March 2014 Race Report

Hello everyone, I hope you have all enjoyed the month of March and the beginning to the majority of all two wheeled motorsports! For myself March had its ups and downs. It all started off in Savannah Georgia at a beautiful red clay half mile. This is where the AMA Steve Nace All Series starts off each year. I was super excited going to this race track because I was going to be racing a twin here for the first time. Not only would it be my first time on a twin at the track it would also be my first time working with my new team, Factory Harley Davidson. I would also be riding my FMC Dyno Center KTM 450 singles as well. The first couple of days in Georgia were a big disappointment. The day we arrived it started raining and didn’t stop for two days. This wiped out two full days of testing with Harley and the first race that was supposed to be on Friday night. Luckily when we woke up on Saturday it was beautiful, clear sky and the race promoters had decided to run the already scheduled amateurs during the day and rescheduled the Pro event to follow that night. They offered a pro twin and single class during the amateur program so I decided to ride because I was plain tired of waiting around! I ended up winning on my 450 and got 3rd on the twin after making a charge from the back row. My hotshoe had fallen off in the heat race which forced me to ride a semi to make it into the main event. So a third from the third row wasn’t a bad deal.  The race that night was like a mini national! Pretty much all the top riders come out for this race to test their new equipment and get some seat time after riding indoors or on the ice all winter long. I ended up winning the main event on my KTM 450 once again and got a close third on the Harley behind Brandon Robinson and Jared Mees. It was a pretty good way to start off the first outdoor of the year. For the next couple of days we spent our time at a couple different tracks testing on the 450s trying to get them dialed in for the first two rounds of the AMA Pro Racing Grand National Championship at the Daytona Beach short track. It has been a battle for me to get as comfortable on the KTMs as I was on Hondas. However, I was going make myself feel comfortable in my mind no matter what.

The first round at Daytona started out good. I qualified 4th which gave me a good spot on the front row for the heats. Unfortunately, this is where the night started to go downhill. The track changes up so much from during the day to at night that your bike has to be very well rounded to work good in both circumstances.  My bike on the other hand didn’t want to cooperate so well. I got off line good right behind that nights winner Briar Bauman. With the weather cooling down a lot the mapping was thrown off pretty bad and the motor was not running smooth which made throttle control very difficult. The track was so slick and with the bike not running correct it was almost impossible to not make mistakes and I eventually slipped back to 5th, which meant I would have to ride a semi. We got the bike running smooth again and made some other adjustments and went out and won the semi to transfer into the main event. Now this is where my bad luck started! When we were sitting in staging for the main event we fired the bike up to warm it up and it was making a very loud top end ticking noise. We decided not to chance running it so I hoped on the back up bike that we hadn’t ran all day.  I had a good start to the main event and was somewhere inside the top 10 when the bike started to cut out. Fortunately, there was a red flag right after it stopped running right so we had some time to figure things out. We couldn’t figure what was wrong with the back up so I decided to hop back on the A bike and just hope it would last the main event. I started the main event from the 4th row and was in a tight battle around mid pack when the flag man threw the black flag pointed at me! I didn’t know why this was happening but I tried my best to get off the track safely and not mess up any of the other racers race. What the DQ ended up being for was my crew didn’t exchange the two bikes in the back up bike staging area. Instead they took the A bike back to the pit area because they thought it was done for the night. The rules say that all bikes must be held in the back up bike staging area to be valid for use. Even though this bike had already been in staging before the main event and was the bike I had been riding all day. I didn’t know what else to do but to accept what had happened and move on to the next day.
The next day things started off decent once again.. What ended up being wrong on the bikes was a cam chain tensioner on the first bike and a fuel pump went out on the back up bike. I know what are the chances of both these parts going out on pretty much brand new 2014 KTM’s. This time I qualified 5th. The track is always a lot more forgiving in qualifying because there is a lot more traction. I could adjust my riding a lot to make the bike do what I wanted it to do. But still when the sun went down and the track got a lot slicker the motorcycle was once again a handful. I was able to transfer out of the heat race but I was far from happy with how things were going. Traction is the key to success in Daytona and I had very little of it. I ended up getting a good jump off the line in the main event and was running as high as 5th in the first 5 laps. Slowly but surely as my charge started to wear off, others riders started to pick up momentum and I found myself just trying to stay smooth on not make mistakes then trying to move forward and race. It’s one of the worst feelings as a racer when you are just trying to get around the track rather than feeling comfortable and pushing forward to the next position. Eventually I settled in 11th position. I hate to blame equipment as the reason to my poor start to 2014 season but the truth is that was the main issue.  Since my rookie year in 2011 I have had the best overall average of finishes in Daytona up until this season. I have always had a lot of fun at this track and came out in the top 5 in points. There was just too much change in my whole program and not enough time spent with the bike and team to gain the data and experience we needed to be successful at Daytona. I am surely not going to let it get me down though. I had a very bad luck in Daytona last year and look where it landed me at the end of the year! Fortunately, there is plenty of time to get the 450’s where they need to be by the next singles grand national in August. I have swallowed my pride and I plan to come back on strong at the next round on Memorial Day weekend in Springfield Illinois!

Since Daytona I have just been enjoying some time around home up in the northwest and preparing myself for the rest of the season. My Mom, my good friend Tanner and I drove straight home from Daytona so I could ride the last indoor short track of the year that very next weekend.  I decided to do one for the fans and bust out J&M dirt track chassis Honda 450 and wear my dirt track leather suit. Any true flat track fan I know loved the original flat track look! It ended up being a great race between myself and other fellow Washington Expert Sammy Halbert. The only bad thing about a framer is they are really hard to get off the starting line. With the track being super dry slick and one lined it was crucial to get a good start. Sammy ended up getting the start on me in both main events on his DTX bike and was doing a great job of plugging the inside. I think I ran into the back of him almost every lap both main events trying to get a drive on him off the corners. Eventually I ran out of laps in the first main but I gave it more of a fight at the end of the second main event. I was finally fed up with trying to make room on the inside so I gave it a go on the outside. Going into turn three the lap before the white flag i left the throttle on longer and rolled around the outside of him and got back on it earlier. I was past him at the start finish but I was a little too wide going into turn 1 and the front end pushed really hard making me go wide and letting him back by. So I ended the night with two close second place finishes and had a lot of fun!

I fly out on Friday at the end of this week to Los Angeles California for the 70th annual Trail Blazers Banquet. I will be sitting at a table with legends like The King Kenny Roberts, Bubba Shobert and Gene Romaro. I am really looking forward to getting down there and showing my respects to the past Stars of motorcycle racing.
I can’t thanks all of my fans, friends, family and especially my sponsors for helping make every step of this dream life a reality!


Baker Wins 2013 Season Championship!

Brad Baker Wins at Pomona in AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Season Finale, Earns Coveted National #1 Plate

POMONA, Calif. (October 12, 2013) - Brad Baker (Dodge Bros Racing/Harley-Davidson) capped off his most remarkable AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles season to date Saturday night. Under the lights at the LA County Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., the Eatonville, Wash. product earned a hard-fought victory in the night's main event to bring the Law Tigers AMA Pro Flat Track Finals to a close, capturing the coveted No. 1 plate and overall Grand National Championship in the process.

"That was probably the best race of the entire season right there," said an ecstatic Baker. "Bryan (Smith) and I were going at it the whole time and I couldn't have asked for a better competitor. There's no better way to finish off the championship than with a big win. I really have to thank my team, Dodge Bros Racing, for everything they've done for me this season and making all of this possible."

Baker began his dominant march towards sealing the title early. He earned the top spot in afternoon qualifying, won his heat race and then the Dash for Cash before eventually topping archrival Bryan Smith (Crosley Radio/Kawasaki) by .706 seconds at the end of the 25-lap main event.

Baker, who for the most part ran a very smooth and impressive race, had one notable mishap that could have very easily cost himself the title on lap five as he went into Turn 2 a little too aggressive. Not only did the bobble force him to sacrifice the lead to Smith for the first time, but the 20-year-old came extremely close to losing control of his motorcycle and going over his handlebars; a wreck that would have surely cost him the championship. Fortunately for Baker, he was able to recover from his mistake and the hard charger fought his way back to the top spot -- despite two red flag situations that bunched the field -- officially reclaiming the lead from Smith for the final time on lap 13.

Baker and Smith's game plans for the season's final race couldn't have been more opposite as the two rode completely different lines going into the turns on nearly every lap. Baker always stayed high while Smith would stay low, trying to get any sort of advantage on the soon-to-be champion.

In the end, Smith's efforts weren't enough as Baker proved to be too strong of an opponent. Smith's second-place finish tonight earned him 202 points in the overall standings, enough for him to claim second in the overall Grand National Championship just 17 points back from Baker. Though Smith wasn't able to overtake Baker in the overall standings, he did manage to obtain the 2013 AMA Pro Expert Twins Championship for the second year in a row. Smith's two huge wins on mile-long circuits and multiple podium appearances on the back of his powerful Kawasaki EX650 earned him 161 points in the AMA Pro Expert Twins standings.

No one conquered more feats this year in AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles than the 2013 AMA Pro Grand National Champion Brad Baker. The 2011 Saddlemen Rookie of the Year earned his first ever win at the GNC Expert level at Hagerstown Speedway after having finished in second-place three consecutive times to begin the season. At 20 years, seven months, and 23 days old, Baker is the fourth-youngest Grand National Champion in the history of the sport.

Courtesy of AMA Pro Racing


Baker With the Point Lead Coming into Season Finale

Pomona, Calif. (October 3, 2013) - Just ten days remain until the Law Tigers AMA Pro Flat Track Finals, brought to you locally by Pomona Valley Harley-Davidson and Glendale Harley-Davidson, thunders off the startline, Saturday, October 12th at the Fairplex.

With the 2013 Grand National Championship on the line, this spectacular race will feature non-stop high speeds and handlebar-to handlebar action as the top flat track racers in the world go for the gold.

Unfortunately the AMA Pro Santa Rosa Mile main events on September 29th had to be stopped due to a heavy mist rolled in late in the afternoon.

Normal purse payouts were paid to both the Grand National Expert Twins and the Pro Singles riders per order of their starting positions for each main event. Each rider that was scheduled to participate in their respective main events was awarded one point in the standings. The usual point and cash payouts for the Grand National Expert Dash for Cash will remain the same.

Coming into Pomona, Brad Baker is leading the field by a mere 11 points. A resident of Dryad, Wash, Baker has been on top all season long. Earning 5 podium finishes and four top 10’s, Baker would like nothing more than to emerge as this year’s Grand National Champion. However, he is going to have to battle both Bryan Smith and Brandon Robinson who are very much in contention for winning.
And these are only three of the competitors in this, the final race of the year. Add names like reigning champion Jared Mees, last year’s AMA Pro Flat Track winner Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., Sammy Halbert, Henry Wiles, Jake Johnson, Briar Bauman, Steve Bonsey and a host of others, the theme will definitely be an evening of ground pumping, non-stop action.

Not only does this race pit rider against rider, but it also pits machine against machine. Back in the 1950’s Harley-Davidson battled BSA, Triumph and Indian. Today, eligible bikes include Aprilia, BMW, Harley-Davidson, Buell, Ducati, Honda, KTM, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha.

Hitting speeds up to 130 mph and racing handlebar-to-handlebar, flat track racing is indeed the most exciting form of two-wheel racing in America today. There is no time to coast, no time to try and figure out strategy. It is sheer go-for-it from beginning to end.
Adding more action, will be the inaugural Super Long Track Speedway Bike Invitational. The exhibition from 2012 was a fan favorite, so it has been brought it back as a thrilling addition to the evening's schedule, complete with heats and a Main.

And that is not all. Scheduled from 3pm-6pm is the Gasser Customs Vintage Ride-In and Show & Shine. Ride your vintage bike ride and enjoy free parking right in front plus take part in the vintage bike show! Awards will be given for the best of the best but all bikes in any shape or condition are welcome to participate. If you enjoy vintage bikes, you will want to see this show.

Another highlight will be the Ascot Reunion which will take place inside the gates to the event near the Legends Autograph section from 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm ... Come out and see some bikes from the ASCOT era, meet and hear stories by the riders who made ASCOT.

Come early and hear the live music, visit the vendor’s area and watch practice. It will definitely be a day to remember and the event not to be missed.

For tickets and further information, please visit www.FlatTrackFinals.com.