We counted six crashes in one day. While we would hope for no crashing for the entire day, restarts add another element of drama to the race itself – each time it was more and more unclear of who would be the ultimate winner.
Understandably, some riders choose not to ride this particular event but they are still there to show their support to their friends and fellow riders. Notably, Shayna Texter and Nichole Mees were present, and both still greeted fans and made their enthusiasm known.
My boyfriend, Bree, and I headed to the event early Sunday morning. The main event kicked off with 18 riders the Pro Singles race. It was an exciting race with hard competition and a more than one crash. In the first part, rider Kevin Walter collided with Cole Crowley, while Molly Terry, the first ever woman to qualify for a Peoria TT, narrowly navigated around the wreckage.
The race was restarted with the point leader, Kyle Johnson, taking the second restart spot and 16 laps to go. In a repeat of the original start, he leapt out to an early lead with Jacob Lehmann hot on his heels. Johnson was really flying — making 130-foot leaps off the jump — but ended up going down twice in one lap and throwing the race, just after the halfway point.
Second place racer Jacob Lehmann now took the first place position on the staggered restart, although his sizeable lead over Wells and Lau in Third and Fourth was gone and he had to ride hard to be the first one to the checkered flag for the final five-lap dash. Lehmann took the victory, crossing the finish line a mere .057 seconds ahead of Bauman. It is particularly thrilling to see Lehmann’s success as he has only attended four out of the 12 races this season.
After the excitement of the Pro Singles, the Grand Nationals race got underway. As I had mentioned earlier, Henry Wiles won his 10th Peoria TT in the Grand National Championship but not without a fight. Jared Mees, currently the points leader in the series, rode hard, but lost ground when Wiles glided through some traffic to expand his margin.
Wiles crossed the finish line 1.81 seconds before Mees with ten fingers up to celebrate his tenth win. He then put on a great “after show” with a victory wheelie around the track, followed by another victory lap with his fiancé. Behind Mees came Jake Johnson, currently holding third place in the championship. The win moved Wiles from eighth to fifth in the Grand National Championship points standing.
If you’re hoping to catch a flat track race this year, there are still four left in the season with stops in Virginia, Illinois and California. I, personally, will be at Springfield checking out more of the action. Springfield has it’s own character and history – but that’s another story. Visit AMA for times and locations and support your local race track!