Barbara Fritchie Classic

Sammy Halbert (69), shown racing Jeffrey Carver in the 2017 Barbara Fritchie Classic Expert Twins main event, won’t be at this year’s race to defend his title.

The Barbara Fritchie Classic hasn’t had a repeat winner in its main event since 2011, and that trend will continue.

Last year’s main-event winner, Sammy Halbert, won’t be competing in the 97th running of the Barbara Fritchie Classic on Wednesday at Frederick Fairgrounds.

Halbert, who has won four Barbara Fritchie Classic main events and was its last repeat winner in 2011, is now a Harley-Davidson factory rider in the American Flat Track series.

Halbert was still allowed to compete in the Fritchie Classic, which is part of the Steve Nace American All-Star National Flat Track Series, but he wasn’t able to find a bike. The Harley-Davidson rider can’t race on a motorcycle made by another manufacturer, such as the 1,000cc KTM from Baer Racing Products he used to win last year’s main event in Frederick.

“They said if he could borrow a Harley, he could ride it in Frederick,” said Richard Riley, who has helped put on the Fritchie Classic for years. “The problem is, there’s not a whole lot of people loaning Harleys.”

With Halbert out of the picture, Chad Cose emerges as a favorite at this year’s race. Cose placed third behind Halbert and Jeffrey Carver in last year’s main event.

Cose, who hails from California, is in eighth place in the American Flat Track Twins points standings. His best AFT Twins finish this year came in Texas, where he placed third, and he placed 11th in the Indian Motorcycle Lima Half-Mile in Lima, Ohio, on Saturday.

Cose got a checkered flag at last year’s Fritchie Classic, winning the Super Singles on his Honda by beating Carver.

It’s unclear if Carver will return for this year’s Fritchie Classic. In past years, several riders showed up after determining their bikes and bodies were in good enough shape for the event.

Another pre-entry is Cory Texter, who is in 11th place in the AFT Singles standings. Riley said Texter is riding in Twins, Singles and Super Singles races.

Ryan Varnes, whose father, Kevin, won the 1999 Fritchie Classic main event, will also compete. Ryan placed 16th in the AFT Twins race in Lima, Ohio.

Over the years, the Barbara Fritchie Classic has included plenty of up-and-coming riders, and one to watch at this year’s race is Dallas Daniels.

“He’s out of Illinois,” Riley said of Daniels. “He’s going to be one of the fast boys from Illinois, the FBI.”

Daniels won the 2018 Nickey Hayden AMA Flat Track Horizon Award, which honors the amateur who is poised for success at the professional level. Jared Mees, a three-time Fritchie Classic champ is in first place in the AFT Twins standings, is a previous winner of that award.

“So you see these guys work up through the ranks and become the best of the best. Part of the cream that rises to the top,” Riley said.

Trent Lowe and Jared Lowe, who both come from Indiana, are also pre-entered.

Gates open Wednesday at 10 a.m., and races are slated to end around 4 p.m. Classes include Expert Twins/Pros, Super Singles, Pro Singles, Open Vintage (Pre ’80), 250 Amateur, 450 Amateur, Open Singles Amateur 450 and Senior 40 Plus. The purse is around $10,000.

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