So Cal Half-Mile Thoughts

May 12, 2019

Continuing reactive reports and thoughts the day or so after AFT races, here is the latest. Because this was a west coast night race I only caught the first few laps of practice and the Singles and Twins mains. Here goes...

 

TWINS

  • I went to bed thinking this must be the easiest year ever for a rider to gain their national number. There were only 19 riders entered for a 16-rider main. Make the main and you get your national number. Go back to Pomona, another So Cal race, in 2012. There were 29 twins entries. Lima 2012 had 43 entries. Yes, there were 15 entries in the Production Twins class, but the Elite class numbers are down. Is that a problem? It seems so on the surface, but is it actually better for those elite riders? Fewer mouths to feed from a pool of sponsors.

  • I woke up, 4.30am UK time, to discover out of the 19 riders neither former champ Jake Johnson nor Jeffrey Carver had made the 16-rider cut. 

  • There were only three manufacturers involved in Twins class: Indian, Harley, Yamaha. Whichever way you look at that, it ain't great. 

  • Bronson Bauman and Larry Pegram, both on FTR750s, won their semis.

  • Jared Mees qualified 8, the last transfer spot, in his semi.

  • Both Harleys were on the front row. Vanderkooi was 2nd in his 10-lap semi, Halbert was 3rd.

  • Carver used his provisional start, but didn't make the most of it, coming in 12th in the main.

  • Privateer James Monaco qualified on the front row, but faded in the race. 

  • Brandon Robinson, now on the Kennedy Indian, was in the lead, but Halbert could not have been closer when Wiles crashed into the airfence and the race was redflagged on lap 8. 

  • A staggered restart saw Mees makes up a lot of places and Sammy lose a few, ending up behind Mees.

  • Sammy was on the pace. He looked like he could've won the race before the red flag (lots of assumptions about tyre wear there) . He passed Mees, then his teammate Vanderkooi, but there weren't enough laps (or rear tyre) to catch Briar Bauman and BRob.

  • Briar Bauman hit a hole, knocked his bike into fourth and broke the gear lever off and blew the next corner, which, he says, stopped him challenging for the win. 

  • The Estenson Yamahas continue to struggle on anything but TTs. JD Beach could only make it to 11th, after winning the last round.

  • Robinson won his second race of the season. 

  • Briar B still leads the title race (read our interview with Briar in the current issue, SB35)

  • Sammy ended up on the podium for the first time since the Buffalo Chip TT, last August. Vanderkooi was fourth. 

Next race is this weekend, the Sacramento Mile. 

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