|DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 31, 2020) – American Flat Track heads to the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois, for the world’s greatest annual celebration of two-wheeled dirt track motorsport.
This year’s edition is destined to be even more dazzling than usual for what’s widely considered the sport’s crown jewel. On Friday, September 4, the AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys class will complete a one-night doubleheader event at the Springfield Short Track. And then on Saturday, September 5, and Sunday, September 6, the AFT SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines and AFT Production Twins will take over the “World’s Fastest Mile” for the Springfield Mile I & II presented by Memphis Shades.
Recent history suggests the rider most likely to claim a doubleheader Springfield victory is Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750, among the 30 GNC victories he’s racked up during his career are three wins at the Springfield Mile, including both a year ago.
The two biggest obstacles standing in his path are reigning Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) and “Mile Master” Bryan Smith (No. 4 Harley-Davidson/Vance & Hines XG750R Rev X).
A maiden victory for Harley’s XR750 successor feels imminent and Springfield may be its best opportunity all season long. Last season, the factory XGs ran near the front and took a Semi win here, while the team’s rookie sensation, Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 Harley-Davidson/Vance & Hines XG750R Rev X), demonstrated dominant speed aboard the bike in AFT Production Twins class action. Beyond that, Smith is firmly established as one of the all-time Springfield greats, as he enters the weekend seeking an astonishing tenth career Springfield Mile win.
The XG750R should also feature prominently in AFT Production Twins class action again this year, even with Gauthier’s graduation to AFT SuperTwins duty. Championship leader James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) comes in fresh off a one-sided thrashing of the field at Indianapolis. He’s also likely motivated to make up for last year’s near miss at Springfield, in which he led late only to be caught on the final lap and edged at the checkered flag by 0.111 seconds.
Beyond Rispoli, any number of riders are capable of standing atop the podium, including the similarly-armed Chad Cose (No. 49 Wally Brown Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) and the season’s other three previous winners, reigning champion Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07), ‘19 championship runner-up Ryan Varnes (No. 68 RVR/RoyBuilt Don’s Kawasaki Ninja 650), and first-time victor Ben Lowe (No. 25 Roof Systems of Dallas/Bruce Lowe Excavating Yamaha MT-07).
Friday’s AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys twin Main Events will factor heavily into the season’s developing championship fight.
Title contenders Henry Wiles (No. 17 RMR Honda/Honda Talon CRF450R), Mikey Rush (No. 14 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), Chad Cose (No. 49 Wally Brown Racing/American Suzuki RM-Z450), Max Whale (No. 18 Coondoo Cattle Co./Australian Road Services Kawasaki KX450F) and Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) all figure to be extremely competitive at the Springfield Short Track.
That makes it all the more crucial for second-ranked Brandon Kitchen (No. 105 Donley Excavating/TCD Suspension Honda CRF450F) and third-ranked Shayna Texter (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) to come through in a big way so as to not lose too much ground.
As always, spectator safety has been placed at a premium and AFT has worked closely with local health and government officials toward those ends.
The on-track action will get underway on Friday at 4:45 p.m. ET/1:45 p.m. PT with the first Main Event scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT and the second at 10:25 p.m. ET/7:25 p.m. PT. Gates will open on both Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. ET/7:00 a.m. PT with the Main Event slate schedule to begin at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT both days. 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.
The weekend’s races will air on NBCSN, with the Springfield Mile I set to air on Saturday, September 19, starting at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT, and the Springfield Mile II to follow on Sunday, September 20, at 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 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.