Progressive AFT Title Fighters Head Home to Port Royal Half-Mile
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 12, 2022) – The 2022 Progressive American Flat Track season reaches its midpoint with this weekend’s Mission Port Royal Half-Mile presented by Appalachian Harley-Davidson at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday, July 16.
Besides its centralized location on the schedule chronologically, its physical location in Port Royal, Pennsylvania, adds some extra significance as well. Pennsylvania is arguably America’s most fertile hotbed of motorcycle dirt track talent with an outsized number of the Progressive AFT’s competitors either native or resident Pennsylvanians.
The most high-profile of them all – reigning Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) and two-time class king Briar Bauman (No. 3 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) – lead the series into this weekend’s showdown.
The more things change, the more they stay the same; while it took a bit of a circuitous route to get to this point, the two factory Indian aces find themselves right back where they’ve been for the bulk of the previous three seasons – 1-2 in the points with over half the season’s eight wins shared between them.
The aforementioned change, however, remains a factor in the form of a significant shift in the balance of power. Mees and Bauman are no longer locked in confrontation with only one another but also under fire from a formidable pair of teammates.
Estenson Racing Yamaha’s Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) have been battling up front nearly every weekend. As a result, they’re currently a close 3-4 in the standings, with Daniels actually level with Bauman in points and ranked third only due to the tiebreaker.
And the Mission Roof Systems’ duo of Pennsylvanian Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) and Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) have come on strong as of late, scoring a combined 1-2-3 over the last three rounds.
The gifted premier-class field offers even more potential race winners as well. Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) and Davis Fisher (No. 67 Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750) each boast a runner-up finish in the first half of the ‘22 campaign, while Brandon Price (No. 92 Cory Texter Racing/JCS Racing Yamaha MT-07) finished as a close runner-up at Port Royal Speedway a year ago.
Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
This year’s Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines title fight has taken shape as a two-man show with a rotating cast of guest stars.
Defending class champ (and native Pennsylvanian) Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) and title challenger Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) have distanced themselves from the pack in terms of the points race via a combined five wins and 13 podiums.
However, the pack has shown the capacity to present a serious additional challenger for race wins on just about any given weekend with Nick Armstrong (No. 60 Competitive Racing Frames/Lessley Brothers Yamaha MT-07), Billy Ross (No. 109 Mission Foods/Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R), and James Rispoli (No. 43 Wally Brown Racing/Haversack KTM 890 Duke) having all stood on the top step of the podium this year.
Pennsylvanian Cameron Smith (No. 34 Thee Cathy Gray/Al Barker Royal Enfield 650) very nearly added his name to the list last time out while riding in place of another “Keystone State” pilot in Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650). Smith will have another shot aboard the Royal Enfield Twins FT this weekend with the home crowd cheering him on as Lewis continues to heal from his injuries.
Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER
It’s a different story in Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER action as Kody Kopp (No. 12 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) has established himself the rider to beat – and a difficult one at that.
While the class championship outlook currently lacks the drama of the other two classes, Kopp’s excellence has been enthralling in its own right. The 17-year-old has been close to perfect in each of the last three rounds, controlling the proceedings pretty much all day long, capped off by a runaway race win.
Kopp has already earned five wins en route to building an imposing 42-point championship advantage (66 points over third place). Only twice in class’ history has a rider taken more race wins than that in a single season (Dallas Daniels with eight in 2019 and Michael Avila with six in 2011), and the young KTM ace still has over half the season ahead of him to further pad his stats.
Despite the one-sided nature of the title fight, there’s an incredible collection of talent who could step forward and go on a run of their own at any point. Kopp’s teammate, Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE), scored five wins himself a year ago and didn’t look too far removed from his familiar form in his return from injury in New York.
And all three of the American Honda-backed Turner Racing pilots – Morgen Mischler (No. 13 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R), Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R), and Chase Saathoff (No. 106 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R), have the requisite speed, talent, and determination to claim the top step of the podium this weekend.
The weekend also marks the midpoint of the season for Royal Enfield’s extremely popular BUILD. TRAIN. RACE. program which serves to highlight and celebrate women and motorcycle culture in North America. Jaycee Jones (No. 33 Royal Enfield/S&S Cycle Royal Enfield INT650) leads the standings with two wins and a runner-up in the season’s opening three races and heads into Port Royal Speedway as last year’s winner at the venue.
There will be plenty to keep fans entertained off the track as well, including numerous vendors, a variety of food and beverage options, and a bouncy house in the Kids Zone. Road Case will perform its hard-hitting, guitar-driven brand of rock and roll. Finally, the evening will be topped off with a spectacular fireworks display.
Visit https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3694/ to reserve your tickets today. General Admission (both SRO Infield and Grandstand) tickets start at just $25 with kids 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult when purchased in advance. Other options include Reserved Grandstand tickets and Camping Passes.
Paddock Access Upgrades are also available for purchase, which provide all-day access to the paddock where fans can scope out the world’s fastest dirt track motorcycles and get up close and personal with the stars of the sport.
Gates will open for fans at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT with Opening Ceremonies scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT ahead of the day’s Main Event program. You can catch the livestream of all the weekend’s racing activities on FansChoice.tv. FansChoice.tv provides free-to-view livestreaming of Practice and Qualifying. FansChoice.tv subscribers will then be able to watch the drama unfold from Opening Ceremonies through the Semis, Main Events, and podium celebrations. FansChoice.tv offers two subscription options, granting unlimited access to premium AFT content. Monthly subscriptions start at just $7.99, while a six-month subscription is available for $44.99.
The Mission Port Royal Half-Mile presented by Appalachian Harley-Davidson will premiere on FS1 on Saturday, July 23, at 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT, including exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage, and expert commentary.
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com. To score the latest gear for the Progressive American Flat Track fan, visit our official merchandise store at https://store.americanflattrack.com.
How to Watch:
FOX Sports and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of Progressive American Flat Track. For the 2022 season, all races will premiere in one-hour telecasts on FS1 during highly desirable weekend time slots. The complete schedule can be viewed at https://www.americanflattrack.com/events-foxsports. FansChoice.tv provides livestreaming coverage of every Progressive AFT round at http://www.FansChoice.tv.