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FT: Lima preview

AMA FLAT TRACKERS HEAD TO LIMA PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 27, 2007) -- Lima's festival of speed returns to the Allen Country Fairgrounds this Saturday, June 30, when the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship makes its annual stop at...

AMA FLAT TRACKERS HEAD TO LIMA

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 27, 2007) -- Lima's festival of speed returns to the Allen Country Fairgrounds this Saturday, June 30, when the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship makes its annual stop at one of the series' premier venues for round three of the AMA GNC Twins Championship.

The crushed limestone Lima Half-mile provides fans with some of the most exciting racing on the AMA Grand National circuit. The famed "cushion" track sees riders going into full-lock slides while kicking up a sandblasting spray of pea gravel from their bike's rear tire.

Ambience is high with the Allen County Fairgrounds providing the traditional Midwestern race setting including the aroma of pork tenderloins and corn on the cob wafting through the grandstands. On the western horizon there's early summer twilight late into the evening. Fans generally ride their motorcycles to the race and the parking lot is full of shiny machines lined up in long, straight rows.

Jared Mees, of the Blue Springs Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson team, leads the series by a single point over factory Harley-Davidson rider Ken Coolbeth coming into Lima. Mees earned his first national win at Lima in 2005 and he looks forward to getting back to the Northwestern Ohio circuit.

"Lima is always a tough race," Mees said. "I won it in 2005 and then last year I couldn't hit the target for anything. You always have to go to Lima with an open mind. It can be a challenge to get your bike set up and there's not a lot of time to get it right. Like all cushion tracks you have to get good starts and qualifying is going to be important."

"I've gotten better at cushion tracks by doing ice racing up in Michigan during the winter. A half-mile cushion in my eyes is the best form of flat track racing out there. There's nothing like going wide open into the turns and kicking up a 12-foot rooster tail spray that blasts the rider behind you. You've got to get it on at Lima and that's the kind of racing I like."

Veteran riders like former champs Joe Kopp and Chris Carr are normally favored for their ability and experience at cushion tracks and quickly finding the best set-up for the conditions.

Kopp, a two-time Lima winner from Mica, Wash., is looking to bounce back after suffering a flat tire in the most recent national in Tennessee.

"I need to rebound after a little tough luck at the last race," Kopp said. "Lima has been a good track for me and I always look forward to racing there. It's still early in the season, but I need to have a good race to get back up there in the standings. Even if I win it I won't be where I need to be in the points, but I'll be back on the right track."

While veterans are generally favored at Lima, the track occasionally produces surprise winners. Canadian Chris Evans came out of nowhere to win Lima in 2002. Mees' win in 2005 was a surprise, although he's now become one of the favorites in the race. Last year another Canadian, Dominic Beaulac, broke through to score his first national win at Lima.

Practice gets underway at 4:30 pm, and opening ceremonies slated for 7:00 pm. The paddock will be open to spectators from 5:45 to 7 pm. There will also be a Pro Sport Invitational race and a special George Roeder Memorial Dash -- an intense five-lap race with just six riders.

Lima has become one of the must-see events in the championship since becoming a national in 1984. The race will be broadcast on MavTV. Visit www.mavtv.com for additional information.

Tickets are available for the race by calling (419) 991-1491.

-credit: ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Chris Carr