DAYTONA BEACH, FL – March 14, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – After much anticipation, the time has finally arrived for American Flat Track to launch into a new era for Pro Flat Track. On March 16, the 2017 season kicks off with the Harley-Davidson DAYTONA TT presented by Politis & Matovina on an all-new purpose built TT track inside the famous tri-oval of Daytona International Speedway.
Taking center stage in the season’s debut is the newly reborn rivalry between two American heavyweights – Harley-Davidson vs. Indian Motorcycle. Harley-Davidson’s factory three of Kenny Coolbeth Jr., Jake Johnson and Brandon Robinson will go up against Indian Motorcycle’s three-rider “Wrecking Crew” to launch their campaign amongst the best flat track racers in the world for the Grand National Championship in the newly restructured premier AFT Twins class. The season-opener also marks the first time in 20 years that twins will race a TT (Tourist Trophy) event, which incorpates a jump and right-hand turn on a .6-mile layout.
For the first time in four years, defending Grand National Champion Bryan Smith (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) and rival Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) will line up on similar machinery. Smith is looking to get his title defense off to a good start and score his first TT win. On the flipside, Mees is looking for some redemption and to take that number one plate back in 2017.
Both riders are looking to take home Indian’s first win on the Scout FTR750 as well as Smith’s teammate Brad Baker (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) who makes the move from Harley-Davidson to the Indian factory squad in 2017.
Last year’s third-place finisher in the point standings, Robinson (No. 44 Harley-Davidson Factory Team XG750R), is looking for his first TT win, which would be the perfect way to start his campaign for his first ever Grand National Championship.
While Robinson searches for his first, teammates Johnson (No. 5 Harley-Davidson Factory Team XG750R) and Coolbeth (No. 2 Harley-Davidson Factory Team XG750R) are looking to get back to their Grand National Championship form and take home the first win on Harley-Davidson’s new-age flat tracker – the XG750R.
There are some fast wildcards in the mix that could steal the factory riders’ thunder – Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07), TT specialist Henry Wiles on the No. 17 Kawasaki Ninja 650 and 2016 GNC2 Champion (now AFT Singles) Ryan Wells on the No. 94 BriggsAuto.com Kawasaki Ninja 650.
The 2016 GNC2 runner-up Dalton Gauthier (No. 22 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) looks to take home the crown in the all-new AFT Singles class in 2017. Tristan Avery (No. 16 Ron Ayers Honda CRF450R) and Kolby Carlile (No. 36 K.C. Cycle Honda CRF450R), a couple other riders in the mix in 2016, are also looking for their first professional title. Daytona Beach-based Richie Morris Racing will field the No., 52 Honda for Shayna Texter.
Bringing some international flavor to the AFT Singles class is 2016 Spanish Flat Track Champion Ferran Cardus (No. 377 Neumaticos Hermanos Rojas/Moto Grau Honda CRF450R) and runner up Franc Serra (No. 318 Honda Alonso Racing Team/Bell Honda CRF450R). The Spaniards will make their debut in the American Flat Track series under the lights in Daytona as a reward for their results in the inaugural season of the RFME Copa de Flat Track Championship last year. Also making the trek across the pond is British Flat Track racer Oliver Brindley on the No. 124 Kawasaki UK KX450F.
The season opener will host a variety of entertainment spectacles, including the luxurious Ace Cafe Fan Zone with vintage and modern motorcycle displays, and live music from the new-age honky-tonk band Giddy Up Go. Also, motorcycle racing legend Jay Springsteen will headline American Flat Track’s inaugural Daytona event as Grand Marshal. All of the racing action begins with the AFT Twins and AFT Singles practice sessions at 2:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. PT) with Opening Ceremonies commencing at 6:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. PT). Live coverage of the Harley-Davidson DAYTONA TT presented by Politis & Matovina can be viewed on FansChoice.tv. Tickets for the DAYTONA TT are now on sale and can be purchased at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.
Fans can also keep up-to-date with race day action by following American Flat Track on Facebook (American Flat Tack), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack).
Source: American Flat Track