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Sep 4, 2018

American Flat Track: More From The Springfield Mile II

Jake Johnson (5). Photo by Andrea Wilson, courtesy of Estenson Racing.

A Much Better Springfield II For Jake Johnson

Rough conditions on the Springfield Mile get the better of Johnson’s fellow Estenson Racing riders – Kolby Carlile and Ronnie Jones

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – AFT Twins riders were met with atypical track conditions at the 100th running of the Springfield Mile this Labor Day weekend. Leading the way for the Estenson Racing squad was Jake Johnson, while veteran Ronnie Jones and rookie Kolby Carlile both struggled.

Going into the race, Johnson said he preferred a rougher track than the characteristically smooth Springfield surface. Well, be careful what you wish for. Although Johnson didn’t struggle as much as others, he was not able to take advantage of it, either. He got a bad start in the Main, but was able to charge his way up to sixth. While a sixth-place finish was not what he was hoping for, the team’s AFT Twins regular left Springfield Mile II smiling with a much better result than earlier this spring. The two-time Grand National Champion and his crew also made more progress with the Indian Scout FTR750 and Johnson looks to build on that progress with strong results on the big tracks these last three races of the season.

As for the reigning AFT Singles Champion Carlile, the handling issues with his Twin made for a steep learning curve. It was also day two on a physical racetrack, and Carlile just couldn’t find the comfort zone to push the envelope and run with the front-runners. Although disappointed that he didn’t meet his goal of making the Main, he learned something from it and is eager to get more time on the Twin and continue his education.

It wasn’t just the rookie who struggled Sunday at Springfield. Veteran Ronnie Jones had the same handling issues, albeit intermittently. Unfortunately for Jones, those issues reared its ugly head in the Main. As experience teaches that discretion is the better part of valor, Jones pulled off towards the end of the race rather than ride around in circles and risk crashing. At the end of the day, the 57-year-old was happy with his fifth and final race of the season, making his third Main event in 2018.

Jake Johnson – AFT Twins #5:

“I kind of got a bad jump off the line but I’m pretty sure the first two laps I never shut the throttle off. I just went to the top and just tried to mow around as many guys as I could. For a little while it was just kind of me and [Jake] Shoemaker going back and forth. I was able to clear him. Then for the whole second half of the race I was pretty much just by myself. So, I just kind of rolled around by myself basically in that second half of the race and came home sixth.

“I would have liked to have been in that top-four pack, going for it. But we made progress all day. We went from watching the Main event in the spring, to finishing sixth, so It’s not bad. I still feel like we should be better. We are better. But we’re still learning and figuring things out with this bike. We’re climbing our way up the ladder in the points, not that it really means anything but we’re at least steadily in the first practice session every week, which is good. Obviously, I’d like to finish these last three rounds off with some wins or podiums or whatever, but if we can stay in the top five these last three rounds, I think that will be good.”

Kolby Carlile – AFT Twins #36:

“Yeah. The track was pretty rough today. I had quite a few handling issues with the bike. The bike was shaking a lot and it was really tough for me to ride it super-hard. I definitely learned a lot about the pace and running up with those front guys, but with the bike, I didn’t feel safe enough to push it and go for it to run with those guys. Sadly, it wasn’t the result we wanted, but I think I learned something about the pace and the aggressiveness. Hopefully for the next time we can get the bike dialed in and I can learn quite a bit more and we’ll be better off.”

Ronnie Jones – AFT Twins #266:

“The track wasn’t the typical Springfield Mile – the beautiful, perfect racetrack that it normally is – but it was the same for everybody. We kind of had issues all day with just suspension, settings, and I had the steering head shake, the same issue other guys were having. Mine was kind of intermittent during the day until the Main event. When I went out in the main event, every straightaway the thing was just shaking so bad I couldn’t reach up to remove a tear-off.

“You usually relax on the straightaway so you can kind of wrestle it in the corners, but I wasn’t getting any rest on the straightaways and wrestling it in the corners and it finally just wore me out. Once I got to where I realized I wasn’t able to really race anybody, I just said, no point in being out there so I pulled off. But all in all, I’m just so thankful to Tim Estenson for giving me the opportunity to come out here and do this. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Catch the Springfield ST and Springfield Mile II on NBCSN, September 22 at 2:30 p.m. ET.



More, from another press release issued by Estenson Racing:

Top-10 Finish For Kolby Carlile At Springfield ST

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Small Short Tracks aren’t really Kolby Carlile’s cup of tea. Even so, the defending AFT Singles Champion went into the 15th round of the American Flat Track season with a positive mindset, looking for top results on his Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F.

But anything goes on a Short Track, but unfortunately, it did not go Carlile’s way Saturday evening. A fifth-place finish in his Heat gave him a less-than-ideal starting position in his Semi, which carried through the Main. The “Flying Tomato” put his head down and worked his way back from 11th to ultimately finish ninth on a difficult track to pass.

At the end of the day, Carlile was happy to leave healthy and looks forward to the final stretch of the season on bigger tracks.

Kolby Carlile – AFT Singles #1:

“I’m not a huge fan of the Springfield Short Track. Looking at the schedule at the beginning of the year, it’s probably my least-favorite track to come to, honestly. I went in with a good mindset though, and I did a lot of practice this week so I could do better at it. I think I honestly performed well. It’s a short track so you never know what’s going to happen. I put myself in a bad spot in my Heat race, and that kind of put me behind all day. Then I was on the second row for the Main event.

“It took me a while, but I made quite a few passes. I was able to get up to eighth at one point, and then I kind of got knocked around at the end. So, I’m happy. There were a lot of riders who crashed and I was able to make it through clean all day. I’m looking forward to returning to the bigger tracks for the rest of the season.”

Catch the Springfield ST on NBCSN, September 22 at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Stay up to date with Estenson Racing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



More, from a press release issued by ST52 Racing:

Texter Takes Tenth in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Racing at a track where she missed out on making the main event a year ago, ST52 Racing rider Shayna Texter returned to the Illinois State Fairgrounds Saturday evening and scored a solid 10th-place finish in the Springfield Short Track.

The result gives her plenty of momentum for her No. 52 Roof Systems/Parts Unlimited Husqvarna FC450, with the remaining three races on the 2018 American Flat Track Singles schedule likely to play to the strong suits of the Willow Street, Pa. rider.

She will be in action at her home track next weekend, Saturday’s Harley-Davidson Williams Grove Half-Mile in Mechaniscburg, Pa. Texter won both of her 2018 features on half-mile tracks. The season concludes with a pair of mile races, in Minneapolis and the New Jersey Meadowlands.

Saturday’s program got off to a tough start, with Texter 27th and 28th in the opening two rounds of qualifying. For the final session, she was 16th in the 45-rider field, putting her on the front row for her heat race. Starting on the outside of the front row, she took second on the first lap and went on to finish third.

For the semi, Texter started fourth but quickly moved to second. A first-lap spill resulted in a red flag and complete restart, with Texter again getting a good jump en route to a second-place finish.

Texter started the main event third on the front row. She got off sixth, and battled back and forth in a pack the entire race, eventually finishing 10th.

Texter is now tied for third in the AFT Singles standings, winning Half-Mile races at the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio, and Black Hills among six podium finishes.

Follow Shayna and all of the AFT on-track activity at www.fanschoice.tv.




More, from a press release issued by Dunlop:

Jared Mees Wins Fifth American Flat Track Championship

Buffalo, NY: Indian factory rider Jared Mees has carved his name in the annals of Flat Track legends by winning the 2018 American Flat Track (AFT) Championship, his fifth title in the Grand National class, with three rounds still to come.

His performance during the 2018 season was an astonishing show of dominance—he won ten times, finished second three times, and never finished lower than fourth. This season extended his win record to 40 Grand National victories, fourth on the all-time win list.

Mees locked up the title at the 100th running of the Springfield Mile, finishing second by a scant 0.013 seconds to his teammate Brian Smith, and elevating his point lead to an untouchable 325 points.

As the official tire of the AFT series, Dunlop is proud to supply the field with American made DT3 flat-track tires, and we extend a well-deserved congratulations to Mees on an amazing season and fifth AFT championship.

About Dunlop Motorcycle Tires

Dunlop is the largest supplier of original equipment and replacement motorcycle tires in the U.S.A. For more information, visit www.dunlopmotorcycletires.com.