AMA Pro Racing Flat Track champions crowned DAYTONA BEACH, Florida--With the 2008 season officially in the books, AMA Pro Racing is proud to honor its 2008 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champions, as well as the 2008 AMA Expert Twins Flat Track...
AMA Pro Racing Flat Track champions crowned
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida--With the 2008 season officially in the books, AMA Pro Racing is proud to honor its 2008 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champions, as well as the 2008 AMA Expert Twins Flat Track champion, with Kenny Coolbeth, Jake Johnson and Brandon Robinson claiming the honors.
For the third year in a row, Harley-Davidson's Coolbeth wrapped up the GNC Twins No. 1 plate. Coolbeth clinched the title at the Monticello, New York, half-mile on Sept. 6, with two more events still on the calendar. Coolbeth won six races on the year, with four more podium finishes. The Morris, Conn., rider finished the year with 249 points to Bryan Smith's 197. Seven-time Grand National Champion Chris Carr finished third on the year, six points back from Smith.
Coolbeth turned pro in 1993. In addition to the 2006 and 2007 GNC Twins titles, he also won the 2007 GNC Singles title.
"It was a great year," Coolbeth said. "My bikes ran well. My whole team is pretty much flawless. Joe Kopp had a good run earlier, but we rebounded and had a good year. I'm glad we wrapped it up early. It would have been pretty stressful to go into the final round with the title still in the air."
GNC Twins features twin-cylinder motorcycles racing on mile and half-mile tracks. There were 13 GNC Twins rounds in 2008.
While Coolbeth tied up his GNC Twins No. 1 plate early, the GNC Singles title was still up for grabs at the last Singles round, which took place at the Illinois State Fairgrounds short-track in Springfield, Illinois.
Johnson, Henry Wiles and J.R. Schnabel had a mathematical shot at the GNC Singles title heading into the Labor Day weekend event, but Johnson's eighth-place finish was more than enough for him to lock up his second class title, which he last won in 2006. Johnson, from Franklinville, N.J., claimed the championship with 108 points to 103 for Wiles. Schnabel was 6 more points back in third.
Johnson's two wins on the year came at the season-opener doubleheader. From there, he stayed consistent, finishing on the podium three more times.
"The year couldn't have gone much better," Johnson said. "We started off the season with the two wins at Daytona, and we were on the podium almost every race. This title was not much different than the one in 2006. Then, it came down to the last race, and last year, I went into the last round trailing a little bit. Both times, my stomach was in knots. I thought maybe the third time around it would get a little bit better, but it really wasn't. I guess I tend to put a lot on myself going into that last race. Anything can happen."
GNC Singles features 450cc four-stroke motocross bikes converted for racing primarily on short-tracks and TT courses. There were six GNC Singles rounds in 2008.
In the AMA Expert Twins Series, which is open to all basic expert license-holders and any GNC-licensed rider with three years experience or less who has not scored a point on GNC Twins equipment, Robinson tied up the title at Monticello.
The season started phenomenally well for Robinson. The Oxford, Penn., made the main event in his first and second Grand Nationals ever at the Daytona short-track in March. Then, going into the Expert Twins series, he surged early, leading off with a second-place finish and then notching a string of five wins. He finished the year with 214 points to Brady Mueller's 172. Corby Scherb was 14 more points back in third.
"It was an amazing year," said Robinson, who is backed by Whites Harley-Davidson, Iron Valley Harley-Davidson, and Mom and Dad. "Daytona started off awesome in the GNC Singles, with making both nationals at my first national ever. We then moved to the Expert Twins class and the momentum just kept rolling. I knew that if I stayed consistent, I could pull it off because I have such a good team behind me. My biggest goal for next year is to go for Rookie of the Year, but to place top 20 overall would be great."