Photography by Larry Lawrence
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Aug. 31, 2013) – Brandon Robinson earned his first ever AMA Grand National Twins victory Saturday and it couldn’t have come at a better venue, the Springfield Mile. Robinson raced his TJ Burnett/USC Kawasaki EX650 past teammate JD Beach on the sixth lap and broke the draft, winning by a convincing 5.299 seconds.
The victory moved Robinson into a tie for fourth place in the standings with Jared Mees and puts him squarely in the championship chase with three rounds remaining.
There was a typical massive Springfield freight train of six bikes in the battle over second. In the end it was Crosley Radio Kawasaki’s Bryan Smith moving up from a last row start to finish runner up. Early leader Beach rounded out the podium finishers in third on his Burnett Farms Racing/Red Bull Kawasaki, making it a clean sweep for Kawasaki on the classic Springfield dirt oval.
Points leader Brad Baker rallied back to finish fifth after suffering a DNF in the last round in Virginia. He still leads the championship standings by 17 points, but now over Smith, who moved back into second over Henry Wiles, who finished ninth.
Early on it looked like it might be another drafting battle, as is the case so often at Springfield, but once Robinson took over, with a drafting pass by Beach going into turn three on lap six; he rapidly opened up a lead. By halfway he already had a two-second lead, which is massive at Springfield. And it only expanded from there.
“I never looked back until I took the checkered flag and I couldn’t believe I broke the draft,” said Robinson, who led the series standings for the first half of the season. “It’s unbelievable to get a win here at Springfield. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I started racing. I’ll probably cry when it sinks in later tonight.”
The battle for second almost got very ugly about three-quarters of the way through, when Smith’s Kawasaki cut out for a split second while leading a huge pack coming onto the front straight.
“I bounced off the wall trying to avoid Bryan,” Beach said. “It just one of those things that happen in racing. Fortunately everyone made it through somehow.”
Shayna Texter won the Basic Twins test race on a Kawasaki. She simply ran away to win the 12-lap race over Jason Isenock by 11.452 seconds.
“It’s great to get a win on this bike that I’ve never ridden before,” Texter said. “There was a bit of a learning curve for me, but the bike was so good it made things easy.”
The second leg of the Springfield Mile doubleheader continues Sunday. Defending Grand National Champion Jared Mees and Nichole Cheza are scheduled to get married before opening ceremonies.
Results of the Springfield Mile AMA Grand National – Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013
1 44 Brandon Robinson Oxford, PA Kawasaki EX650 25 Laps
2 42 Bryan Smith Flint, MI Kawasaki EX650 +05.299
3 95 JD Beach Philpot, KY Kawasaki EX650 +05.536
4 59 Willie McCoy Keller, TX Harley-Davidson +05.540
5 12 Brad Baker Eatonville, Wa Harley-Davidson +05.827
6 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. Morris, CT Harley-Davidson +05.841
7 1 Jared Mees Clio, MI Harley-Davidson +05.907
8 55A Jake Shoemaker Glenmoore, PA Kawasaki EX650 +12.194
9 17 Henry Wiles Winn, MI Ducati 749 +14.299
10 23 Jeffrey Carver Jr. Godfrey, IL Harley-Davidson +14.312
Results of the Springfield Mile AMA Basic Twins – Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013
1 25A Shayna Texter Willow Street, PA Kawasaki EX650 12 Laps
2 30S Jason Isennock Timonium,MD Kawasaki EX650 +11.452
3 96B Cody Johncox Attica, NY Harley-Davidson +11.495
4 25L Mikeal Strable Howard, SD Kawasaki EX650 +16.682
5 77A Eric Stump Berlin, NJ Harley-Davidson +18.272
6 28P Michael Bickerton Alexis, IL Kawasaki EX650 +18.336
7 72F Tyler Butts Bellville, OH Harley-Davidson +18.471
8 17C Shawn McNary Clearwater, FL Kawasaki EX650 +27.587
9 89F Justin Zeigler Fredericktown, OH Harley-Davidson +27.609
10 10L Macintosh McGrew Hawley, MN Honda RS750 +37.116