Number of potential dark horses this weekend at Yamaha Atlanta Short Track

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 28, 2020) – A back and forth title fight for the ultimate prize in Progressive American Flat Track has tipped decidedly in the favor of defending Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) as the series arrives at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Georgia, for the Yamaha Atlanta Short Track presented by Law Tigers I & II on October 2-3.


Following four consecutive commanding victories, Bauman has stretched open a 25-point advantage in the AFT SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines standings. As a result, key rival Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) is the only other rider who remains in control of his own destiny, and only just.


While Bauman’s tear has made things a bit predictable at the front in recent races, the lightning fast ⅜-mile Dixie Speedway has a way of offering up surprises and in a hurry. Mees was at the center of one of the most memorable races in Progressive AFT history in 2017’s Atlanta ST when he and Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750) waged a furious battle which ultimately put long-time race leader Halbert down on the red clay and Mees up on top of the box.


Mees and Halbert have been the two strongest AFT SuperTwins riders outside of Bauman thus far in 2020 and could be primed for a rematch as they each look to find an answer for the champ’s recent dominance.


That said, the field boasts a number of potential dark horses this weekend: Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Happy Trails Racing FTR750), Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Harley-Davidson/Vance & Hines XG750R Rev X), and Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 Harley-Davidson/Vance & Hines XG750R Rev X) have all shown serious chops at the venue.


The storylines are similar in both AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys and AFT Production Twins. As in the premier class, a rider has stepped forward from the pack in each category to seize control of the developing championship fights.


17-year-old sensation Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) has equaled the win tally of all his AFT Singles challengers combined, scoring his fourth and fifth wins of 2020 in this past weekend’s Dallas HM.


Barely a full season into his professional career, Daniels has fully lived up to his advance billing as a future Grand National Champion. Two of the series’ most experienced riders regardless of class, Henry Wiles (No. 17 RMR Honda/Honda Talon CRF450R) and Mikey Rush (No. 15 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), are now looking for a way to slow the rolling Daniels down and prevent him from running away with the title.


Meanwhile, James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) just keeps on racking up the wins in AFT Production Twins action. After going more than a decade between dirt track wins — and eight years without a win in any discipline — Rispoli has made up for lost time by collecting six victories in his last seven opportunities.


With just one finish worse than second (a still credible fifth) all year long, Rispoli is putting himself in position to lock up the championship ahead of the DAYTONA season finale. But don’t look for the New Englander to ease up now; he’s aiming to show the AFT SuperTwins team owners that he deserves a seat in the premier class in 2021.


There will be plenty of additional entertainment to make for an unforgettable weekend, including an exhibition race for Royal Enfield’s innovative BUILD TRAIN RACE program, which highlights, celebrates, and encourages the involvement of women in flat track racing. Beyond that, there will also be Astros Invitational and Road to AFT exhibition races, shining a spotlight on both the past and future of the sport. Finally, Royal Enfield will be hosting demo rides in the Fan Zone.

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