OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (June 18, 2021) – Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) became the first rider to earn a second Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle victory this Progressive American Flat Track season with a clutch performance in Friday evening’s Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City OKC Mile I presented by KICKER at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Robinson controlled the lead and held a gap to second from the first lap onward. However, the nerves required to pull off the victory were considerably greater than that fact might suggest; Robinson was forced to overcome injury, an extremely physical racetrack, and a fast-closing Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) to emerge victorious in the end.
At one point late in the race, Robinson saw his nearly two-second advantage slashed to around a half-second. Despite that pressure, Robinson regrouped and ultimately stretched it back out to 1.744-seconds by the time he sailed past the checkered flag. While Robinson certainly did his part by remaining calm, precise, and rapid, Bauman effectively conceded the race in the end after nearly being caught out by the extremely fast yet risky lines he had previously exploited to claw back into contention.
Robinson, meanwhile, continued to make the case that he belongs right alongside reigning Grand National Champion Bauman and multi-time series king Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) when it comes to the current premier-class pecking order. Besides owning more wins than any other rider this season, Robinson also boasts his Chicago Half-Mile fall-to-fourth-place ride that was as impressive as any win, along with three out of five victories in this season’s $5000 Mission Challenge shootouts.
After the race, Robinson said, “This might be the most tiring track we go to all year. This was brutal, and with the bummer at Joliet and sustaining a knee injury there, I’ve been on the couch for three weeks. Fitness is huge here, so big thanks to my trainer, Dick Tibbits; he helps me out a lot with everything I’ve been going through with the injury and just trying to be as ready as we can. And a huge thank you to Mission Foods, Roof Systems, HCRR, and my crew chief Ben Evans; they had this thing dialed in from the time we unloaded. I could not be happier to be a part of this program.”
While Mees saw his three-race win streak at the OKC Mile snapped, he did keep alive his perfect podium record at the venue. A poor start pretty much eliminated any chance at victory from the very beginning, but he quickly made up multiple positions to establish himself a clear third.
Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) added a fourth-place finish to his back-to-back runner-up results, while Brandon Price (No. 92 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) overcame Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) in their tilt for fifth. ‘Mile Master’ Bryan Smith (No. 4 Crosley/Howerton Motorsports Indian FTR750) had earlier been a part of that fight but was forced to pull out at mid-distance.
Further back, Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City FTR750), Robert Pearson (No. 27 Rackley Racing/John Franklin Indian FTR750), JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and Davis Fisher (No. 67 BMC Racing/Dick Wall 60 Indian FTR750) rounded out the top ten.
After getting off to a bit of a quiet start in 2021, Henry Wiles (No. 17 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) made plenty of noise on Friday night with a blowout victory in the evening’s AFT Singles Main Event.
Wiles was in a class of his own from the start, ripping out to immediate advantage and never looking back en route to a 3.157-second margin of victory.
While Wiles erased all drama for the win before any could settle in, there was still plenty of action to be found in a spirited fight for second. Estenson teammates Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and Mikey Rush (No. 15 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) diced it up with one another early before being joined in the fray by the always entertaining Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Mission Roof Systems KTM 450 SX-F).
Contrasting lines led to a series of tight passes and unpredictable action before Daniels ultimately shook free over the race’s final two laps.
Mischler split Daniels and Rush up in the results to finish third, bringing Rush’s perfect season podium record to an end while allowing Daniels just a bit of space at the top of the championship order.
One of Wiles’ teammates, Trevor Brunner (No. 21 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R), missed the Main Event after going down in an on-track incident while leading his Semi. The other, Cole Zabala (No. 51 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R), finished in fifth, winning out in a multi-rider fight for the position with Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) and Brandon Kitchen (No. 105 Husqvarna Motorcycles/Vance & Hines Husqvarna FC450).
Race winner Wiles said, “Right from the first practice I knew we had some real good pace. I knew my biggest competition throughout the day was going to be my teammate (Brunner), but unfortunately he got caught up coming out of a corner and had a pretty nasty crash. I hope Trevor is doing well, and hopefully he can get back out here tomorrow and we can race it up at the front.
“I’m really just stoked. It’s no secret we’ve been struggling. We thought we’d come out swinging from Round 1, and it’s just been a struggle. I’ve got to thank my mechanic and sponsors and all the people that help out this team. They’ve really been busting their butts, and I couldn’t be happier with the result tonight.”
AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) went wire-to-wire to secure his third victory of the still-young AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines season.
The 2019 class champ took the critically important holeshot and translated it into an unchallenged victory. While the roost of the Remington Park cushion Mile left his competitors covered in dirt and their number plates virtually unreadable, Texter shone just as bright in red, white, and blue at the checkered flag as he was on the starting line.
Texter said, “It’s amazing. My plan was to go out and do half the race really hard, set a good pace, and then chill the last few laps and save energy for tomorrow. This is for my dad — it’s been eleven years and I miss him. It’s Father’s Day weekend so this is a tough one for me. So this is for my dad, Randy, and my little boy, Cruise — he makes Father’s Day a lot better than it used to be.”
Ryan Varnes (No. 68 RVR/RoyBuilt Don’s Kawasaki Ninja 650) suffered a mechanical DNF moments after moving into second while looking like the only rider with any chance of running down Texter.
That left Cameron Smith (No. 44 Mike Butler Racing/Cornerstone Masonry Group Honda CRF450R), Jeremiah Duffy (No. 42 Sammy O Racing/Geiger Construction Kawasaki Ninja 650), and Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07) to sort of the remainder of the podium before Texter. Raising the stakes significantly was the fact that both Smith and Duffy were hoping to come away with their maiden Progressive AFT podiums.
That honor ultimately went to Smith, who raced from Row 2 to second place. Bromley came home just behind in third to complete an all-Pennsylvanian, all-Yamaha podium.
Duffy survived a couple major moments and a near-miss with Bromley to finish fourth, while 2019 AFT Singles champ Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) rounded out the top five.
A disappointed Chad Cose (No. 49 Voodoo Ranger/Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R) — who entered the weekend second in the points on the strength of a win and two runner-ups — was forced to watch from the fences after suffering a mechanical issue with his machine earlier in the evening. The Californian expects to be back in action on Saturday night.
The Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City OKC Mile I & II presented by KICKER will air back-to-back on NBCSN on Saturday, June 26, starting at 12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT, featuring exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage.
The Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City OKC Mile II presented by KICKER will conclude the doubleheader weekend at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Saturday evening, June 19.