SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The AMA Pro Flat Track series will continue its West Coast swing by heading to the Cal Expo Fairgrounds for the Sacramento Mile on Saturday.
Bryan Smith will ride the all-new black and green Kawasaki Ninja 650 and try for his sixth-consecutive Sacramento Mile victory Saturday in the elite Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class. He set the consecutive win record with his fourth-straight win at the Cal Expo in 2014 and won the contest in nail-biting fashion again a year ago.
This weekend’s Sacramento Mile is the second of four consecutive Mile events on the schedule, as the series will roll into Illinois for the legendary Springfield Mile and then Remington Park for the Oklahoma City Mile for rounds six and seven, respectively. The series will also cap off the season with two Mile events, bringing the total number of long tracks to six for the year.
The upcoming schedule spells blood in the water for a Mile shark like Smith. If he’s able to keep the heat up on his opponents during this stretch, he should hold a firm grip on the GNC1 points lead at the season’s midway point and be in great position to capture his first-career championship at season’s end. Right now, Smith sits fourth in the standings after four rounds of action.
Smith’s biggest on-track rival and defending GNC1 champion Jared Mees secured a runner-up finish in Arizona, and he enters Sacramento sitting second in the point standings. The No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson rider has won three of the last four GNC1 championships, and is on pace to be in contention for another one in 2016.
Another rider aiming to knock Smith off his mile-high pedestal this weekend in Sacramento is Brandon Robinson. The Pennsylvanian came within milliseconds of beating Smith to the line in last year’s Main Event in the Golden State, but he fell just short – 0.02 of a second to be exact – of capturing the checkered flag. This year, Robinson is off to another strong start on all-new equipment, as he switched from Triumph to Harley-Davidson during the off-season, and he’ll look to improve on his fifth-place position in the point standings aboard the No. 44 Kennedy Racing machine on Saturday.
Despite finishing fifth in last weekend’s Law Tigers AMA Pro Arizona Mile, Sammy Halbert remains top dog in the GNC1 point standings heading into Sacramento. The No. 69 BriggsAuto.com Harley-Davidson pilot hasn’t finished outside the Top 5 so far in 2016, and he’ll look to carry over that momentum and remain consistent in California.
Entering round four third in the GNC1 point standings is Jake Johnson. The No. 5 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson pilot and two-time GNC1 champion finished eighth in Arizona for his worst finish of the season, but he still looks sharp and he’s always a threat to go the distance every time he takes to the track.
It’s been a rough start to the season for the Factory Harley-Davidson Team, as Brad Baker and Davis Fisher have had some struggles through four rounds. GNC1 class rookie, Fisher, has failed to make a Main Event aboard the No. 67 Harley-Davidson in either of the two twins races thus far, and Baker is coming off 17th and 6th-place efforts. There’s no denying the world of talent that both Baker and Fisher possess, as it has been on full display in recent seasons, and Baker’s sixth-place position in the point standings isn’t the worst spot to be in, but the tandem need to have a strong Sacramento performance if they want to be in the championship discussion later on this year.
Henry Wiles and Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. sit seventh and eighth in the GNC1 point standings after four rounds, with Cory Texter catapulting into the Top 10 after his career-best third-place finish in Arizona last weekend.