Progressive AFT Opens Second Half with New York Short Track Doubleheader
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 2021 Progressive American Flat Track season will kick off its second half in monumental fashion with this weekend’s Mission Foods New York Short Track presented by Mad Max Indian Motorcycle doubleheader at Weedsport Speedway in Weedsport, New York, on Friday, August 13, and Saturday, August 14.
In just two previous stops, the New York Short Track has already established itself as among the calendar’s premier events, drawing massive sell-out crowds to witness the world’s best flat trackers bang bars around the 3/8-mile, D-shaped oval.
A year removed from its most recent entry due to last year’s pandemic-altered slate, the Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle class returns with just two riders — ‘18 winner Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) and ‘19 winner Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) — who have previously enjoyed the view from the Weedsport Speedway podium.
The others have either since moved on to team management (Kenny Coolbeth), the announcers booth (Brad Baker), a different class (Henry Wiles), or are due for a comeback (Jeffrey Carver, Jr.), making way for at least one new face on the box this weekend.
With eight races down and eight to go, the weekend is poised to play a critically important role in the eventual crowning of the ‘21 Grand National Champion. Reigning two-time premier-class king Bauman has seized control with two consecutive wins to stretch his title advantage to 25 points. Now presented with a pair of races at a track he dominated in 2019, Bauman is perfectly positioned to put his rivals on their heels heading down the stretch.
That means the pressure is on both Mees and second-ranked Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) to step forward and respond accordingly in order to keep their title hopes vibrant.
Of course, podium performances in recent weeks from the likes of Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) and Brandon Price (No. 92 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), as well top-fives over that same span from New Yorker Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and Robert Pearson (No. 27 Rackley Racing/John Franklin Indian FTR750), indicates it would be mistake to simply overlook the remainder of the field. This is especially the case with the ultimate impact of the newly implemented rule changes still largely unknown.
The surging Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) has made himself the rider to beat in AFT Singles competition, leaving a deep field of motivated riders searching for answers as of late.
Included in that group is defending class champion Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), who earned the #1 plate going away a year ago. The talented teen out-performed his Australian rival in the opening three races of this season, but has done so just once the last five times out. While still only 15 points back, Daniels will need to reverse that trend in a hurry if he wants to hold onto his crown for another offseason.
The vastly experienced duo of Mikey Rush (No. 15 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and Henry Wiles (No. 17 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) remain in the hunt as well and both have the Short Track bona fides to suggest they could be in for big weekends.
The same is true of Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Mission Roof Systems KTM 450 SX-F), who has traditionally excelled at tracks similar to — and specifically at — Weedsport Speedway in the past.
If you’re looking for a dark horse pick to cheer on this weekend, Tanner Dean (No. 38 1st Impressions Race Team Honda CRF450R) would be a prime candidate. While Dean has failed to finish inside the top ten in the most recent six races, he was the ‘18 winner at the venue and has a history of coming from seemingly nowhere to win AFT Singles Main Events.
AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
This weekend will mark the first time the AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines class lines up at Weedsport Speedway. The story remains the same regardless, with everyone still desperately attempting to reel in breakaway title leader Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07).
The New York ST could be well timed in that regard as both Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) and Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07) have previously podiumed at Weedsport Speedway, albeit in AFT Singles competition.
While Texter currently controls the title fight with a substantial 31-point advantage, things might feel a bit different if 2019 AFT Singles New York Short Track winner Gauthier happens to parlay his Port Royal HM triumph into a three-race win streak this weekend.
Fans should watch out for Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield Twins FT), who continues to demonstrate just what a weapon the Royal Enfield Twins FT can be when in its element.
In addition to the three primary Progressive AFT classes, the New York Short Track will feature the Astro Invitational on Friday, pitting former pros and vintage flat track competitors against one another on Bultaco Astros. And then on Saturday, Royal Enfield’s popular BUILD. TRAIN. RACE. program will be back on track, showcasing the talent, versatility, competitiveness, and enthusiasm of female motorcyclists in its own action-packed style.
There will be plenty of additional entertainment and amenities off track as well, including live music, dedicated motorcycle parking, and a fireworks display to follow Saturday’s Mission SuperTwins Main Event.
Tickets are available for purchase now at https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3478/#selectTickets.
General Admission Grandstand tickets are $29 each night (children 12 and under free) and Premium General Admission Grandstands are $39 (children 12 and under $20). A paddock access upgrade (16 and over) is available for $40. A special VIP Experience ticket including a Turn 4 VIP viewing platform is available for $99 (all ages).
The gates will open for fans at 3:00 p.m. ET with Opening Ceremonies set to begin at 6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.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. Fans may tune-in to first practice at 3:15 p.m. ET/6:15 p.m. ET with Main Events beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT.
The Mission Foods New York Short Track presented by Mad Max Indian Motorcycle doubleheader will air back-to-back on NBCSN on Sunday, August 22, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 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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