COOLBETH FIRST TO EARN GNC TWINS AND GNC SINGLES TITLES IN SAME YEAR PICKERINGTON, Ohio (October 3, 2007) -- Ken Coolbeth clinched both the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Twins and Singles Championships this past weekend in Tucson, Ariz....
COOLBETH FIRST TO EARN GNC TWINS AND GNC SINGLES TITLES IN SAME YEAR
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (October 3, 2007) -- Ken Coolbeth clinched both the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Twins and Singles Championships this past weekend in Tucson, Ariz. The 30-year-old factory Harley-Davidson rider from Morris, Conn., defended his AMA GNC Twins title of 2006 and scored his first title in the AMA GNC Singles Championship to become the first rider to win both titles in a single year.
"I'm glad it's over," said a relieved Coolbeth, who finished sixth in the final round of the Singles Championship at USA Race Park on Friday night and second in the Twins Championship on Saturday to clinch both titles. "It was a great year for us. We did what we had to do. Jared [Mees] and Jake [Johnson] were right there the whole time making it tough. It meant a lot to me to back up my first championship."
Coolbeth's closest challenger all season in the Twins class was Jared Mees, who actually led the Twins championship much of the first half of the season. A four-race win streak by Coolbeth just after mid-season put him in a solid position to defend the championship and he scored a win and two runner-up finishes in the final three rounds to put the title out of reach for Mees.
Coolbeth earned the Twins title with a round yet remaining. Going into the series finale in Las Vegas, Coolbeth has six victories. He now has 15-career AMA Grand National wins and moved from 33rd to 19th on the all-time Grand National wins list.
While Coolbeth was expected to be the leading contender in the Twins championship, he surprised a lot of people by his strength in the Singles. He rode a Bettencourt Honda-sponsored CRF450-based machine in the class.
"People never thought of me as much of a Singles rider," Coolbeth said. "That was a real goal of mine to win both championships and to prove I was versatile enough of a rider to win both."
Coolbeth beat Jake Johnson by just two points in the AMA GNC Singles Championship chase. And while Coolbeth didn't win a Singles race, he showed amazing consistency with four podium finishes in the seven rounds. He never finished worse than sixth.
Coolbeth is doubly happy that he is the first rider to win both the Twins and Singles Championships in the same season. "It's sort of old school in a way that there's just one champion," he said. "That way there's no question of who was the top rider this season. It's a real honor and something I couldn't have done without the help of Harley-Davidson, Bettencourt Honda, my crew and all the smaller sponsors who don't get much recognition."
Coolbeth said he plans on returning in 2008 to defend both championships.