If possible, Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) was even more dominant on Saturday night as he completed his second double victory of the 2020 American Flat Track season at the Williams Grove Half-Mile II and did so with authority.
It took Bauman all of two corners to seize control of Friday’s AFT SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event; he didn’t even need that many in tonight's rematch. Bauman translated the holeshot into a one-sided, 5.544-second beatdown.
After railing his way to a fourth consecutive triumph at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Bauman said, “This place is my home now. It’s just an hour-and-a-half from my house. I woke up the other morning and came to the track and went racing.
“The race was good. I kind of did my thing. I really like this place.”
Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750) was the only rider who could even hope to cling to Bauman wake in the race’s opening stages. Doing so successfully pulled Halbert clear of the rest of the field but that early advantage only delayed the inevitable.
Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Happy Trails Racing FTR750) overhauled Halbert with four minutes remaining before shaking free to take the runner-up position by more than two seconds.
Halbert later found himself under assault by Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), who chased him down in time for a two-lap podium showdown as the clock showed 0:00. Mees slid into third with a tight pass with just over a lap-and-a-half remaining, but Halbert set him up for a last corner counterattack.
Those plans, however, were foiled by the unfortunate positioning of some slower riders, allowing Mees to capture third at the checkered flag by 0.078 seconds.
Home-state hero Dan Bromley (No. 62 Roof Systems of Dallas, Texas Indian FTR750) rounded out his best weekend yet since rejoining the premier class, backing up Friday’s fifth with an identical result on Saturday night.
Bauman’s win pushes him back ahead of Mees in his quest to repeat as Grand National Champion as the season officially reaches its midpoint. Bauman will carry a slim five-point advantage (169-164) into what promises to be an epic four-weekend, eight-race stretch run to the throne.
AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys
The AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys Main Event served as a showcase for the sport’s future stars as Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) earned a close victory over fellow second-year pro Trent Lowe (No. 48 Roof Systems of Dallas, TX/Shoei Helmets Honda CRF450R).
Daniels blasted off to the lead at the start and never saw as much as a wheel from a rival throughout the eight-minute (plus two lap) Main. However, Lowe was right there throughout, primed to capitalize on any mistake. Unfortunately for Lowe, that mistake never came. Still, it was a breakout performance for Lowe, who boasted a pair of fifth-place finishes as his personal bests prior to Saturday’s runner-up ride.
Daniels’ third win of the season not only elevates him into the championship lead, it also hands him a relatively healthy 14-point advantage.
“It was a stressful race leading all 20 laps like that,” he admitted. “You don’t know who’s behind you, what they’re doing, or if they’re changing up lines. It’s crazy. It was a great weekend for the team and a great weekend for us. I struggled on this track a little bit last year and to do what we did…
“It’s great being up in the points. We’ve faced some adversity this year -- I didn’t even make the Main in the opener at Volusia. I came into the year wanting to win the championship and to not do that, it was bad. But we’ve fought our way back up and have three wins now. It feels awesome.”
Tanner Dean (No. 38 1st Impressions Race Team Honda CRF450R) engaged in an extended scrap for third with Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Roof Systems DFW/Duffy Fleet Services KTM 450 SX-F) before breaking loose to claim the final spot on the box all by his lonesome.
Mischler dropped a couple more positions before it was all over with Kevin Stollings (No. 99 Roof Systems/Motion Pro Honda CRF450R) finishing fourth and highly touted rookie Trevor Brunner (No. 211 Cornerstone Masonry Group CMG/Demske Racing Honda CRF450R) rounding out the top five.
AFT Production Twins
James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) continued his steamroller act on Saturday night, claiming his fourth win in the last five AFT Production Twins Main Events, and he did so in almost drama-free fashion, going nearly unchallenged in his green light to checkered flag victory.
Rispoli and reigning AFT Production Twins champion Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07) briefly reenacted last night’s high-line/low-line comparo, but within a matter of laps, “the Rocket” was working his way out of reach and to a lopsided victory.
Rispoli’s 2.642-second victory increases his championship lead to an imposing 30 points at the season’s halfway point. Afterward, he said, “This is something I never dreamed I could do at arguably our worst track. To pull off a double here? We’ve come a long way. Hats off to my whole team.”
Other than a mid-race pass for third by Ryan Varnes (No. 68 RVR/RoyBuilt Don’s Kawasaki Ninja 650) over Ben Lowe (No. 25 Roof Systems of Dallas/Bruce Lowe Excavating Yamaha MT-07), the race inside the top five was rather processional… until the very final two corners that is.
Varnes slowly closed down on Texter over the Main’s final three minutes and worked his way into position to dive underneath his potential prey just as the two entered Turn 3 for the last time. However, they arrived there alongside a pair of lappers who were embroiled in their battle for position, adding another layer of complexity to the attempted maneuver.
Texter got the better of the fray, reclaiming the position as they exited 4 and holding on to grab second in the sprint to the checkered flag by 0.058 seconds. Lowe cruised to fourth a couple seconds back.
Chad Cose (No. Wally Brown Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) rode a lonely race in fifth for the bulk of the Main, only to get some unwelcome company late from Jeremiah Duffy (No. 42 Sammy O Racing/ERT Kawasaki Ninja 650). Duffy got the better of Cose in the end, stealing fifth position by 0.111 seconds.
Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield Twins FT) continued to demonstrate the potential of the Royal Enfield’s developing new racebike; he raced his way forward to seventh after starting from last position due to being black flagged in his semi.
The Williams Grove Half-Mile I & II will air back-to-back on NBCSN on Saturday, September 26, starting at 5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT. The broadcasts will include exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage, and the expert commentary of AFT legend Chris Carr.
The 2020 American Flat Track season will resume in two weeks as the series heads to Mesquite, Texas, for the Roof Systems Dallas Half-Mile I & II presented by Law Tigers at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Friday, September 25, and Saturday, September 26. Live coverage of the entire weekend’s racing activities will be available on any device for less than $1 per event via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.