File photo courtesy AMA Pro Racing
Jeffrey Carver Jr. broke through to win his very first AMA Grand National Saturday night at the Castle Rock TT. Carver, whose previous best result this season was a ninth, led from start to finish on his Mack Daddy Racing/Kiesow Racing Honda and took victory by 1.655 seconds over Jared Mees. Stevie Bonsey, in his debut with Zanotti Racing, scored third.
Carver, a 22-year-old rider from Alton, Illinois, is a former AMA Horizon Award winner and Pro Singles Champion who is in his third year at the Grand National level. He nailed his start and built a solid lead until about half-race, when Briar Bauman moved up to challenge him. Bauman actually briefly took the lead going into turn one to start lap 15 or the 25-lap final, but he ran wide and wasn’t able to hold it. Carver continued up front under pressure from Bauman.
On lap 17 the race broke wide open for Carver when second-place Bauman went down between turns one and two. That left Carver with a fairly safe margin over Mees. Carver then rode a smooth race to the checkered flag and the biggest win of his career.
“I’m feeling awesome,” Carver said after his win. “I feel nice at home actually. This has been our goal ever since I learned about dirt track. I grew up racing motocross and switched over. I actually got my first dirt track bike from George Mack, so it’s a pretty good coincidence that I came out here and won my first national on it.
“I really got to thank the Kiesow’s for picking me up last year and helping me out and spending all their money just to come out and watch me go around circles. I also got to thank the Steve Nace racing crew. There’s a lot of them here who have been with us since I started racing. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have found places to race – little bitty bullrings down in Kentucky.”
Defending Grand National champ Mees took second in spite of separating his shoulder earlier in the night. His strong result vaulted him from eight to fifth in the points and moving up fast.
“It was great,” Mees said. “We fast qualified it and came from a little ways behind in the Heat race. And then I was leading the Dash and fell down and pulled my shoulder out of socket. First time ever. Man, I’ve heard about the pain of pulling those things out and then putting them back in. I taped it up and felt like I could still win this thing, but Jeffrey got a good start and rode a flawless race. Even when I got into second I couldn’t really close the gap on him.”
Bonsey said patience was the key to his podium.
“At this track if you don’t have the lead you just have to wait and see if somebody makes a mistake,” Bonsey said. “I got to thank Briar. Unfortunately he slid out and it gave me the podium position.”
Brad Baker finished fifth and continues to lead the points (111-84) over Bryan Smith, who moved to second in the standings with a sixth. Henry Wiles, who made a spectacular charge from the back row to fourth tonight, moved up to third in the standings with 82 points. Early season points leader Brandon Robinson missed the main and dropped from second to fourth in the series with 77 points.
Dominic Colindres led the Pro Singles final from flag to flag, winning over Bronson Bauman by 2.65 seconds. Ryan Kearns took the final podium spot with a last lap pass.
“The track was way different than it has been in the past years,” Colindres said. “I was hooked up. It really suits my style. I love TTs. I’m looking forward to the rest of the races. I had a mechanical last race so I’m pretty far out of the championship. The only thing to do now is to win races and try to catch those guys.”
Wyatt Maguire took sixth and extended his lead in the series over Ryan Wells, who was tenth.
The series moves to the historic Peoria TT next Sunday.
Grand National final from the Castle Rock TT, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013
1 23 Jeffrey Carver Jr. Godfrey, IL Honda CRF450R 25 Laps
2 1 Jared Mees Clio, MI Honda CRF450R +01.655
3 80 Stevie Bonsey Salina, CA Honda CRF450R +02.572
4 17 Henry Wiles Winn, MI Honda CRF450R +03.610
5 12 Brad Baker Eatonville, Wa Honda CRF450R +05.500
6 42 Bryan Smith Flint, MI Honda CRF450R +07.938
7 11 Scott Baker Dryad, WA Honda CRF450R +09.933
8 7 Sammy Halbert Graham, WA Yamaha YZ 450F +11.044
9 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. Morris, CT Kawasaki KX450F +11.892
10 91 Michael Martin Acampo, CA Honda CRF450R +12.493
Pro Singles final from the Castle Rock TT, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013
1 66Y Dominic Colindres Brisbane, CA Honda CRF450R 16 Laps
2 30Z Bronson Bauman Salinas, CA Honda CRF450R +02.650
3 99Y Ryan Kearns Stockton, CA Honda CRF450R +04.784
4 20M Jacob Lehmann Snohomish, WA Honda CRF450R +06.100.
5 74Z Rodney Spencer Jr. San Martin, CA Honda CRF450R +07.688
6 18M Wyatt Maguire Mead, WA Yamaha YZ 450F +09.975
7 21L Cole Anderson Cambridge, MN Honda CRF450R +14.509
8 25L Mikeal Strable Howard, SD Honda CRF450R +14.592
9 51M Cole Frederickson Snonomish, WA Honda CRF450R +15.072
10 94B Ryan Wells Albion, NY Honda CRF450R +15.284