Oct 12, 2013
© 2014, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
From a press release
issued by Penny Nicolai
Brad Baker. Photo by Dave Hoenig/AMA Pro Racing.
GOING FOR THE AMA PRO GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Pomona, Calif…When the Law Tigers AMA Pro Flat Track, Finals brought to you locally by Pomona Valley Harley-Davidson and Glendale Harley-Davidson, October 12th at the Fairplex, roars into action it will mark the start of the most important race of the year – the one that will decide the championship.
Looking to bring home this year’s coveted AMA Pro Grand National Championship title are three of the top riders in AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles…Brad Baker, Bryan Smith and Brandon Robinson.
A Washington native, Brad Baker has had a great year winning at Hagerstown and finishing in the top five in every other race with the exception of one.
Racing since he was six, this determined 20 year old turned Pro in 2009 and immediately established himself as a standout, earning the AMA Pro Singles Championship title. In 2009 he earned 11 podium finishes with four wins and ended the season in second place. Moving into the AMA Pro Grand National Twins Class in 2011 Baker added the 2011 Rookie of the year title to his growing list of accolades. Last year he ended the season in fifth overall.
“Last year I took a second at Pomona,” said Baker. “This time out I want to be in the Number One spot. “Having the Law Tigers Flat Track Finals here at Pomona is always extremely exciting because of the tracks shape and preparation. Making this event the deciding factor for the Grand National Championship also makes racing that much more intense!”
Holding down second place just 11 points behind Baker is Bryan Smith. Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, Smith has been around motorcycles most of his life.
“I got into racing through my dad,” explains Smith. “He rode a lot and had always wanted to race, but never had the opportunity. He got me into dirt bikes, BMX bikes and had me ride both for a couple years. He took me to a pro race when I was 6-7 years old, and ever since then, I knew I wanted to race motorcycles.”
Working his way up the ladder of success, Smith began honing his skills. Earning numerous wins and accolades, it didn’t take long for Smith to create a name for himself. Turning pro in 1999, Smith ended the season as the 500cc and 600cc modified class Amateur National Champion, plus was the recipient of the Dirt Track Horizon Award. The following year, he took Rookie of the Year honors.
Known as the ‘Master of the Mile,' Smith earned his third consecutive win at Sacramento this year, plus took the checkers at Indianapolis and been on the podium four times. Now he wants the win at Pomona.
“I battled it out last year with Baker for second place,” says Smith. “He got me at the end and took second by a bike length. “Now we are going to battle it out for the championship. However, this time out I want to win. Pomona is one of my favorite tracks. It is a fun place to race and this year it should really be good.”
On third place with 175 points is Brandon Robinson who hails from Oxford Pennsylvania.
Robinson enters the Pomona Half-Mile with tremendous confidence after coming off stellar weekends at Springfield where he finished first in both of the weekend's main events.
This twenty two year old got his first taste of the two wheeled world at the age of four. From there he competed in the amateur ranks winning many district, regional, and national championships. The 2007 season marked his first professional season racing in the pro sport division. During this year he took 1 national win and 5 national podiums on his way to finishing the season ranked 2nd in the nation. Robinson moved up to the basic expert division for the 2008 season.
Making his name known, Robinson’s career was put on hold when he was seriously injured at the 2009 Indianapolis Mile. Breaking his pelvis in 4 places, his hip in 5, his hip socket and his lower back had him unable to walk for six months and it took a year for him to fully recover.
Last year he finished 11th overall and this year he is in contention for the championship.
If Smith were to take the perfect point’s haul of 29 by winning the Dash for Cash, the Main and earning the bonus point for leading the most laps, Baker would need to finish in second to maintain his lead and take home the #1 plate. Even if Robinson shows the form he so brilliantly exhibited at Springfield, he'll need a little help from his rivals to put the other championship contenders out of the picture.
It all boils down tonight. This is definitely a race you won’t want to miss.
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