2020 AFT Volusia Half-Mile Results

Cycle News Staff | July 19, 2020

2020 AFT Volusia Half-Mile Results: Five-time Grand National Champion Jared Mees (Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) notched up the 50th premier-class victory of his American Flat Track career with a second dominant win at Barberville, Florida’s Volusia Speedway Park in Saturday’s Volusia Half-Mile II presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys.

2020 AFT Volusia Half-Mile Results
Briar Bauman leads eventual winner Jared Mees Saturday night (Volusia Half-Mile 2). Photos: Dave Hoenig

The “50” that may be more relevant to Mees at the moment, however, is the 50 points he logged with his season-opening double victory that launched his 2020 AFT SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines title campaign in perfect form.

Mees actually started from the second row this time around, allowing reigning AFT SuperTwins Champion Briar Bauman (Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) a chance to make an early escape of his own after Mees’ Friday disappearing act.

However, Mees worked fast, slashing through the field, and ultimately, Bauman less than three minutes into the Main Event. Mees steadily built his advantage up to just over a second as the two encountered lapped traffic and managed that gap to the checkered flag.

“What an amazing night,” Mees said. “We struggled in the Semi; we gambled with the set-up and just went backward. Kenny Tolbert and Bubba Bentkey worked their magic for the Main and the motorcycle was hooked up so good off the corners thanks to Jimmy Wood with Öhlins Suspension. Those guys got me so hooked for the entire weekend, and I came in so hungry.”

Brandon Robinson (HCRR Racing/Ben Evans Racing Indian FTR750) dueled with Sammy Halbert (Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750) for third over the race’s opening half before clearing off to a lonely podium finish. It was a supremely gritty performance on the part of Robinson, who not only managed to finish third following 38 laps in sweltering conditions but did so just seven weeks after breaking his ankle.

Halbert got swallowed up by a charging Brandon Price (Roof Systems of Dallas, Texas Indian FTR750), but managed to retake fourth as they went back and forth while weaving past slower riders. Price actually found himself dropped back to sixth at the flag, as Davis Fisher (BriggsAuto.com Indian FTR750) joined their fight late and stole away the fifth position.

AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys

2019 rookie sensation Dallas Daniels (Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) entered the season as many pundits’ hot pick to earn the 2020 AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys crown. Those predictions may have been second guessed by some after Daniels failed to make the Main Event in Friday’s opener. However, Daniels immediately reestablished himself as a serious player in this year’s title fight with an inspired ride to victory on Saturday night.

2020 AFT Volusia Half-Mile Results
Dallas Daniels (32) came back with a vengeance Saturday night in the thrilling Singles main. After failing to qualify on Friday, he came back and won on Saturday.

Even better, the win came following one of the most entertaining and hectic races in AFT Singles history. An eight-rider pack fought for the lead throughout the eight-minute regulation of the Main, with Daniels, Chad Cose (Wally Brown Racing/American Suzuki RM-Z450), and Mikey Rush (Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) all taking turns at the front with countless passes for position just behind.

But just as the timer clicked 0:00 to set up a final two-lap shootout to decide the winner, the red flag flew. As a result, Daniels took point in a staggered restart, lining up just ahead of teammate Rush and Shayna Texter (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F).

Once the race resumed, Rush sought a way past teammate Daniels but instead found himself displaced by Texter entering Turn 1 on the final lap. Daniels pumped his fist as he closed on the checkered flag, unaware that Texter had a run on him as well. Despite the near disaster, Daniels held on to the redemptive win by a scant 0.020 seconds at the stripe, even though Texter’s final charge marked the fastest lap of the night between the three competitors.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve won a national, and last night we didn’t even qualify for the Main Event,” Daniels said. “It’s just awesome to have this great team behind me. We’ve got our work cut out for us now, but we’re going to make a fight for this championship — I think we showed that tonight. I’m just pumped.”

Early-race leader Cose finished fourth, followed by Brandon Kitchen (No. 105 Donley Excavating/TCD Suspension KTM 450 SX-F), Cameron Smith (Mike Butler Racing/Cornerstone Masonry Group Honda CRF450R), and Morgen Mischler (Roof Systems DFW/Duffy Fleet Services KTM 450 SX-F).

AFT Production Twins

Reigning AFT Production Twins champion Cory Texter (G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07) was far from satisfied after opening his title defense with a ‘mere’ podium finish in Friday evening’s opener. He promptly set things right for himself in Saturday’s rematch, registering a blowout victory to put himself back atop the points order.

2020 AFT Volusia Half-Mile Results
Cory Texter got back to his winning ways in Production Twins on Saturday night.

Texter grabbed the holeshot and never looked back. James Rispoli (Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) and Ryan Varnes (RVR/RoyBuilt Don’s Kawasaki Ninja 650) raced in close formation behind the leader over the contest’s opening half, but Texter slowly broke their challenge and powered to 3.244-second margin of victory.

Texter’s lopsided win was reminiscent of the three consecutive victories he logged to kick off his triumphant ‘19 campaign. It also provided strong evidence that he’s rediscovered the mojo he spent much of the latter half of last year looking to reclaim.

An emotional Texter dedicated the race to his best friend and title-winning mechanic, Jon Reid, who passed away last November, and another good friend in Jess Garcia, who died this past Wednesday.

“Last night felt a bonus to me because I knew how badly we were struggling,” Texter said. “And the first couple of sessions out today, we were really struggling again. But I have to say, I just have a lot of confidence in my team and in myself. And with all the hard work we put in, I’m just going to battle all year long. There’s no quit.”

Varnes appeared primed to overtake Rispoli late in the race as he did on Friday night. That is, right up until the moment he suffered a mechanical issue that erased his podium hopes with just over a minute remaining on the scoreboard.

As a result, the final spot on the box behind Rispoli went to another national championship-winning roadracer returned to dirt track in the ever-popular Danny Eslick (Scott Powersports/R&D Machine Kawasaki Ninja 650).

Prior to Varnes’ misfortune, Eslick was also the beneficiary of a mechanical problem on the part of Nick Armstrong (Lessley Brothers Racing, Competitive SheetMetal Yamaha MT-07), who slowed while battling Eslick for fourth with less than three minutes on the clock.

The final two positions in the top five fell to Ben Lowe (Roof Systems of Dallas/Bruce Lowe Excavating Yamaha MT-07) and Morgen Mischler (Weirbach Racing, Kawasaki USA Ninja 650).

2020 American Flat Track Series

Round 2

Volusia Half-Mile 2

Volusia Speedway Park

Barberville, Florida

RESULTS (July 18, 2020)

 

AFT SuperTwins Main

1. Jared Mees (Ind) 38 laps
2. Briar Bauman (Ind) 1.370
3. Brandon Robinson (Ind) 4.223
4. Sammy Halbert (Ind) 7.515
5. Davis Fisher (Ind) 7.706
6. Brandon Price (Ind) 7.755
7. Bronson Bauman (Ind) 7.834
8. Robert Pearson (Ind) 10.676
9. Jeffrey Carver Jr. (Ind) 10.997
10. JD Beach (Yam) 12.927

 

AFT Singles Main

1. Dallas Daniels (Yam) 26 Laps
2. Shayna Texter (KTM) 0.020
3. Michael Rush (Yam) 0.101
4. Chad Cose (Suz) 0.289
5. Brandon Kitchen (KTM) 0.411
6. Cameron Smith (Hon) 0.655
7. Morgen Mischler (KTM) 0.656
8. Max Whale (Kaw) 0.961
9. Trent Lowe (Hon) 1.168
10. Ryan Wells (KTM) 1.522

 

AFT Production Twins Main

1. Cory Texter (Yam) 25 Laps
2. James Rispoli (H-D) 3.244
3. Danny Eslick (Kaw) 8.742
4. Ben Lowe (Yam) 10.239
5. Morgen Mischler (Kaw) 11.851
6. Cody Johncox (Yam) 16.814
7. Jeremiah Duffy (Kaw) 19.537
8. Brock Schwarzenbacher (Kaw) 24 Laps
9. Mitch Harvat (Kaw) 0.701
10. Scott Barrett (Kaw) 23 Laps

 

FRIDAY (Volusia Half-Mile 1)

2020 AFT Volusia Half-Mile 1 Results: Jared Mees (Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) etched his name in the American Flat Track record books yet again, scoring a signature victory in the first-ever Main Event of the AFT SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines era in Friday evening’s Volusia Half-Mile 1 presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys.

2020 AFT Volusia Half-Mile 1 Results
Jared Mees, Briar Bauman and Sammy Halbert filled the podium at the Volusia Half-Mile 1. Photos: Dave Hoenig

It was a dream result for Mees at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida, after previously translating season-opening wins in Florida into Grand National Championships in both 2017 and 2018.

The race’s decisive action took place in the opening minute. Mees and Jeffrey Carver Jr. (Happy Trails Racing FTR750) clashed over the lead early, with Carver falling in an incident that brought out the red flag. Mees simply powered away at the restart and dominated from that point on. He controlled the race from the front while keeping an eye on the clock as the premier class broke in its new 12-minute + two lap Main Event format.

“It was pretty solid,” Mees said. “Me and Carver came together and the track was so slick, we tapped a little bit and he went down, unfortunately. Off the restart, I just ran my own race. The bike was so phenomenal; we made a few clicks just before the race and it paid off huge for us.”

The scrap for the remainder of the podium was considerably less predictable. Halbert jumped from fourth to second at the restart, with Brandon Robinson (HCRR Racing/Ben Evans Racing Indian FTR750), Briar Bauman (Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), Brandon Price (Roof Systems of Dallas, Texas Indian FTR750), and Bronson Bauman (Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) in close contention.

Reigning AFT SuperTwins Champion Briar Bauman ducked up the inside of Robinson at half-distance to take control of third. Robinson was then immediately pounced on by both Price and the second Bauman as well. Robinson managed to counter and reclaim fourth in short order, but the rapid string of overtakes allowed Halbert and Briar Bauman to shake free of what had been a five-rider pack to that point.

Halbert appeared in line for a runner-up result, only to have it stolen away from him on the final lap. Bauman slashed by up the inside with just a corner remaining to the checkered flag to minimize the damage done by Mees’ triumph.

The race result was just the first of 18 destined to determine the 2020 AFT SuperTwins Championship, but it was an important one nonetheless for Mees after surrendering the title to Bauman last season.

“I had some momentum at the end of the year,” Mees said. “I knew going into Minnesota last year, the #1 plate was probably coming off because Briar rode so well. He deserved it. The best man won. But I was hungry through the offseason and I want it back.”

Bronson Bauman ultimately edged Price and Robinson to take fourth as Indian FTR750s swept the top six positions.

Seventh, however, went to the talented rookie Dalton Gauthier (Harley-Davidson/Vance & Hines XG750R Rev X), whose impressive AFT SuperTwins debut hinted at even stronger results in the near future.

He was followed by factory H-D teammate Jarod Vanderkooi (Harley-Davidson/Vance & Hines XG750R Rev X), with Davis Fisher (BriggsAuto.com Indian FTR750) and JD Beach (Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) rounding out the top 10.

AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys

Rising star Max Whale (Coondoo Cattle Co./Australian Road Services Kawasaki KX450F) came away with the first victory of his American Flat Track career following a tense multi-rider shootout in 2020’s AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys opener.

2020 AFT Volusia Half-Mile 1 Results
Max Whale (18) won the AFT Singles main event.

The Australian ace established himself as the race favorite heading into the Main Event, but he had to work for it after getting a less-than-perfect start. That forced him to muscle his way past some of the sport’s most experienced riders, which he accomplished with seeming ease while still early in the race.

Whale never relinquished the lead once he had seized it. However, he still felt the pressure applied from close behind throughout, only eeking out a small gap in the contest’s final stages. Prior to his late escape, the battle for the win was a six-rider affair, with three former premier class standouts all looking to unlock a way past Whale and the win.

“I don’t think I could have got any better of a start to the year than this,” Whale said. “I’m pumped — I can’t believe it. I had a bit of an ordinary start and came from about fourth or fifth. It felt like that race went forever! I could just feel the boys breathing down my neck the whole time. I just tried to keep smooth, consistent laps. I knew if I made one mistake, I would be buried in the pack.”

Chad Cose (Wally Brown Racing/American Suzuki RM-Z450) ultimately finished second, taking the checkers just over a second off the win. He was followed home by Henry Wiles (RMR Honda/Honda Talon CRF450R), who kicked off his AFT Singles career with a promising podium debut.

2019 series runner-up Mikey Rush (Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) narrowly held on for fourth after swapping the position back and forth with Tanner Dean (1st Impressions Race Team Honda CRF450R).

A number of the sport’s brightest young talents followed just behind; Brandon Kitchen (Donley Excavating/TCD Suspension KTM 450 SX-F), Trevor Brunner (Demske Racing/KMA Racing Honda CRF450R), and James Ott (Media Home Inc./Pro-Tech Systems KTM 450 SX-F) came home in sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively, finishing just ahead of the class’ all-time winningest rider, Shayna Texter (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F), who opened her championship campaign in ninth.

AFT Production Twins

The AFT Production Twins class set the bar sky high for the 2020 American Flat Track season in the year’s very first Main Event. 2019 championship class runner-up Ryan Varnes (RVR/RoyBuilt Don’s Kawasaki Ninja 650) scooped the win in hugely entertaining fashion, storming around the outside of race-long leader James Rispoli (Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) in the contest’s final corner to steal away the checkered flag.

2020 AFT Volusia Half-Mile 1 Results
James Rispoli lead Production Twins winner Ryan Varnes.

Rispoli blasted off the line at the start, taking the holeshot and then opening an early advantage. The decorated roadracer then looked to run out the clock at the front in hopes of notching up his first national dirt track win in over a decade.

Varnes had his head down in pursuit throughout, reeling Rispoli into striking distance with just over a minute remaining on the timer. His first attempt to grab the advantage failed, however, as Rispoli foiled Varnes’ attempt to slide up the inside by holding firm on the line, the two making contact in the process.

Varnes lost ground in the melee but regrouped and set up his brilliant around-the-outside pass at the last possible opportunity with his rival anticipating another inside maneuver.

“There was a little contact,” Varnes admitted. “I figured I had to get aggressive out there in that Main Event. James rode a solid race the whole time and didn’t really leave any openings for me. I kind of just made my opportunity that one lap and he was able to hold me off and come back around. On that last lap, I had a run around the outside and thought, ‘I’m just going to go for it.’ I had to. I didn’t want to come in second, especially at the season opener. It was great. I can’t thank my team enough.”

Reigning AFT Production Twins champion Cory Texter (G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07) kicked off his title defense with a solid performance, rounding out the podium in third.

Texter tangled early with yet another multi-time national champion roadracer who’s returned to dirt track in Danny Eslick (Scott Powersports/R&D Machine Kawasaki Ninja 650). After temporarily losing third to Eslick, Texter clawed his way back through and put in a mid-race charge to narrow the gap to the front, securing the final spot on the box in the process.

Eslick held on for fourth, just 0.152 seconds ahead of Ben Lowe (Roof Systems of Dallas/Bruce Lowe Excavating Yamaha MT-07), with Nick Armstrong (Lessley Brothers Racing, Competitive SheetMetal Yamaha MT-07) another 0.274 seconds back in sixth.

2020 American Flat Track Series

Round 1

Volusia Half-Mile I

Volusia Speedway Park

Barberville, Florida

RESULTS (July 17, 2020)

AFT SuperTwins Main

1. Jared Mees (Ind) 19 laps
2. Briar Bauman (Ind) 0.947
3. Sammy Halbert (Ind) 1.345
4. Bronson Bauman (Ind) 5.439
5. Brandon Price (Ind) 6.448
6. Brandon Robinson (Ind) 6.866
7. Dalton Gauthier (H-D) 9.411
8. Jarod Vanderkooi (H-D) 11.036
9. Davis Fisher (Ind) 14.969
10. JD Beach (Yam) 17.038

 

AFT Singles Main

1. Max Whale (Kaw) 25 Laps
2. Chad Cose (Suz) 0.914
3. Henry Wiles (Hon) 0.976
4. Michael Rush (Yam) 1.021
5. Tanner Dean (Hon) 1.209
6. Brandon Kitchen (KTM) 1.311
7. Trevor Brunner (Hon) 3.031
8. James Ott (KTM) 4.592
9. Shayna Texter (KTM) 6.307
10. Jesse Janishch (Hus) 6.377

 

AFT Production Twins Main

1. Ryan Varnes (Kaw) 25 Laps
2. James Rispoli (H-D) 0.152
3. Cory Texter (Yam) 3.842
4. Danny Eslick (Kaw) 7.142
5. Ben Lowe (Yam) 7.294
6. Nick Armstrong (Yam) 7.569
7. Morgen Mischler (Kaw) 10.447
8. Jeremiah Duffy (Kaw) 12.638
9. Cody Johncox (Yam) 24 Laps
10. Mitch Harvat (Kaw) 4.412

Click here for all the latest Flat Track Racing racing news.