Brad Baker arrived at the Sacramento Mile full of confidence after winning his first National at Hagerstown and he was ready to do it again here in California. Practice and qualifying proved he was fast and resilient. Brad led the single file field out on a qualifying session and stood his XR up on the back wheel with unexpected traction and lost it over backwards. His team quickly had his spare fired up and ready to roll and Brad made up for the wacky wheelie with some blistering laps. The Main started off very interestingly when Mees opted for the outside of the second row, right on the racing line where traction was premium. Brad opted for the outside third row,starting in last place! From the green light Brad blazed around the entire field except for Smith whom he dogged furiously for 12 laps and the two built up a sizable gap over Mees, Sammy and Robinson. During these 12 laps the whole crowd could see every inch of the battle on the giant screen in front of the stands ( Thanks Promoter Bob Belino, you put on a SHOW ) and it was obvious to all just how fast the 42 Kawi was at the end of the straight. Lap thirteen and the Kawi's tire was hot and loosing grip. This is where Brad lost the race. He should have forced his way by the dramatically slowing Smith and gapped the whole field. Easily said as Smith is an expert at getting slow and wide on a narrow line. Brad couldn't or wouldn't go by for three laps and suddenly he had three bikes on his butt. Brad did the only thing he could do, muscle his way by Smith and get on with it. Too late, it turned into a drafting war between Brad, Mees, Sammy, Robinson and because the pace was slowed the Kawi's tire came back and Smith was in the fray and used his incredible straightaway speed to bust right though to the front, which he maintained while all hell broke loose right behind him. It ended up Smith, Mees, Robinson, Brad and Sammy. There were a few ruffled feathers post race. The way I look at it is, Smith if you think you can just slow down and block, think again. You are going to get bunted out of the way and thats dangerous for everyone. Jared complained about Brad going around the outside in a dangerous move. This is a pot calling the kettle black. Mees is known for his completely hairball and maybe over aggressive moves. It all made for an incredible race that us fans loved and it was demonstrated again that it is true, Flat Track Racing, is the greatest show on earth. Brad came away from the night disappointed he made some errors but he is looking at the big picture of leading the points and with two TTs coming up, he should be in a great position when they get back to the big tracks.
Kevin Atherton, Brad, Dave Atherton and Tony Dodge
Brad couldn't have two better guys in his corner than Kevin and his Dad, Dave.
Post race re-hash. Brad was so disappointed and disgusted with his fourth place. Here is a young man on a mission and I am one of many who wish him the best in attaining his goal of winning the NO.1 plate.