Even in a loss, Bryan Smith stood on top of the podium cradling his first ever Grand National Trophy.
“If a racer ever said that he’s gave it everything on the last lap or last corner, I’d call him a liar because that was everything that I had inside me,” said Smith in his podium interview. “The grips were falling out of my hands, my feet were falling off of the pegs and I could not hold on, so thank God that it worked out.”
Smith and Jared Mees, the reigning national champion, were locked into a tight battle for the championship leading into the final race of the season. By beating Mees in the final race, Smith was able to walk away with the overall and his first career Grand National Title.
“It’s something you can’t explain,” said Smith in a press release. “To win it and come down that close, I would have liked for Jared (Mees) not to catch me. My heart rate went to about 360 that last lap. I had also all of my friends and family out here and all of my friends who are like family, including my whole team. It means so much to have them all here supporting me.”
Winning the Santa Rosa Mile race however was Brad Baker, who won in dominant fashion.
“I can’t even describe the way it feels,” said Baker in a press release. “It’s been a roller coaster of a year. And it seems like every time, I’d have an eight ball. If anything that could happen badly, it did. You just got to grin hard and not let those things bother you. Same thing with the team… You just have to move forward and that’s what they did.”