Brian Bauman of Salinas, Ca took victory in in the final AMP Pro Flat Track Grand National of the season, piloting his Honda for a green lights to chequered flag win in Harley-Davidson sponsored GNC1 class action, presented by Vance and Hines, at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas on Friday night, November 20. 20-year-old Bauman wound up 2.445 of a second ahead of the runner-up after 25 laps, a solid margin around such a tight, hockey rink-sized venue.
Unretired 47 year old Joe Kopp of Mica, WA made his sole start of the AMA Pro National Dirt Track season a success, the Triumph Team Manager piloting a unique Husqvarna FC450 to a solid second place.
Third overall belonged to Jared Mees, the popular Clio, MI racer having earlier in the evening clinched his second straight, and third Grand National career, overall National Title.
Fourth went to Sammy Halbert on a Yamaha, Jake Johnson fifth on a Honda and up-and-coming Yamaha rider Dominic Colindres earned sixth.
In what turned out to be a somewhat processional race around the very dusty, tenth of a mile oval, Bauman took control early and was never seriously challenged.
“I really don’t know if I should cry or scream with joy,” explained Bauman form the podium, emotional after his second career National feature victory. “The track was insane, so small and tight, really something with the performance of the bikes we were using. I basically raced all night without changing a single thing, we just checked the tire pressures.”
“Some of the best laps I did all night were in the final,” continued the victor. “I made a few mistakes, but I did well when it counted, I did well with the lapped traffic. I’m really excited that this result gets me in tomorrow’s race.”
After a first ever National Championship round at the new Orleans racing venue, the double header winds up on Saturday night with the first-ever invitational Superprestigio of the Americas event, with the star dirt trackers facing off against top riders from other disciplines of two-wheeled sport.
“I came here to have fun, I’m not really racing for a paycheck anymore,” smiled Kopp post-race. “It was my only outing of the year with these guys, and I wanted to make it count. The Husky worked really well, it was just awesome. Maybe now the Promoter will invite me to ride in the Superprestigo tomorrow.”
Mees explained that it was nice that the title battle pressure was diminished after arch rivals Bryan Smith and Kenny Coolbeth fell during Semi qualifying action, ending their chances for the crown. However Mees “came up a little short, Bauman split so quick, and it took me about five laps to get down to the bottom (racing line), really get into the groove.”
“It was really backyard racing, so I built a track in my backyard to get ready,” stated Mees. “It really was lots of fun preparing for this race. But my biggest fear was what happened to (title rival) Bryan, and I’ve been there racing little tracks, on concrete, on ice.”
“It’s great to finish up the year with the number one plate, we only got the one win, but we were always competitive, and consistency is what gets you Championships. Consistency pays off.”