Photography by Larry Lawrence
Sammy Halbert’s loss was Jared Mees’ gain Saturday night in Lima.
Halbert dominated the proceedings all evening at the Allen County Fairgrounds Half-Mile, but when the engine blew on his bike halfway through the 25-lap national it was Mees, on his Rogers Racing/Las Vegas HD/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson XR750, who was there to take full advantage and go on to earn his third victory at Lima. It marked Mees’ first win at the famous pea-gravel track since 2007.
Brandon Robinson charged through the field on his USC Kawasaki to finish runner up, 2.663 seconds back. Rounding out the podium finishers in third was Bryan Smith, on his Villa-Esparza Kawasaki, this after leading the race for four laps immediately after Halbert dropped out.
“I am so pumped to finally win this race again you wouldn’t believe,” said Mees, who moved to within one point of Jake Johnson for second in the standings after five or 14 rounds. “I’ve been working really hard to get better on cushion tracks like this and it paid off. I don’t know if I had something for Sammy had he not blown up, but I’d like to think my line would have come in and his line would have gone away, but we’ll never know.”
Several top runners fell out early. Besides Halbert, defending champ Brad Baker also suffered an early exit on his factory Harley-Davidson. Briar Bauman, who was spectacular in his Heat race on his Monster Energy/Werner-Springsteen Racing Kawasaki, was also forced to pull out when a radiator hose let go on his bike.
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. finished fourth on his Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson and that was good enough for him to maintain a nine-point lead over Jake Johnson. Johnson took fifth aboard his Ramspur Winery/Lloyd Bros Motorsports Ducati.
Kyle Johnson dominated the Pro Singles final on his Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda, winning over Davis Fisher by 5.439 seconds. Robert Descenna was third.
It marked the second straight win for Johnson in Pro Singles.
It’s a tightly packed points battle. Brandon Wilhelm and Fisher are tied atop the Pro Singles standings with 64 points each. Ryan Wells is third with 62 and Johnson now fourth with 61.
The series now moves to Hagerstown, Maryland next Saturday, July 5.
Lima Half-Mile AMA Pro Grand National – June 28, 2014
1 9 Jared Mees, Harley-Davidson, 25 Laps WINNER
2 44 Brandon Robinson, Kawasaki EX650, 2.663
3 42 Bryan Smith, Kawasaki EX650 2.832
4 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., Harley-Davidson 7.235
5 5 Jake Johnson, Ducati Hypermotard 8.977
6 80 Stevie Bonsey, Harley-Davidson 9.717
7 27 Robert Pearson, Harley-Davidson 10.572
8 55 Jake Shoemaker, Kawasaki EX650 20.822
9 61 Dustin Crow, Harley-Davidson 21.020
10 13 Jake Constantine, Kawasaki EX650 21.843
1 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. Morris, CT 95
2 5 Jake Johnson Coatesville, PA 86
3 9 Jared Mees Clio, MI 85
4 44 Brandon Robinson Oxford, PA 73
5 7 Sammy Halbert Graham, WA 72