The Peoria Motorcycle Club is an absolute hidden gem for any motorcycle or racing enthusiast, and on Aug. 16, it will play host to the 67th running of the historic Peoria TT. Fans are expected to pack the hillsides that surround the .6-mile, six-turn track, and many will try to get the best view possible of the famous jump on the back half of the track that sends AMA Pro Flat Track riders flying more than 140 feet.
The event is special to new fans and purists alike, as it dates back to 1947, and boasts some of the most exciting and unpredictable AMA Pro Flat Track action of the season.
Lately, however, one man has owned Peoria. Henry Wiles took the checkered flag in 2014 for the 10th straight time, and he will look to extend the consecutive win record at the iconic Midwest venue on Sunday when he takes to the track aboard the No. 17 Zanotti Racing Honda. The only rider in history with more wins at Peoria is Chris Carr, whose 13 victories resulted in the seven-time Grand National Champion being nicknamed the “Prince of Peoria.”
In support of his role as color commentator for AMA Pro Flat Track’s live streaming broadcasts on FansChoice.tv, Carr will ride at Peoria once again during a private media opportunity on Saturday morning for a special feature slated to air in Sunday’s broadcast of the event. Fans are invited to tune in to FansChoice.tv on Sunday, August 16 for live coverage of practice and qualifying at 11:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. PT), followed by the Pre-Race Show at 1:45 p.m. ET (10:45 a.m. PT). The action will continue right on up to the 25-lap GNC1 Main Event at 5:30 p.m. ET (2:30 p.m. PT).
Although Wiles still has a few wins to go before reaching Carr’s record at the track, the two are currently tied in the all-time win record for TT circuits with 15 apiece. A victory at Peoria on Sunday would give Wiles 16 career TT wins and the record for the most TT victories in the history of the Grand National Championship.
Despite Wiles’ domination at Peoria over the last decade, there are other riders in the elite Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class who are legitimate threats to win.
Defending GNC1 champion Jared Mees, mounted on the No. 1 Montgomeryville Honda, looks more poised than ever to defend his title this season as his lead in the standings has him sitting comfortably in first place, 18 points ahead of Bryan Smith. Mees started on the pole at Peoria a year ago and finished second behind Wiles.
Over the last four AMA Pro Flat Track seasons, No. 42 Crosley Radio Kawasaki pilot, Smith, has finished in an average position of eighth at Peoria, and the well-known Mile specialist will have his hands full this weekend as he attempts to catch Mees in the point standings.
Sitting third in the points and entered to compete aboard the No. 69 Fredericktown Yamaha isSammy Halbert. Halbert, who has carried National No. 7 in recent seasons, will run the No. 69 for the remainder of 2015 in honor of his late brother, Jethro Halbert.
Halbert’s consistency is what has landed him in the number three spot halfway through the season. He has yet to finish outside the top 10 in any main event so far and he’ll be extra hungry for success on Sunday, as he failed to finish the Peoria TT main event a year ago following an off-track excursion during the opening lap of the main.
Sitting fourth in the point standings is three-time Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines champion Kenny Coolbeth. Teammate to Wiles, Coolbeth will ride the No. 2 Zanotti Racing Honda at Peoria in hopes of rebounding from his 16th place finish there in 2014.
Brad Baker holds the fifth spot in the point standings heading into Peoria but contact with debris during the Black Hills Half-Mile left him with a broken leg and a 6-8 week recovery timeframe. Baker hopes to be back in action by the Calistoga Half-Mile on Sept. 26, but if he isn’t, then at the very latest he should be good to go in the Flat Track Season Finale in Las Vegas, N.V., scheduled for Nov. 20.
While Baker recovers, Jake Johnson will slot in aboard the No. 5 Factory Harley-Davidson at Half-Mile and Mile circuits, while the multi-time Grand National Champion will be fielding the No. 5 Montgomeryville Cycle Center Honda supported by defending series champ Jared Mees at Peoria.