Robinson doubles, championship battle tightens at Springfield Mile
NEWS September 4, 2013
Photo by Dave Hoenig
ANAMOSA, Iowa (September 4, 2013) - A special Springfield Mile doubleheader was held on Labor Day weekend, which featured the makeup race from Memorial Day weekend and the regularly scheduled event.
Brandon Robinson, of Oxford, Pa., was the weekend's big winner. The 2011 Rookie of the Year scored a pair of victories at the Springfield Mile events, the 10th and 11th rounds of the 13-race AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles series.
Robinson's two victories, combined with Bryan Smith's two runner-ups and a pair of fifth-place finishes by series leader Brad Baker, made the championship battle considerably tighter going into the final two national events of the season in Santa Rosa and Pomona, Calif. Now five riders have a shot at winning the coveted AMA Grand National No. 1 plate, making it one of the closest championship battles in years.
As a result of his perfect weekend Robinson catapulted from fifth to third in the standings. Baker remains the leader, but his 17-point lead coming into Springfield has narrowed to just 10 points over Smith. Red-hot Robinson is now only 13 points back, and Henry Wiles and Jared Mees remain in the hunt, down only 25 and 26 points, respectively.
In Saturday's race Robinson rode 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. There was a typical massive Springfield freight train of six bikes in the battle for second place. In the end it was Smith, on his Crosley Radio Kawasaki, moving up from a last-row start to finish as runner-up. Early leader Beach rounded out the podium finishers on his Burnett Farms Racing/Red Bull Kawasaki, making it a clean sweep for Kawasaki on the classic Springfield dirt oval.
The battle for second place almost got very ugly about three-quarters of the way through when Smith's Kawasaki cut out for a split second after he accidentally hit the bike's kill switch while leading a huge pack coming onto the front straight.
Sunday's Springfield Mile was typical AMA Grand National Mile action with the race coming down to a final-lap draft contest between six riders, and even though each rider had an equal chance, it was Robinson coming through again to win and complete the weekend sweep. Equally incredible was the fact that it featured the same podium result as Saturday's race with Smith taking second and Beach third.
Despite the speed of the Kawasakis, Harley-Davidson riders were very much in the hunt on Sunday. A six-rider breakaway formed with the trio of Kawasaki riders and Harley XR750 riders Kenny Coolbeth Jr., Baker, and Mees. Coolbeth led during the middle of the race, and positions were swapped at nearly every corner between the top six.
"Man, this is almost surreal," Robinson said after the wins. "One of my biggest goals in racing was to win the Springfield Mile, and to get two wins here in a single weekend is almost too much. (Sunday's) race was even better than yesterday because it was in question until the flag. I honestly didn't know I was going to win today."
Shayna Texter made it a clean sweep for Kawasaki and riders from Pennsylvania when she duplicated Saturday's win in the Basic Twins exhibition class. It was closer Sunday than Saturday's nearly 12-second win, but the race was still never in question and Texter won by 4.2 seconds.
"That was a great learning experience for me," Texter said. "Winning these races like this gives me a lot of confidence for my future with the big bikes."
Basic Twins is a new class slated to debut next season to provide a stepping-stone for Pro licensed riders, allowing them to race twin-cylinder machines as they make the transition to the Grand National Championship.
The series now moves to Santa Rosa, Calif., for the Santa Rosa Mile on Sept. 29.
To keep up with the latest series news, visit www.amaproracing.com/ft/.
Springfield Mile AMA Grand National Results - Aug. 31, 2013
1. 44 Brandon Robinson, Oxford, Pa., Kawasaki EX650 25 Laps
2. 42 Bryan Smith, Flint, Mich., Kawasaki EX650 +05.299
3. 95 JD Beach, Philpot, Ky., Kawasaki EX650 +05.536
4. 59 Willie McCoy, Keller, Texas, Harley-Davidson +05.540
5. 12 Brad Baker, Eatonville, Wash., Harley-Davidson +05.827
6. 2 Kenny Coolbeth Jr., Morris, Conn., Harley-Davidson +05.841
7. 1 Jared Mees, Clio, Mich., Harley-Davidson +05.907
8. 55A Jake Shoemaker, Glenmoore, Pa., Kawasaki EX650 +12.194
9. 17 Henry Wiles, Winn, Mich., Ducati 749 +14.299
10. 23 Jeffrey Carver Jr., Godfrey, Ill., Harley-Davidson +14.312
Springfield Mile AMA Grand National Results - Sept. 1, 2013
1. 44 Brandon Robinson, Oxford, Pa., Kawasaki EX650 25 Laps 36.057
2. 42 Bryan Smith, Flint, Mich., Kawasaki EX650 +00.202
3. 95 JD Beach, Philpot, Ky., Kawasaki EX650 +00.274
4. 2 Kenny Coolbeth Jr., Morris, Conn., Harley-Davidson +00.370
5. 12 Brad Baker, Eatonville, Wash., Harley-Davidson +00.405
6. 1 Jared Mees, Clio, Mich., Harley-Davidson +00.419
7. 59 Willie McCoy, Keller, Texas., Harley-Davidson +05.108
8. 73 Doug Lawrence, Mississauga, Ont., Harley-Davidson +05.189
9. 17 Henry Wiles, Winn, Mich., Harley-Davidson +05.238
10. 23 Jeffrey Carver Jr., Godfrey, Ill., Harley-Davidson +05.248