|SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 27, 2018) – Seven races into the 2018 American Flat Track season and the AFT Singles class finally has itself a repeat winner. New championship leader Dan Bromley (No. 62 KTM North America/Bromley Motorsports 450 SX-F) backed up his DAYTONA TT triumph in March with another masterful ride to claim victory in Saturday evening’s Springfield TT at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill.
And just like in Daytona, Bromley’s win came following a showdown with fellow TT standout Jesse Janisch (No. 132 Roof Systems/West Bend Harley-Davidson-backed Yamaha YZ450F), who finished as the Springfield TT runner-up for the second consecutive season.
While it’s no coincidence that both of Bromley’s race wins this season have come on TT circuits, the title leader has proven remarkably strong everywhere the series has traveled. Tonight’s win marks his sixth podium result in seven outings, allowing him to stretch out an early 19-point gap at the front.
“It’s always great racing with Jesse,” Bromley said after the race. “He’s fun to ride with and fun to pass. A lot of the guys in the top five we’re running with out here, you know you can trust. You can be rough with them and they’ll be rough with you, but you know it’ll be clean. I knew I could stick it in on Jesse and thought maybe he’d stick it in on me in the next corner. But somehow I was able to pull away a little bit. I looked back and saw a little cushion, but that almost made me screw up because I started to relax. At the end, I knew Jesse was going to push, and I was getting a little tired.
“It feels good. I can’t thank everybody enough.”
While the Bromley-Janisch 1-2 was a repeat from earlier this season, the remainder of the top 10 had a distinctly novel feel. The prestige and history of the Springfield TT – combined with a layout that rewards a wide variety of racing pedigrees – invariably draws a uniquely deep and talented field. As a result, the class’ usual frontrunners often find themselves duking it out not only with the series’ TT specialists, but also top-flight roadracers, motocrossers and off-road racers.
In past years, the event has occasionally been dominated by the visiting all-stars, such as the late, great Nicky Hayden, his brother Tommy Hayden and JD Beach. Just last year the Springfield TT was thoroughly owned by yet another Kentucky-based roadrace ace, Hayden Gillim.
This year’s running was similar, at least in terms of sharing the spotlight with riders who don’t usually feature at the front of the AFT Singles pack. Superbike pilot Jake Lewis (No. 185 M4 Suzuki RMZ 450), off-road hero Ryan Sipes (No. 264 Rockstar/Leatt/Maxxis Husqvarna FC 450), rising Australian star Max Whale (No. 181 Kawasaki/Shark Leathers KX450F) and young roadracer-turned-flattracker Jay Newton (No. 98 Monkey Pumps/Monkey Moto Yamaha YZ450F) all looked like potential podium finishers as the day’s racing took shape.
In turn, the Springfield TT can prove especially punishing for AFT Singles title hopefuls who are either off their game, make a costly mistake, or generally suffer in TT settings, such as is the case with the class’ all-time winningest rider, Shayna Texter (No. 52 ST52 JCS Racing Husqvarna FC 450).
That was true again on Saturday. Texter, who entered the weekend fourth in the points, was unable to make it out of qualifying to earn a slot in one of the three Heat races, let alone advance to the Semis and ultimately the Main.
If misery loves company, misery was having a grand time on Saturday night. By the time the Main Event rolled around, Texter was joined on the fence by 2018 AFT Singles race winners Kevin Stollings (No. 99 Roof Systems Honda CRF450R), Morgen Mischler (No. 69 Cycle Craft Yamaha/Rohde’s Sales & Service Yamaha YZ450F), and Ryan Wells (No. 94 RMR/Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda CRF450).
Meanwhile, Brandon Price (No. 92 Parkinson Brothers Racing/DPC Racing Honda CRF450R), the points leader coming into Springfield, managed to make the grid for the Main but not much further. Price was involved in an opening-lap incident that brought out the red flag. He was unable to continue and transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
Janisch powered into the lead following the restart. He was only able to hold point for a few short laps, however, before Bromley came storming past. The lanky KTM rider had been able to make moves where others could not all day long. He took advantage of that sublime blend of courage and skill to expertly wrest away control of the race. Once Bromley was in front, Janisch did well to keep him honest but never got close enough to attempt a counter.
The battle for third was even more heated. British rider Oliver Brindley (No. 24 Fox Plant/Hayley/WKR Yamaha YZ450F) and the aforementioned Newton traded haymakers throughout the Main as they each sought a career-first podium. Brindley ultimately landed the final blow a few laps short of the checkered flag to claim the final spot on the box.
Superbike pilot Lewis finished fifth. He crossed the line just behind Newton after closing in on the battle for the podium in the late stages of the race.
Aussie Whale and ISDE/GNCC/250SX winner Sipes both flashed top-five potential in the Main Event before separate crashes dropped them to the back of the field. Sipes managed to fight his way back to 11th, one spot ahead of defending AFT Singles champion Kolby Carlile (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), while Whale retired after suffering a second fall.
Steven Sandoval (No. 28 R&R Racing/Country Saloon Honda CRF450R), Michael Inderbitzin (No. 54 Mack Daddy Racing/Morris Racing Honda CRF450R), Ben Lowe (No. 20 CTR/Law Tigers/Lancaster Honda CRF450R), Austin Luczak (No. 10 Luczak Racing/American Supercamp Honda CRF450R) and Andrew Luker (No. 11 Keeran Racing/Mychevy.com Kawasaki KX450F) completed an unusual top ten in which only the podium finishers had entered the weekend ranked inside the championship top 10.
Be sure to catch the NBCSN Premiere telecast of the Springfield TT and Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I on June 9 at 5:00 pm ET.
The legendary Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile happens later today, with live coverage starting at 11:00 am ET on FansChoice.tv. American Flat Track then heads to central Kentucky and the Indian Motorcycle Red Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle of Lexington on June 2. Live coverage of the Red Mile begins at 3:00 pm ET.