CA Honda CRF450R 17 Laps
2 54A Dan Bromley Warrington, PA KTM 450 SX-F +00.339
3 19B Justin Jones Honda CRF450R +00.867
4 20M Jacob Lehmann Snohomish, WA Honda CRF450R +01.248
5 38M Hunter Taylor Bonney Lake, WA Honda CRF450R +01.
6 23F Jeffery Lowery St Louisville, OH Honda CRF450R +02.268
7 94B Ryan Wells Albion, NY Honda CRF450R +02.571
8 1 Stephen Vanderkuur Davison, MI Honda CRF450R +04.293
9 77J Kyle Johnson Twin Lake, MI Kawasaki KX450F +04.451
10 99Y Ryan Kearns Stockton, CA Honda CRF450R +04.550