Mees Strikes Back in Volusia Half-Mile II
Texter-Bauman goes back-to-back; Cory Texter brings Yamaha back to the front.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After something of a quiet opener by their standards, Progressive American Flat Track’s Grand National Champion favorites got their revenge in Saturday night’s Volusia Half-Mile II presented by Daytona Dodge in Barberville, Florida.
While defending Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle champ Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) upped his speed at Volusia Speedway Park significantly overnight, even he had nothing for a confident and on-form Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) on this evening.
Bauman took the holeshot and immediately transformed the premier class Main Event into a two-man affair with archrival Mees, just as they’ve done so many times in the past. But almost as soon as Mees worked his way into the lead with more than seven minutes remaining on the clock, it was readily apparent that he was in a class of his own; Mees quickly shook free and piled up a substantial advantage on runner-up Bauman, cruising to the checkered flag with more than two seconds in hand.
Mees, who also won the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge earlier in the program, said, “I grew up racing here on 60s and 80s with my dad coming here for the Southeastern Nationals back in the day. I’ve always come here as a pro and raced the Steve Nace All-Star warm-up race as well. Never would I have thought last year this place would be a National, and man, I think it was a really big hit. It was awesome to see fans in the stands again.”
Third-place finisher Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750) was the only other rider in the field who managed to stay within ten seconds of the victory.
Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) seemed to have fourth-place all but sewn up. However, intermittent mechanical issues dropped him several positions down the order, elevating what had been a three-way dogfight for fifth featuring Brandon Price (No. 92 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City FTR750) and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750).
Vanderkooi was able to return to full song and subsequently tracked that crew back down as all four were in with a shot at fourth over the race’s final two laps. Price ultimately held on for the position, while Friday winner Robinson dropped the younger Bauman to sixth, who in turn finished fractionally ahead of an unlucky Vanderkooi.
Davis Fisher (No. 67 BMC Racing/Dick Wall 60 Indian FTR750) ended up eighth while Friday heroes JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) completed the top ten.
Shayna Texter-Bauman (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) remains undefeated since adding the hyphen to her name following Saturday’s jaw-dropping AFT Singles Main Event.
Texter-Bauman kept a close pack of six and seven riders corralled behind her for the bulk of the race. But that neat and tidy order was thrown out the window when all of her contenders seemingly went for broke at once with three minutes remaining on the clock.
Trent Lowe (No. 48 WBR/Suzuki Motor of America RM-Z450) ran second early but was shuffled back once the pressure intensified. Mikey Rush (No. 15 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Mission Roof Systems KTM 450 SX-F) then threw several haymakers from second and third with Rush eventually taking over the lead.
Defending class champ Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) made his presence felt as well, executing moves on both Mischler and Texter-Bauman before getting passed back to fourth.
After Texter-Bauman appeared vulnerable to outside passes, she turned the tables by alternating a more defensive higher line with an ultra-low line that allowed her to reclaim those lost positions. Once back in front, she held Rush at bay over the race’s final two laps to secure her second checkered flag in as many nights.
“It’s just unreal,” Texter-Bauman said. “What a race that was with Mikey, Morgen, and Dallas… When those guys started passing me on the outside, I kind of moved my line up a little bit and went back to work. It’s so nice racing with these guys — we can race clean and hard. What a weekend this was! It’s insane.”
Mischler rounded out the podium, followed by AFT Singles title fighters Daniels, Henry Wiles (No. 17 American Honda/United Rentals CRF450R), and Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE).
AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
2019 AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07) managed to repeat his feat of a year ago, once again upgrading an opening-night third into a victory the following evening at Volusia Speedway Park.
The opening lap teased a rematch of Friday’s last-lap epic featuring Texter, Chad Cose (No. 49 Voodoo Ranger/Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R) and Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07).
However, Texter was in no mood to leave the result to the chance of a final strike this time around, immediately gapping his rivals and never looking back. That relentless pace was no doubt aided by the fact that he wasn’t forced to fight his way from behind this time around, which allowed him to stamp his authority from the start rather than slash up through the field from Row 3.
“That was awesome,” Texter said. “I was so determined after kinda giving it away yesterday. I got to the track two hours earlier today, I was so fired up. I felt great all day… I had so many texts and calls yesterday for getting third. Everyone loved the race, so I’m glad we could put on a show today.”
The AFT Production Twins Main Event was relatively processional behind Texter as well; Friday winner Cose ended the race clear in second, followed by an equally lonely Bromley.
Title hopefuls Ryan Varnes (No. 68 RVR/RoyBuilt Don’s Kawasaki Ninja 650) and Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) rounded out the top five.
The Volusia Half-Mile presented by Daytona Dodge Doubleheader will air back-to-back on NBCSN on Saturday, March 20, starting at 12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT. The broadcasts will include exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage and expert commentary.
Progressive AFT will make its long-awaited TT return on Saturday, May 1, with the Yamaha Atlanta Super TT at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Tickets are available now at https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3327/#selectTickets.
For fans viewing from home, live coverage will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.
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About Progressive American Flat Track
Progressive 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 Progressive 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 with TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and catch all the Progressive American Flat Track racing action on NBCSN.
More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Racing:
Estenson Racing Back on the Box at Volusia Half-Mile II
Estenson Racing followed up its stunning performance in Friday’s Progressive American Flat Track Opener at Volusia Speedway Park with another trophy-winning evening in Saturday’s Volusia Half-Mile II. Mikey Rush returned to the AFT Singles podium with a second-place finish, while his teammate Dallas Daniels ended the night fourth. The squad’s Mission SuperTwins riders, JD Beach and Kolby Carlile, finished ninth and tenth, respectively.
AFT Singles championship contenders, Rush and Daniels, once again factored heavily in the battle for the win aboard their Yamaha YZ450Fs. The two pulled off a number of daring and skillful maneuvers at the front as a six-rider pack waged an intense fight for victory.
Rush, who started from the front row after winning his Semi earlier, diced his way forward from fifth to ultimately take over the lead with just over three minutes remaining on the clock. He was momentarily dropped back to second two laps later but immediately launched a counter-attack to reclaim the position. The heated contest saw Rush finally relinquish control of the lead with just over a minute to go, ultimately accepting the checkered flag as the runner-up just 0.078 seconds off the win. Daniels claimed a hard-earned fourth a few bike lengths back, coming up just 0.277 seconds short of the podium himself.
Saturday’s slick track conditions presented challenges for the Mission SuperTwins duo, and the team continued to work on making improvements. In the Main Event, Beach managed to get one of his trademark blistering starts, slashing several positions up the order in the race’s opening stages. A minor incident saw him give back a couple of those places, and he ultimately finished a close ninth. Carlile was another spot back as he rounded out the premier class top 10.
Estenson Racing will now have several weeks to take what they learned this weekend and prepare for Yamaha’s home race, the Atlanta Super TT, on May 1, at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Tommy Hayden – Estenson Racing Team Manager
“We did not make the gains today that we thought we could make in either class. In the Singles race, both riders were right there fighting for the win but were not able to make it happen. Mikey and Dallas both rode well and left the weekend in a good position in the championship.
“On the SuperTwins side, we really thought we could make some small improvements today and be as competitive as we were last night, but the track seemed to change a little all day, and we did not adapt as well as we needed to. Overall it was not a bad start to the season, and we are looking forward to the next one.”
Mikey Rush – Estenson Racing AFT Singles
“I’m happy to be on the podium two nights in a row at Volusia. The team worked excellent all day and really all weekend. My bike was awesome. The track was pretty challenging. The groove was glazed over and really slippery compared to last night. I’m really happy with how we started the season. I’m looking forward to having a good year and having a lot of fun with the team.”
Dallas Daniels – Estenson Racing AFT Singles
“It was a little bit of a rough night. The day started better than yesterday, qualifying fifth, and I was able to start the Semi from the front row. I worked my way up to second and tried to pass for the lead and ran wide and finished third. So I had the first pick on the second row for the Main. I didn’t get off the line very well, and I was struggling to make some passes. I finally worked my way up to fourth and made the pass for third. I got passed back and was in a real heated battle with Morgen Mischler, Mikey, and Shayna (Texter-Bauman). About six laps to go, I tried to make a pass on Mischler, but it didn’t stick, and I lost a bit of ground. I started overriding it and ended up P4. I’m a little upset with myself, but we’re coming out of here with more points than we did last year. So we’re sitting pretty good in the championship, and it was encouraging to be up front all weekend long. I’m really looking forward to the Atlanta Super TT to show these guys what we’ve got.”
JD Beach – Estenson Racing Mission SuperTwins
“Today’s race was tough. We really chased the track and the bike setup all day long. We just seemed to be on our back foot all day. Going into the main, we put the setup back to what we knew worked last night. When I had a clear track, we could click off some good lap times, but for some reason, the setup we had made it hard to make passes. We learned a lot tonight and still have positives to take away from it, so we’ll move forward.”
Kolby Carlile – Estenson Racing Mission SuperTwins
“Tonight definitely wasn’t all smiles like last night. The track was very different for us from round one to round two. We got a good setup for me to come into the corners and steer the bike off, but I didn’t have any of the rear grip I had on night one. We learned some stuff this weekend and showed that we are on the right path to success.”
More, from a press release issued by KTM:
RED BULL KTM’S SHAYNA TEXTER-BAUMAN SWEEPS VOLUSIA HALF-MILE DOUBLE HEADER
TEAMMATE MAX WHALE HAS A SUCCESSFUL DEBUT WITH THE TEAM
Rounds 1 & 2 – American Flat Track Championship – March 14, 2021
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Shayna Texter-Bauman had an incredible start to the 2021 American Flat Track Championship, sweeping both rounds of the Volusia Half-Mile double header to put herself at the top of the AFT Singles class heading into a new season of racing. Her teammate, Max Whale, debuted his new ride with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team where he finished 4-6 at the opening rounds with a positive performance throughout the weekend.
Texter-Bauman was strong from the start, earning a third-place qualifying position on Friday to kick off the winning weekend. She lined up in AFT Singles Semi 1, where she got off to a top-five start aboard her KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION. She steadily worked her way through the pack and with two laps to go, she moved into second, finishing just behind her teammate, Whale. In the Main Event, Texter-Bauman managed to ace two consecutive holeshots with a red-flag restart and she assumed control of the race right away on the opening lap. Leading all 27 laps from start to finish, the Pennsylvania native rolled her way to a season-opening victory in Florida.
On day two, Texter-Bauman picked up right where she left off on Friday as she qualified third overall to enjoy a front row start in AFT Singles Semi 1. With a fourth-place start, she charged her way into the lead halfway through the race and held strong to secure her first semi win of the season. In the Main Event, Texter-Bauman shot off the line to capture the holeshot and once again established herself out front on the opening lap. She maintained control for the first 12 laps before engaging in a heated battle for the lead spot. She dropped back a few positions halfway through the race but she bounced back with an impressive charge through the latter part of the race. Reclaiming the lead with eight laps to go, the all-time winningest AFT Singles rider finished strong to add a 21st career victory to her long list of accomplishments.
Texter-Bauman: “It was two great nights of racing and to go back-to-back is a great way to end a double header at Volusia, I’m speechless. All week I’ve been struggling on the starting line so to get the holeshot as many times as I did this weekend was unbelievable. The team has worked so hard in the last year and half to get us back up front and to leave here with the points lead is an incredible feeling, it’s motivating for the whole team to head into Atlanta for Round 3.”
Australian rider Max Whale delivered great results in his first race weekend aboard the KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION. On Friday, Whale earned pole position after an impressive qualifying time on opening day. In AFT Singles Semi 1, he got off to a third-place start and he quickly worked his way up to second on lap two. He kept the momentum rolling as he passed into the lead on lap three, putting in a solid ride to claim the first semi win of the season. In the Main Event, Whale shot off the line and into second on the opening lap, where he raced behind his teammate for the first 11 laps before getting passed for second. He put up a hard fight for the final podium position but he finished just off the box in fourth.
On day two, Whale showcased his speed once again by claiming second overall in the day’s qualifying, which set him up for a favorable start to the race day. In AFT Singles Semi 2, Whale was involved in an unfortunate situation that ultimately sent him to the back of the grid in a red-flagged restart and he fought his way through the chaos to put himself into 12th on the opening lap. He put his head down and quickly climbed through the field to reach seventh with two laps to go, locking in a transfer to the Main Event. Starting on back row once again for the main, Whale did his best to battle through the opening lap and put himself into the top-10 by lap two. From there, he continued to charge his way forward to ultimately secure an impressive sixth-place finish by the end of the 26-lap race.
Whale: “Overall, it was a strong weekend for the team and a good first outing for me on the KTM. I had a tough semi but I came from the back row in the main and ended up sixth. We never gave up in the main and moved forward a lot, so I’m happy about this weekend but onto the next. I’m confident, I feel good and I’m ready to go.”
Next Race: Atlanta Super TT – Atlanta, Georgia – May 1, 2021
AFT Singles Main Event (Round 1 – Volusia Half-Mile I)
1. Shayna Texter-Bauman, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2. Dallas Daniels, YAM
3. Michael Rush, YAM
4. Max Whale, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
7. Morgen Mischler, KTM
12. James Ott, KTM
16. Jayson Bloss, KTM
AFT Singles Main Event (Round 2 – Volusia Half-Mile II)
1. Shayna Texter-Bauman, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2. Michael Rush, YAM
3. Morgen Mischler, KTM
6. Max Whale, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
14. James Ott, KTM
AFT Singles Point Standings (After Round 2)
1. Shayna Texter-Bauman, 50 points
2. Michael Rush, 37
3. Dallas Daniels, 35
4. Morgen Mischler, 29
5. Max Whale, 28