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AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship


Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada-sponsored dirt track star, Donald Taylor, of Port Colborne, Ontario, placed tenth in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship half-mile race, held at the Allen County Fair in Lima, Ohio, on June 30, 2012.


Taylor adapted quickly to the pea-gravel surface that offers a multitude of racing lines and placed the George Evans-tuned XR750 Harley-Davidson motorcycle in sixth position, after the first timed qualifying session.


In the second and final six-lap qualifier, Taylor bettered his lap time from 27.327 to 27.293, and although slight on the clock, that time was good enough to launch Canada’s champion into second place on the leaderboard and ready for the heat races.


Taylor had plenty of fast company in his heat race, including eventual GNC final winner, Sammy Halbert, but put in a determined effort to place fourth and take a direct transfer to the championship 25-lap final. “I got a terrible start,” Taylor lamented. “I tried launching in third gear and it didn’t work out. The whole second row passed me going into one. I caught up to the leaders pretty quickly and was running in second at one point, then Sammy Halbert crashed right in front of me, I just missed hitting him. On the restart, I got in the front group again and figured I better just play it smart and get it into the final.”


In the final, Taylor started from the second row in the eighteen-rider field and had a very good start charging into turn one with a group of riders all around him. “That first turn was nasty,” Taylor recalled. “I’m bruised from head to toe from the roost. I had struggled with bike set up and I couldn’t get the drive I wanted coming off the turns; the guys in front of me were just blasting me.” The loose track surface that caused the roost had other challenges for the riders. Taylor explained, “the ruts got really bad. I came really close to crashing twice in a row coming off turn four, then Brandon Robinson crashed behind me with just three laps to go and they called for a restart and a five lap dash to decide it.”


With just five laps left in his day, Taylor decided that this would be a great opportunity to make up positions, but in spite of another good start and some great corner entrance speed, he was unable to get the drive he wanted. “Like I said, I was losing drive off the corners. I just needed some better set up help and I’m sure we would have done better. The bike was awesome, no complaints there, I had as good a motor as anyone out there. Top ten for my first ride on the XR750 [motorcycle] down here isn’t too bad.”



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