Cycle News

Cycle News 2013 Issue 42 October 22

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 112 of 121

CN III ARCHIVES P114 BY LARRY LAWRENCE THE NEW GUARD C hange in flat track racing runs along at the pace of cold molasses compared to road racing and motocross. That's why 2013 was such a pivotal season in the historic AMA Grand National Championship. First and foremost was the crowning of 20-yearold Brad Baker as the new champion. Baker heads up a group of rising young stars in flat track that includes riders like Briar Bauman, Jeffrey Carver, Matt Weidman, Brandon Robinson, Stevie Bonsey, JD Beach, Jake Shoemaker, Johnny Lewis, Mikey Martin and Shayna Texter, all under 25, and all of whom are already pushing the established stars of flat track racing. Then there was the perfecting of the Kawasaki EX650 by the Crosley Radio/Howerton Motorsports team. The Kawasaki-based flat track machine, pioneered ironically by former Harley-Davidson factory mechanic Bill Werner, has been around for a few years now and always had the power to be a potential winner on the miles, but with Bryan Smith at the controls and the technical expertise of Ricky Howerton and his crew, the Kawasaki is now capable of winning on half-miles as well. There is now a true challenger to Harley-Davidson's longtime dominance, and while a Harley-Davidson XR750 rider just won the AMA Grand National Championship for the 20th straight time, that Milwaukee reign is facing its most serious challenge since the days of Honda's factory effort nearly 30 years ago. Brad Baker – 20 years old and the Grand National Champion. Only Brad Andres and Jay Springsteen were younger than Brad Baker when they won the AMA Grand National Championship. The Latus Motors Racing Triumph also showed great promise with the talented Johnny Lewis at the controls and there is renewed hope for the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati with the development experience being brought to the table by veteran and former champ Jake Johnson. Even Briar Bauman turned heads with the almost forgotten Suzuki at Pomona. So in addition to a bumper crop of rising young stars in flat track racing, the immediate future holds the potential of real multi-brand racing, long a desired goal of the flat track racing community. The only surprise about Baker's emergence is the fact that he came from way up in the top

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