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Sacramento Mile rewards attendees with a couple milestones

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A female winner, a Kawasaki on top of the podium, and Barry Weiss from the pop culture television hit, “Storage Wars,” completed a night of surprises at the 47th running of the Sacramento Mile on Saturday night at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds.

A packed house saw some exciting races – especially in the two main events – as both the 12-lap AMA Pro Singles main event and the 25-lap AMA Pro Grand National Championship Twins main event both came down to a drag race on the front stretch.

In the Pro Singles races, Honda would be the dominate manufacture as Dominic Colindres and Shayna Texter won the heat races and Cole Crowley won the last chance qualifier.

In the Pro Singles main event, Texter, a 21-year- old, 95-pound female, dominated most of the 12-lap event until lap seven when
Stephen Vanderkuur passed her for a temporary lead.

Texter didn’t panic and raced her way back to the lead group and narrowly passed three other riders at the last second for a .037
second win over Vanderkuur.

It was only the second time a female has won an AMA flat track race ever! Texter was also the first, as she won her first race last year
in Knoxville. She took third at last year’s main event in Sacramento.

Texter is no stranger to racing. Her father, Randy Texter, spent many years on the flat track circuit and her brother Cory spent some time
racing also.

You could say she’s always been one of the boys.

“It’s what I grew up doing,” Texter said. “They treat me just like one of them at the track and I wouldn’t want it any differently.”

“The race was an awesome race. My first one was a dream come true but this one was a fairy tale for sure,” Texter continued.

Her father passed away from heart failure back in 2010 and never got to see his baby girl win a race on the main circuit. Texter feels his
presence at the track when she rides and always reflects on him before each race.

“Down at Knoxville when I won, I knew he was there,” said Texter. “Today was a little different, but every time I go on the track, I
make sure I salute him and let him know that I’m thinking about him. I felt it today and am pretty sure he was with me the whole time.”

On to the Pro Grand National Championship Twins, where the big bikes reach speeds over 140 miles per hour. Kawasaki riders won two of the three heat races as Brandon Robinson and Bryan Smith won heats two and three respectively. In heat one, last year’s series winner, Jake Johnson, won on a Harley-Davidson.

In speaking with Johnson just moments before the start of his main, he told me what it would take for him to win on this special night.

“A good start and 25 good laps, that’s about it,” Johnson said.

In the 25-lap main event it was Smith, Johnson, Robinson and Sammy Halbert Jr. that took off to form the lead pack early in the race.

After a short bit, Jared Mees caught up and joined the group as they blistered their collective way around the legendary mile track.

For most of the race, Johnson and Smith traded first and second back and forth more than a kid swaps baseballs cards. Almost every time, as Johnson would pass the line in first, Smith would overtake him going into the first corner and retake the lead. In the end, the Kawasaki of Smith had too much straightaway horsepower for the Harleys of Johnson and Mees. Smith’s non-traditional black Kawi ruled the day as he beat Johnson by .0328 seconds with Mees coming in a close third.

Rounding out the top five were Robinson and Halbert.

After the race, Jake Johnson couldn’t believe how fast the Kawasaki of Bryan Smith was.

“That bike of Bryan’s, that thing is just fast,” Johnson said after climbing off the podium. “It’s got quite a bit more power than the Harleys do. I was able to get by him a few times going into turn three, but he would be able to blow back by me going down the front straightaway. I knew my only shot was to just try and stay in second. Me and Jared (Mees) went back and forth a few times but I was able to back in second late in the race.”

The second place finish put Johnson in second place in points, only 11 behind Mees.

For Bryan Smith, it was his second win in a row at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds.

He was pumped after the race knowing that he broke his own record of winning on a Kawasaki. In a sport that has been dominated by
Harley-Davidsons since nearly the beginning, it’s a big deal.

“I’m the only guy in history so far to win a Grand National race on a Kawasaki,” said a stoked Smith. “I’ve done it before and this kind of
redeems myself and proves I can do it again.”

In this form of racing, you never want to be the leader at the start of the final lap. The best riders will wait and slingshot themselves past the leader and more on the final straightaway of the race.

On Saturday, the issue never came up as the dominant horsepower of Smith’s Kawasaki led most of the way and was out far enough to make the slingshot move almost impossible.

“It was really hard for them… to draft me so I just played my cards right through the corner and I could hold them off at the start/finish line. It’s fast, but it’s a handful in the corners.”

One must wonder, after being off the schedule for 12 years and just being added back last year, does the Sacramento Mile still hold any
prestige among the riders?

“This is a legendary place,” said Smith. “Growing up, I watched my heroes race here in Scott Parker and Chris Carr. I grew up in the same
town as Parker did. I learned a lot of these mile tricks from Parker and can’t wait to send him a text message here in a few and say we did
it.”
 

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