Defending American Flat Track (AFT) Grand National Champion Bryan Smith scored his first victory of the season in the AFT Twins class presented by Vance & Hines on Saturday evening at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was a dominant win for Smith (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) beating fellow Indian Motorcycle rider Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Indian Scout FTR750) by 3.769 seconds to put an end to his rival’s win streak going into a six week break.
“We didn’t qualify fastest, but once we got racing, I felt comfortable,” said Smith. “I feel like in any race, if I can beat Jared (Mees), I can win the race, and if I beat him, I can win the championship. I’ve got to get back to doing it more often. I especially wanted to win today, because we’ve got some bragging rights going into the mini off-season before we get to the miles. Hopefully, we can pick up where we left off last year in the miles – winning.”
|Photo credit: American Flat Track/Andrea Wilson|
“You can’t win them all, and I was glad to see Bryan (Smith) get the job done on the Indian Motorcycle,” Mees said. “So far, Indians won all three Grand Nationals. It’s a shame for Brad (Baker), because I think we would have had an all-Indian podium again. Tonight I knew we were a tick off, so we made some changes to try to turn it around. I got a good start, but had a bad first lap. When Bryan got up to the lead, that kind of left it to Brad and I to dogfight for second. I just started clearing Brad when his bike went off, but by that time, Bryan was already 10 bikes ahead. I tried moving around the race track to catch up, but I was losing ground. The best guy won tonight, and it was Bryan.”
Joining the Indian Motorcycle duo on the podium was Sammy Halbert on the No. 69 Estenson Logistics Harley-Davidson XR750R. Halbert went into Charlotte looking for the win that slipped his grasp last weekend in Atlanta, but was happy to leave with a podium finish for his new team.
“It felt good to get up on the podium. First podium of the year, first one with the new team,” Halbert said. “These guys, Estenson Racing, have been putting in so much hard work, so it feels great to reward them with a podium.”
AFT Twins rookie Ryan Wells (No. 94 BriggsAuto.com Harley-Davidson XR750R) bounced back from a pair of mechanical issues at the previous rounds to take his best finish thus far in fourth. Completing the top five was Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Carver’s BBQ Kawasaki Ninja 650). Leading the Harley-Davidson Factory team was Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (No. 2 Harley-Davidson XG750R) in sixth.
The remaining AFT Twins Presented by Vance & Hines schedule in this 18 race, 76th season for Flat Track racing in the United States is …
- May 13 - The Law Tigers Arizona Mile Presented by Indian Motorcycle, Phoenix, Arizona
- May 20 - Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile
- May 28 - The Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I
- June 3 – The Red Mile – Lexington, Kentucky
- June 17 – OKC Mile Presented by Indian Motorcycle, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- June 24 – Lima Presented by Indian Motorcycle Half-Mile, Lima, Ohio
- July 8 – Rolling Wheels Half Mile, Elbridge, New York
- July 29 – Harley-Davidson Calistoga Half-Mile, Calistoga, (Napa Valley) California
- August 6 – Buffalo Chip TT Presented by Indian Motorcycle, Sturgis, South Dakota
- August 8 – Harley-Davidson Black Hills Half-Mile, Rapid City, South Dakota
- August 13 – Peoria TT, Peoria, Illinois
- September 3 – Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile II, Springfield, Illinois
- September 9 – Harley-Davidson Williams Grove Half-Mile, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
- September 23 – Lone Star Half-Mile Presented by Indian Motorcycle, Fort Worth, Texas
- October 7 – American Flat Track Finals Presented by Indian Motorcycle, Perris, California