SACRAMENTO, CA (May 17, 2016) – Bryan Smith is riding high coming into this Saturday’s 51st running of the historic Sacramento Mile, round five of the 14 race AMA Pro Flat Track Championship. Smith races into Sacramento not only owning a five-race winning streak at Cal Expo, but the veteran racer from Flint, Michigan, is also coming off a jaw-dropping runaway victory last weekend on the Turf Paradise Mile in Phoenix. In Phoenix Smith figured out the challenging racing surface and rode his No. 42 Crosley/Howerton Motorsports Kawasaki Ninja 650 to a convincing 12.646-second margin of victory, almost unheard of in the wheel-to-wheel racing action of AMA Grand National miles.
“Normally Sacramento is a little earlier in the year and was the first mile, so you’d come in there not knowing how you are going to do,” said Smith, who with five wins, is tied for third on the all-time Sacramento Mile wins list. “This year I coming off the win in Arizona and with the history I’ve had at Sacramento, I’m pretty excited to be rolling into the Cal Expo complex.”
Smith is undoubtedly the rider to beat in this year’s edition of the Sacramento Mile and this year he has perhaps even more incentive since he comes to the race ranked fourth in the standings, only 11 points out of the championship lead. It’s a much better position than Smith has found himself in coming into Sacramento previously, mainly because of the struggles he’s had in recent years at the season-opening doubleheader short track races in Daytona Beach, Florida.
“This is the closest I’ve been to the front this early in the year,” Smith admits. “It’s almost like Daytona was the most important two races of the year for me. The miles come easier for me than the short tracks. So I put a lot of focus on Daytona this year and yeah, it would be nice to come away with a win or podium, but to come out of there with the points we did (finishing fifth and eighth) gave us a great base to build off of and now we can go about business on the miles like we always do.”
One other factor this year for Smith is his Ricky Howerton-built Crosley/Howerton Motorsports Kawasaki Ninja 650 race bike. This year Smith is racing the third generation of the revolutionary Howerton Kawasaki, arguably the most technologically advanced motorcycle ever raced in AMA Pro Flat Track. Smith admits it was nail-biting time for the squad in Arizona last week, since Howerton’s latest creation had never been tested.
“This bike takes all that we’ve learned from the two previous versions and it really seems to suit me. So we rolled out the new bike in Arizona and needless to say it wasn’t a bad debut.
“That was the first time the bike was ever on the track. We had planned to test it at the Indy Mile, but it rained. I rode it up and down Gasoline Alley a couple of times (in front of Howerton’s Indianapolis shop), we loaded it on the truck and crossed our fingers.”
There’s a tightly-packed group of four riders battling it out in the AMA Pro Flat Track Championship standings coming into Sacramento. Sammy Halbert has a five-point lead (73-68) over defending series champ Jared Mees. Jake Johnson and Smith are right in the mix as well with 63 and 62 points respectively.
Smith is hoping a sixth consecutive victory at Sacramento will propel him to the front of the pack and put him on the road to finally winning his first AMA Pro Flat Track Championship.
The AMA Pro Grand National Championship series is one of the longest running motorcycle racing championships in the world. On the long straights of the Sacramento Mile top speeds can reach 130 miles per hour. Flat track racing has produced many of America’s Motorcycle Grand Prix Champions such as Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts, Jr. and Nicky Hayden. Visit www.sactomile.com to keep up with all the latest on the event.
This year fans will have a unique opportunity to go to two AMA Pro National events on the same day. The opening round of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross kicks off with the Hangtown National near Rancho Cordova during the day and fans can then come to Cal Expo to watch the AMA Pro Flat Track National.
Practice at Cal Expo begins at 2:30 pm and the opening ceremonies are at 6:30 pm.
*** 2016 Ticket Information: Ticket information is available for the May 21, 2016 Sacramento Mile at www.sactomile.com.