LIMA — Mother Nature disrupted motorcycle racing on Saturday night. That meant one more day of waiting for Brad Baker before he claimed his first Lima Half-Mile win at the Allen County Fairgrounds on Sunday.
After the one-day postponement, racing finally got underway, and Baker took the checkered flag in the 25-lap main event Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines Ohio Grand National Championship.
“I was pretty nervous at the beginning, but we were working really well today,” Baker said. “I struggled a little bit off the line all day long but worked things out. The whole group behind me did a great job, and I can’t thank them enough.”
Baker took the lead on lap four and never looked back after that, despite several restarts due to other competitors crashing. Baker finished 2.658 seconds ahead of Sammy Halbert. Brian Bauman rounded out the top three.
Baker, the 2013 American Motorcycle Association National Champion, has battled through injuries to begin the 2015 season.
“Five months ago, I had my elbow replaced for the second time in a year,” Baker said. “I had a bunch of complications with my surgery, then I dislocated my shoulder on top of it. That was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve gone through. At the beginning of the season, I couldn’t even do a push-up. Now five months later, the most physical track we go to we win. (It) makes you feel like you’re on top of the world.”
Baker dominated in his qualifying race earlier in the day, winning his heat by more than nine seconds. After some contact with Bryan Smith, Baker also won the George Roeder Memorial Dash for Cash. The four-lap feature gained Baker another $2,000 paycheck.
“It was a really good race,” Baker said. “(Smith’s) chain popped off, and he ran into me. My Harley-Davidson is stronger than his Kawasaki, so I was able to overcome that. The track changed up quite a bit, but I figured some things out along the way. This really means a lot because George Roeder was a die-hard pea-gravel rider. It’s an honor to win this race.”
J.R. Addison won the GNC2 16-lap feature, beating out Davis Fisher and Ryan Wells.
“I struggled a bit in the heat race but got off to a good start in the main,” Addison said. “This was the track that I was looking forward to the most when I turned pro, so it feels good to finally win it.”