DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A totally new racetrack experience for American Flat Track riders and fans, along with interesting rider scenarios and a Friday night Kickoff Party at the track, make this weekend’s Harley-Davidson New York Short Track at Weedsport Speedway a potentially explosive event – and a perfect ending to the sound and fury of this week’s Independence Day fireworks celebrations.
An mysterious racetrack is always an interesting angle to throw at racers: new surface, new apexes, new everything. Toss in some of the personal elements that have developed over the last few weeks and things can get extra interesting.
Reigning AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing SDI Scout FTR750) has proven to be an overdog this season, though that hasn’t stopped Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Roof-Systems of Dallas/Indian of Metro Milwaukee Scout FTR750) from nipping at the champ’s heels on several occasions – and beating Mees in a straight fight at Springfield.
This weekend’s Short Track venue could also favor other riders, including veteran Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (No. 2 Nila Racing, Columbia Avionics Indian Scout FTR750), Carver Jr. and Harley-Davidson youngster Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) – who finished one/two/three, respectively, at the only other Short Track event this season in Atlanta. One can’t ignore Henry Wiles (No. 17 Bandit Industries/Wilco Racing/Willy Built Indian Scout FTR750), either, who’s second in points to Mees and very good on shorter circuits.
In AFT Singles you’ve got several interesting stories percolating, primary among them the dramatic win by Shayna Texter (No. 52 Husqvarna Motorcycles/JCS Racing FC 450) at last weekend’s Lima, Ohio, Half-Mile. Texter had a perfect night at Lima; she was fast qualifier, won her Heat and Semi, then literally disappeared into the night in the Main, winning by nearly five seconds.
Still, she’s bound to have more competition this weekend from local NY racers Ryan Wells (No. 94 RMR/Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda CRF450R) – who Texter tangled with on the final lap at Oklahoma City – and reigning AFT Singles champ Kolby Carlile (No. 1 Estenson Racing/McCandless Truck Center Yamaha YZ450F), 2nd and 4th in points, respectively.
“Being able to race a National near my hometown is really awesome,” said Wells. “Growing up, you hear your racing heroes talk about winning a hometown race, and here’s my chance. It’d be great to get a win in front of folks I know, so I’m plenty motivated.”
Then there’s points leader Dan Bromley (No. 62 KTM North America/Bromley Motorsports 450 SX-F), who’s been fast and consistent this year as he’s pieced together a 43-point lead over second-place Wells and third-place Texter, who’s just a single point back from Wells.
Can Texter make a run at Bromley – and the AFT Singles championship – with another win? Can Wells and Carlile use the local fans as extra motivation? Will Bromley bounce back and grab his fourth win of the season? It’s sure to be exciting to watch.
Other Weekend Attractions
There’s plenty to do over and above all the wheel-to-wheel AFT Twins, AFT Singles and Harley Hooligan action on Saturday, too. Friday night from 5:30 to 9:00 pm features an action-packed Kick Off Party offering up live music, autograph signings with top AFT racers, a Harley stunt show and much more. Here’s the deal:
•Autograph signings and Q&A with top AFT stars, including Team Harley-Davidson stars Sammy Halbert, Brandon Robinson and Jarod Vanderkooi; Indian Motorcycle factory riders Jared Mees, Bryan Smith and Brad Baker; Husqvarna’s Shayna Texter; reigning AFT Singles champion Kolby Carlile; Kenny Coolbeth Jr.; ex-champ Ryan Wells; select Harley Hooligan-series riders, and others.
•A very special ‘Trading Places’ event featuring Indian factory rider Jared Mees and Weedsport Speedway GM and Dirt Modified car racer Jim Phelps. The two will do laps in and on the other’s machine, Mees in the high-horsepower Dirt Mod car, and Phelps on Mees’ backup Indian FTR750 racer.
•Live music from Small Town Shade, an acoustic country/pop/rock band from Cortland, NY currently touring the Northeast. Additional musical jamming from Downbeat Percussion, the Official Drumline of the Buffalo Bills.
•Harley-Davidson’s very cool Jumpstart display, which allows motorcycling newbies to sit on, start and shift a full-sized motorcycle through the gears while it’s bolted firmly to a customized trailer.
•All-Harley stunt show featuring Grim Company, the ‘Premier East Coast Harley-Davidson Stunt Team’.
•Party Giveaways include a Nicky Hayden Arai helmet, a Vance & Hines exhaust, Dunlop Tires, K&N and Sunoco Gas gift cards, Motul Oil changes and products, race tickets and much more.
•Local craft beers and fine wines, plus a selection of local food faves, including Central New York’s famous Salt Potatoes.
Entrance to Friday’s Kick Off Party is free.