History Awaits as Progressive AFT Powers into 74th Peoria TT
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Progressive American Flat Track will make its highly anticipated return to PMC Race Park for the 74th Law Tigers Peoria TT presented by Country Saloon in Peoria, Illinois, this Saturday, August 21.
The race easily ranks as among the most prestigious and fabled on the Grand National Championship tour. It’s earned that distinction both via its long history and incredible setting inside a natural amphitheater that offers spectacular viewing for the massive crowds that annually pack the grassy hills surrounding the 5/8-mile course.
The Peoria TT is one of those special events aspiring racers dream of someday winning. And that’s a goal that’s proved elusive to an overwhelming percentage of even the world’s greatest flat trackers due to the circuit-specific excellence of a small handful of riders over the past few decades.
Between the two of them, “King” Henry Wiles and “Prince of Peoria” Chris Carr have garnered 26 of the most recent 30 premier-class Peoria TT victories. Wiles had singlehandedly shut the current generation of Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle aces out with 14 straight wins prior to missing the 2019 edition due to injury.
Reigning Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) reigned in Wiles’ absence and is likely viewed as the pre-race favorite by most heading into this weekend. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of other serious contenders to consider, however.
New York Short Track II winner Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) has racked up a pile of Peoria runner-up finishes to Wiles over the years, and the race is one of the very few he has yet to conquer.
Multi-time road racing national champion JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) was already widely considered the class’ resident TT master, and the recent rule changes designed to level the playing field between race-only and production-based motorcycles should only make Beach that much more formidable in Peoria.
The increasingly on-form Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City FTR750) pushed his older brother for the win at the 2019 Peoria TT and would love nothing more than to get the job done in the rematch.
Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) has the versatility to excel at the venue and the drive to finally get his maiden Mission SuperTwins victory after scoring three runner-up finishes already in 2021.
Who will be the next to etch their name on the legendary Peoria TT’s winners list?
Undercard or not, it’s possible this year’s AFT Singles showdown in Peoria is the most eagerly awaited race the sport has seen over the past two seasons.
The aforementioned Henry Wiles (No. 17 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) is now plying his trade on a 450cc machine full-time. And his presence arguably makes the AFT Singles Peoria TT Main Event the single most difficult race for any other rider to win regardless of class in 2021.
But if someone is capable of doing so, it might just be defending class champion Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F). The Peoria TT is Daniels’ home race, and it served as the scene of his arrival as a series winner in 2019, when he dominated the AFT Singles field as a precocious 16-year-old just five races into his Progressive AFT career.
Daniels is much further along down the path towards superstardom these days. He’s since collected ten additional victories along with a class championship but defeating Wiles straight up at Peoria would be a next-level accomplishment.
This isn’t a two-rider duel however. The field, which hosts several skilled TT riders, will expand this weekend to include some high-profile wild cards as well, including future Hall of Famer Ryan Sipes (No. 264 Red Bull/Leatt/KTM 450 SX-F) and Spanish flat track hero Ferran Cardús (No. 377 WBR Suzuki RM-Z450).
Among the riders most motivated to stand tall this weekend is Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE), who won’t want to allow Daniels to steal away any more momentum in their tight championship tussle.
AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
It’s not often that 2019 AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07) appears vulnerable of giving up points to his rivals prior to a race weekend.
Texter is unlikely to make it all that easy this weekend either, with a strong all-around base of riding skills to his credit. However, there’s no denying that the class’ third-ranked rider, Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07), boasts a more impressive TT résumé than Texter. If Bromley is hoping to make up big chunks of ground at some point this season, short of fluke or injury, this weekend is likely his best opportunity to do so.
Following his incident and subsequent injury at Weedsport Speedway, second-place championship contender Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) announced he will not be racing at this weekend’s event.
Another rider to keep an eye on is Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield Twins FT). Lewis has repeatedly shown he can put the Royal Enfield Twins FT up front on more favorable battlegrounds, and it’s possible that PMC Race Park could prove to be just that.
Spectator safety remains the top priority and Progressive AFT has worked closely with local health and government officials toward those ends. For more on the specific precautions being undertaken, please consult the Progressive AFT Events Health & Safety FAQ.
Tickets are available for purchase now at https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3444/. General Admission tickets are available for $30 if purchased in advance/$40 at the gate (children 12 and under are free with the purchase of an adult GA ticket). A limited number of VIP admission passes are also available, which includes access to the Turn 1 VIP Lounge, for $150 in advance (all ages).
The gates will open for fans at 9:00 a.m. local time with Opening Ceremonies set to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT. Live coverage of the entire weekend’s racing activities will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
The Law Tigers Peoria TT presented by Country Saloon will premiere on NBCSN on Sunday, August 29, at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT, featuring exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage.
For more information, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com.
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