The inaugural event on Colonial Downs' supersized 1.25-mile circuit in New Kent, Va. proved to be a wild one. For the first half of the race, Bryan Smith (Crosley Radio/Kawasaki) looked to be well on his way to a third 2013 victory until he suffered a bike malfunction on lap eight, opening up the flood gates for his competitors. Defending Grand National Champion Mees took full advantage of Smith's mishap, taking the lead and never relinquishing it for the remainder of the 18-lap main event.
"I got a decent start and thought I would just dice it out with Henry (Wiles) and Brad (Baker) for second after seeing Bryan get out to such a commanding lead early on," said Mees. "As soon as Bryan's bike broke and Brad dropped out, I kept making my marks and just brought her home. I've been up and down all season and to get this win here is huge."
Mees' Virginia Mega Mile win marks his fourth top five finish out of his last five main events. He currently sits fourth in the points, just 28 markers behind current GNC points leader Brad Baker (Dodge Bros Racing/Harley-Davidson). The Clio, Mich. product is getting hot at the right time, as there are just four critical races remaining on the 2013 schedule.
Wiles (Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Ducati) posted a solid second-place result which may have been the most impressive feat of the day, considering the Winn, Mich. product was forced to start on the fourth row in the main event. Wiles got an excellent start and within laps placed himself in the front group of riders, ultimately finishing 1.885 seconds behind Mees.
Oxford, Penn. native Brandon Robinson (TJ Burnett Farms/Kawasaki) backed up last weekend's impressive second-place finish at Indy with another podium finish at Colonial Downs. Robinson now sits fifth in the overall Grand National Championship standings after a shaky mid-season string of rough finishes for the young star.
Salinas, Calif.'s Briar Bauman (Monster Energy Kawasaki/Kawasaki) and Morris, Conn.'s Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Harley-Davidson Motor Company/Harley-Davidson) rounded out the top five, respectively.
Current series points leader Baker had his championship points lead slashed by mechanical gremlins in Virginia. Starting from 13th on the grid, the Eatonville, Wash. native quickly worked his way up into the front group and was poised to challenge for the lead before his bike came up lame around the halfway point. His uncharacteristic 19th place performance is his only main event finish outside of the top 10 this season.
The 20-year-old suddenly finds himself with a less comfortable lead in the overall Grand National Championship points chase, leading Wiles by just 17 points, 156-139. Smith sits just five points back at 134, with defending champ Mees another six back at 128.
The AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles main event was a 10-lap shootout for the checkered flag and it was Cody Johncox (Sunnyside Cycle/Yamaha), starting from second position on the grid, who came away with the win in what proved to be the closest finish in J&P Cycles Pro Singles competition this year.
The race was an all-out scramble, with several riders fighting for position from flag to flag. Johncox took the lead on lap seven and was able to hold off the five-rider lead pack, just edging out his competition on the final circuit. Willow Street, Penn.'s Shayna Texter (Crosley Radio/Honda) skillfully maneuvered her way around a slew of competitors to finish second in the race by a scant .008 seconds.
Defending J&P Cycles Pro Singles Champion Stephen Vanderkuur (Parkinson Brothers Racing/Honda) got out to an early lead and at one point looked as if he'd finally record his first victory of the season. However, Vanderkuur would go on to close out the podium with a third-place finish.
AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles heads to Springfield, Ill. for rounds 10 and 11. The doubleheader Labour Day weekend will feature the stars of the sport competing on the legendary Springfield Mile for the first time this year on Saturday, August 31 and again the following day on Sunday, September 1.
--From AMA Pro Racing