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Tuesday 12 March 2024

AFT 2024 - Daytona Short Track I

AFT 2024 - Daytona Short Track I

The 2024 Progressive American Flat Track season, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, is underway. The opening two rounds of the 2024 Progressive American Flat Track season (Short Track races) took place at the Daytona International Speedway on March 7 and 8 …

Daytona Royal Enfield Short Track I (2024 Round 1), March 7

Mission SuperTwins 

Victory went to Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) in a race that had far more drama than Daniels’ final 3.769-second margin of victory suggested had been the case.

For much of the night - including the opening half of the Main Event - the fans that packed the Daytona International Speedway Flat Track grandstands thought they might just witness Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Dodge Bros. Racing/Castrol Harley-Davidson XR750) give the iconic Harley-Davidson XR750 its 503rd Grand National Championship race win more than five decades after its first.

In fact, Halbert topped a session in both practice and qualifying, won his heat race, and then proved victorious in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge aboard the venerable machine. He followed that up by grabbing the holeshot in the Main Event and then stretching open more than a second’s worth of padding at the front.

That advantage was further aided by the stiff fight Brandon Price (No. 92 Memphis Shades/Corbin/OTBR Yamaha MT-07 ultimately second) provided all comers while running second, despite the likes of Daniels, Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750 finishing third) and Briar Bauman (No. 3 Rick Ware Racing/KTM/Parts Plus KTM 790 Duke eventually finishing eighth) all seeking a way through.

Daniels finally managed to make a pass that stuck a little over six minutes remaining on the clock and immediately went about eating up the gap to Halbert. However, what promised to be a thrilling dogfight for victory was spoiled when Halbert’s machine began to smoke heavily with half of the race still remaining.

The Estenson Racing Yamaha ace dove through to steal away first. Moments later, the black flag was (first) shown to Halbert, who continued to push for several laps before finally heeding the instruction. Halbert’s misfortune saw Price move back up into second with Bauman third, while Daniels weaved his way through traffic out front en route to victory.

Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750) took fourth, Sammy Halbert fifth, nine-time Grand National Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Rogers Racing/SDI Racing/Indian Motorcycle FTR750) was 6th and Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JMC Motorsports/Fairway Ford Ohio Indian FTR750) seventh.

There were two Yamaha MT-07s in the top 10, four Indian FTR750s, Sammy Halbert's XR750, two KTM 790 Dukes and, making its AFT debut, Dan Bromley's Honda Transalp in tenth spot. 

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

Double defending Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER champion Kody Kopp (No. 1 Rick Ware Racing/Parts Plus KTM 450 SX-F) opened his quest for an unprecedented third Singles crown in near-perfect fashion, walking away with the Main Event after earlier winning both his heat and the Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda Challenge.

It was a fine way to not just start his title defense, but also an all-new partnership after joining the Rick Ware Racing outfit just days prior to the opener.

Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Racing/Certified KTM 450 SX-F) took second, having initially taken the lead on the first lap; Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) eventually took third after battling his way back through the pack.

Chase Saathoff (No. 88 JPG Motorsports Honda CRF450R) was fourth ahead of Justin Jones (No. 91 J&H Racing 'Husqvarna' FC 450) fifth. There were five KTMs in the Top 10, plus two Husqvarna badged 450s and three Honda CRF450Rs.