|DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 31, 2018) – A lot can change in a year. Last year during this very week, American Flat Track was headed to the Indian Motorcycle Red Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle of Lexington with its defending Grand National Champion – Bryan Smith (No. 4 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) – leading the charge and looking nearly unstoppable.
Smith was riding a four-race win streak into the series’ inaugural stop in Lexington, while fellow Indian factory rider Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing SDI Scout FTR750) was merely the leader of the pack desperately chasing Smith.
But at the end of a 130-mph evening at the Red Mile, Mees stood as the victor. It didn’t come easily, as Mees only narrowly aced ‘Slammin’ Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) by 0.013 seconds to claim the checkered flag.
Since that night the wins have come a whole lot easier for Mees, and, by contrast, less so for Smith (and everyone else for that matter). Dating back to that inaugural AFT race at the Red Mile, Mees has garnered 13 of the last 19 AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event wins, earned the 2017 title and assembled a massive title lead to this point in 2018.
As for Smith, he’s gone winless over that same span. Just mark it up as a little extra motivation in his quest for revenge. He and the rest of 2018’s version of the aforementioned pack should tip their hats to Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Roof-Systems/Indian of Metro Milwaukee Scout FTR750), who once again demonstrated that Mees is not, in fact, invincible.
Carver rode like a man on a mission last weekend in Springfield. Was that simply an outlier performance, or the first sign of yet another landmark shift in momentum that could potentially alter the balance of power?
Nobody can accuse the AFT Singles action of being predictable or in any need of a shake-up. It’s pretty difficult to top six different winners in seven races. And when you scan the entry list there’s no shortage of worthy challengers who could very easily make that factoid seven different winners in eight races following the Red Mile.
That said, if the long list of frontrunners doesn’t act soon, Dan Bromley (No. 62 KTM North America/Bromley Motorsports 450 SX-F) could emerge from the chaos and further tighten his developing grip on the title race. His sterling record of two wins, two runner-ups and two third-place results this season have allowed him to pile up an 18-point advantage while no one was looking.
That lead is over Brandon Price (No. 92 Parkinson Brothers Racing/DPC Racing Honda CRF450R), who was involved in a crash during last weekend’s Springfield TT. The White Hall, MD native has been sidelined while he recuperates from the crash, but he’s eager to get back to the track. Bromley’s lead over third-ranked Jesse Janisch (No. 132 Roof Systems/West Bend Harley-Davidson-backed Yamaha YZ450F) is an imposing 36 points.
And then there’s 2018 Texas Half-Mile winner Kevin Stollings, who won at the inaugural Red Mile last year but was penalized points for being out of compliance with sound requirements post-race. So you just know Stollings will be hungry to avenge things this weekend.
As always, there’s a blast to be had in the lead-up to the race and away from the track once the weekend finally arrives. The party starts rolling tonight, Thursday, May 31, at The Break Room, located in Lexington’s Historic Distillery District (1178 Manchester St. Lexington, Ky.), featuring live music from the Home Grown Head Band starting at 7:00 pm ET.
And on Friday, June 1, Indian racers Bryan Smith, Davis Fisher and other top Indian riders will be at Indian Motorcycle of Lexington (1973 Bryant Rd, Lexington, Ky.) from 5:00-7:00 pm ET to sign autographs and take pictures with fans on the eve of the Red Mile.
As for race day, there’s much to partake in, and several options for fan-friendly enjoyment, including:
As always, military and first responders can score $20 tickets in the Turn One Bleachers, and children 12 and under are free in selected seating areas.