Mees Stuns in Springfield Mile II Thriller
Note: James Rispoli narrowly missed claiming his first career AFT Production Twins victory on Monday at Springfield, inheriting the lead and a gap with just three laps to go. However, he was ultimately drawn back to the pack and overhauled on the final lap. Rispoli did manage to hold on for second — a personal best in the class and his third podium this season. PJ Jacobsen was the highest placed road racer in the AFT Twins Main, finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th. JD Beach qualified for, but did not start, the Main. Meanwhile, Danny Eslick came up one position short of advancing to the Main in his semi. Nick McFadden failed to set any times during AFT Production Twins qualifying, encountering apparent bike issues.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Monday’s Springfield Mile II at the Illinois State Fairgrounds proved worth the wait, delivering what may be considered the most jaw-dropping AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event of the 2019 American Flat Track season.
Following an epic 25 miles that saw ten riders in contention for the victory even as they dove into the race’s final corner, multi-time defending AFT Twins Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) worked his magic yet again to win out in the last-lap dash to the checkered flag.
Making the achievement all the more impressive, Mees did so after starting in last position from Row 4.
The champ turned in his one provisional start card of the season to advance to the Main after encountering bike issues in his Semi. However, he managed to slipstream his way forward over the race’s opening third, joining the mammoth front group by lap 10. He was dueling for the lead a lap later — a duel that wouldn’t end until the final stripe.
In the end, Mees outlasted title rival Briar Bauman (No. 14 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) by a scant 0.083 seconds.
The triumph was the 14th Mile win of Mees’ illustrious career, tying him with the legendary Jay Springsteen for sixth all-time on the big tracks. It also brought him within a single race of Bauman in the evolving 2019 AFT Twins championship race, as he’s now just 25 points back (280-255) heading into the season’s final three races.
Mees said, “It was good to come off the back row and put my name on the list with the guys who have done that. It’s more emotional doing it this way on the back-up bike and working my way up. The Indian Motorcycle ran so phenomenal for me. My whole crew worked so hard; when that bike broke we were switching wheels, and shocks, and offsets to try to duplicate what we were running on the main bike. We got it done, and it feels amazing.”
Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) came through in third to lock out the podium for the Indian Wrecking Crew for the first time in 2019.
While the day ultimately belonged to Mees and Indian, a huge number of riders played starring roles with the entire top ten finishing within 0.653 seconds of the win.
Rookie Brandon Price (No. 192 Roof Systems of Dallas TX/DPC Racing Indian FTR750) made a late-bid for the victory, and was one of five riders who slid into Turn 3 on lap 25, side-by-side, vying for the lead. He ended up an impressive fourth, fractionally ahead of Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Kennedy Racing/Armbruster Racing Indian FTR750).
Factory Harley-Davidson teammates Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R Rev X) and Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R Rev X) factored heavily all day, with Vanderkooi winning a heat and Halbert starting from pole after winning his semi.
Halbert led in the late stages of the race, but was shuffled down to sixth at the flag. Vanderkooi ended up eighth with Henry Wiles (No. 17 Bandit Industries/DPC Racing/Wilco Racing Indian FTR750) sandwiched between the Harley runners.
Davis Fisher (No. 67 Bob Lanphere Beaverton Motorcycles/Dick Wall 60 Indian FTR750) and Saturday’s runner-up Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Roof Systems of Dallas/Indian of Metro Milwaukee FTR750) rounded out the top ten.
AFT Production Twins
Kolby Carlile (No. 136 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07) materialized from the pack late to claim his first-career AFT Production Twins Main Event victory in dramatic fashion.
All eyes had been on Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 Black Hills Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X), who was chasing a unique dual-class triple win on the weekend.
Like Mees in the premier class, Gauthier had to start on the back row, being forced to use a provisional start when his bike expired in his Semi. However, his form and momentum still made him feel all but unstoppable, as he powered from dead last to first place by the time the pack dove into Turn 1 for the second time.
He didn’t slow from there, opening up a 1.5-second advantage by the time the race was red flagged while working lap 10 of 15. On the restart, Gauthier went right back to work, steadily building another advantage on the pack.
The only difference this time around was that teammate James Rispoli (No. 71 Black Hills Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X) managed to hang onto the slipstream and use it to escape along with Gauthier.
With a 1-2 Black Hills Harley-Davidson seeming nearly assured, Gauthier raised his hand in disappointment with 3 laps to go, signaling another mechanical issue that spoiled his bid for the triple Springfield victory.
Without the benefit of Gauthier’s draft, Rispoli found himself reeled back to the pack. Carlile caught him just in time to thunder by as they drove down the back straight for the final time.
Carlile tucked his head down and outpaced any potential counter moves, beating Rispoli to the line by 0.111 seconds.
Race-winner Carlile said, “I was confident the whole race; there was just so much traffic and I got sucked into it a little bit. I was letting those guys shake it out, but I knew I had the bike to win this thing. Dalton and James took off after the restart and I fell back again, but I knew my bike was strong enough to catch them. And that’s what we did.
“I just can’t thank my Estenson Racing crew enough… I broke my leg early in the year and I lost a round. I’m at a huge points deficit, but we’re trying to make it back. I’m finally feeling like myself again.”
Cody Johncox (No. 196 Sunnyside Cycle/Luczak Racin’ Yamaha MT-07) was next in line in a pack of riders that saw five men take the checkered flag within 0.554 seconds of the win. He finished 0.082 seconds back of Rispoli to complete the podium.
Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Holeshot Powersports Yamaha MT-07) did well to limit the damage done by Carlile’s victory by finishing a strong fourth. Still, Texter’s advantage has now been reduced to 23 points (148-125) over Carlile with three races remaining.
Catch the feature broadcast of the Springfield weekend on NBCSN with flag-to-flag coverage of the Main Events, enhanced by exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage. The broadcast will debut on Sunday, September 8 at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 p.m. PT and will re-air on Thursday, September 19, at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT.
The quest for all three American Flat Track championships resumes in less than a week’s time with the Williams Grove Half-Mile presented by Appalachian Harley-Davidson in Mechanicsburg, Pa., on Saturday, September 7. FansChoice.tv will live stream the entire day’s activities once the gates open at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT. Tickets are on sale now at tickets.americanflattrack.com.
For more information on American Flat Track visit www.americanflattrack.com.
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How to Watch:
NBCSN and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of American Flat Track. For the 2019 season, NBCSN’s coverage of AFT maintains its highly-coveted, weekend afternoon programming slots within two weeks of each event. The complete schedule for AFT on NBCSN can be viewed at http://www.americanflattrack.com/events-nbcsn/. FansChoice.tv remains a cornerstone of AFT’s digital strategy, providing live streaming coverage of every event on AFT’s live page while previous events and exclusive features are available on AFT’s VOD page.
About American Flat Track:
American Flat Track is the world’s premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on American Flat Track, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check us out on Instagram, live stream the events at FansChoice.tv and catch all the American Flat Track racing action on NBCSN.com. ET/9:00 a.m. PT and will re-air later that week on Thursday, May 23, at 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT.
More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:
BROMLEY PODIUMS AT SPRINGFIELD SHORT TRACK
Round 15 – American Flat Track Championship
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Dan Bromley continued his 2019 championship bid over the weekend with another solid performance at the Springfield Short Track in Springfield, Illinois. With a runner-up finish on Friday, Bromley leaves Round 15 of the 2019 American Flat Track Championship with only a five-point deficit in the AFT Singles Championship as the series heads into its final three rounds.
The reigning AFT Singles Champion came into the weekend tied in points and it was once again a battle to the checkers. Bromley kicked things off in a big way with AFT Singles Heat 3, where he secured the win after leading four of the five laps. In the semi, Bromley got off to a third-place start and he battled his way to a third-place finish, setting himself up for a front-row start in the Main Event. He started from the far outside in the Main Event and powered his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION to a second-place start. He held onto second for the first five laps before dropping back to third in the middle of the race. With five laps to go, he pushed his way back up to second and charged after the leader to finish only 0.8 seconds back for second-place.
Dan Bromley: “Springfield Short Track was identical to how it is every year – short, fast and aggressive. We were able to start the day off well and continue up front finishing P1 in the heat and P3 in semi. In the Main Event, my vision was bad with all the roost but I did everything I could to make up ground on Dalton [Gauthier]. Overall, I am happy to be back on the podium but I am hungry for a win in the last three races.”
Meanwhile, Bromley’s teammate, Shayna Texter, lined up in the second row for AFT Singles Heat 1. She started just outside the top-10 and was only able to make her way up to 10th in the heat. In the semi, Texter started from the third row and managed to make her way up to 14th early on. She pushed hard to climb up to 11th on the final lap, where she ultimately claimed a transfer position into the Main Event. With a fourth-row start in the main, Texter wasn’t able to get the start position she was looking for and she raced her way to a 17th-place finish.
Shayna Texter: “It was a little bit of a challenging day but we were able to learn and gain some good knowledge. Now it’s onto the next one in Pennsylvania – it’s my home race and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m excited to finish out this year strong with these next two races.”
Next Race: September 7, 2019 – Williams Grove Half-Mile – Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
AFT Singles Main Event
1. Dalton Gauthier, HQV
2. Dan Bromley, KTM
3. Dallas Daniels, YAM
16. Jeremy Orr, KTM
17. Shayna Texter, KTM
AFT Singles Point Standings
1. Dalton Gauthier, 241 points
2. Dan Bromley, 236
3. Mikey Rush, 216
6. Shayna Texter, 155
8. Morgen Mischler, 125
11. Tristan Avery, 87
More, from a press release issued by Estenson Racing:
Kolby Carlile Scores Spectacular First Production Twins Win in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (September 3, 2019) – Estenson Racing’s Kolby Carlile made great gains in the AFT Production Twins Championship at the American Flat Track Springfield Mile doubleheader, crossing the line second in Saturday’s race and grabbing his first-career win in the Twin’s class on Monday. On the AFT Twins side of the tent, it was a tough weekend for Jake Johnson and JD Beach at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
On Saturday, Carlile got off to a good start finishing third in his Heat and second in the Semi. He then went on to lead the first lap of the Main Event, but got shuffled back to fifth. Not one to throw in the towel, the 2017 AFT Singles Champion put his head down and made a charge to the front in the final laps to take a second-place finish.
Weather pushed the Springfield Mile II to an abbreviated program on Monday, but in spite of the delay and the shortened schedule, Carlile kept his momentum rolling. He won his Heat race and took another solid second-place finish in the Semi. At first, Monday’s Main Event looked to be a repeat. He got off to a great start to lead the first lap, but was shuffled back in the order. Carlile kept his cool and waited patiently for the final laps. The race was red-flagged and on the restart he was in the mix, battling for third. After the leader dropped out with a technical issue, the “Flying Tomato” had his eyes on the top spot from second and made his move on the last lap to take his first win in the Production Twins class. The win was a big boost after a roller coaster ride of a season for Carlile, being sidelined with a leg injury earlier this season after a crash in the Main Event at the Super TT. His pair of podiums also moved him into second place in the standings and breathed new life into the title chase as he sits 23 points adrift of the leader.
In the AFT Twins class, Beach had a decent showing in Saturday’s Springfield Mile I, improving on his seventh-place Heat finish to sixth in the Semi. The dirt track/road racer then went on to work his way up from 15th in the Main Event to 13th. As for his teammate Johnson, his day did not get off to a great start. Technical issues in both qualifying sessions had the veteran at a disadvantage going into the race. Although he and his crew worked hard to overcome the challenges, Johnson was unable to advance to the Main Event.
With a day off due to the weather delay, the team was hard at work in making improvements for Monday’s Springfield Mile II. Unfortunately, Sunday’s rain made for a different Springfield Mile track than the norm. Johnson scored a pair of top 10 finishes in the qualifying races, missing the Main Event by one position. Beach also finished ninth in his Heat and improved to eighth in the Semi to advance to the Main, but a technical issue sidelined him for the rest of the day.
The team now looks ahead to the Williams Grove Half-Mile in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, September 7.
Kolby Carlile – AFT Produciton Twins #136:
“It finally happened! It took all year to finally get the win, but we got it and it feels great. I’m finally feeling myself again. My knee is pretty strong. My fitness is back where it needs to be. The knee injury crushed everything I had going at the beginning of the season. I was on the couch for a long time, and I wasn’t able to ride at all. We’re also developing a new bike, so it’s been tough but my crew has been working hard all year. We all knew it was a matter of time before we would be able to get a win, and we were able to do it today at Springfield. We also cut the points lead in half this weekend. I think we’ve all got the mindset that we’ve got to keep winning to have a shot at winning this championship. None of us thought we were in the hunt anymore after skipping a round and breaking my leg, but we’re pushing hard, and everything’s working well. We’re all happy. Let’s just keep it rolling and see what we can do next weekend.”
JD Beach — AFT Twins #95:
“It was a tough weekend. We were hoping to do a little bit better and just kind of struggled through both days. There’s not really much to say about it. We’re all bummed about it, but we will put our heads down and go on to the next one.”
Jake Johnson — AFT Twins #5:
“Not much to say about it, really. Saturday was pretty rough. We had a couple mechanicals in practice and were playing catch-up all day. Today (Monday) was kind of a short, quick deal. One qualifying session then straight into racing. In the Heat race, we struggled a bit. Then, in the Semi, we nearly got the holeshot. I was second going into turn one and just got blitzed from every direction coming off of turn two. I ended up, I think, ninth or something, one out of the Main.
“I think we just need to regroup. We’ve got one more Half-Mile next weekend and it’s a home race for me. I’m looking forward to that one. It’s a track I like. The last two are somewhat cushion Miles… So we’ll just try to regroup and see if we can get something figured out and get a couple good finishes before this is over.”