JOLIET, IL – June 1, 2021 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Max Whale rose to the top of Saturday’s Chicago Half-Mile to capture his first AFT Singles Main Event victory of the season at Round 5 of the 2021 American Flat Track Championship. Combined with teammate Shayna Texter-Bauman’s two wins at the beginning of the season, the Aussie delivered Red Bull KTM its third Main Event victory in the first four rounds of racing.
The weekend started out with very dry conditions, which proved to be a struggle in qualifying and the semis but the track developed differently throughout the day and moisture finally made its way to the surface at night. With a positive change in conditions, the riders felt more comfortable heading into the Main Event and the racing action was nothing short of exciting as a result. For Whale, the day began favorably as he qualified fourth to carry a front row start position into AFT Singles Semi 2. With a second-place start, Whale powered his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION into the lead by lap three and he never looked back, claiming the Semi win.
With a front row start for the Main Event, Whale got off to a fourth-place start and worked his way up to third by lap three. He shifted around in the top-three battle for the first half of the race, eventually moving into the lead midway through the race. He continued to dice back-and-forth with the front-runners late in the race but he eventually made it stick heading into the final laps. He put his head down and maintained a flawless performance to clinch the win with a hard-charging duo close behind.
Whale: “That Main Event was so much fun. I found a line early on in the race that was working well. As the race went on, I noticed a front wheel a couple times on the inside and the outside, so I knew I could change it up. I started switching up my line about halfway through and found one and it stayed there. I’m so pumped about that.”
Shayna Texter-Bauman was able to turn her day around after a tough start in qualifying. Shayna ended up 13th overall in qualifying, seeding her into a second row start for AFT Singles Semi 1. She charged her KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION to a fourth-place start and maintained that position until two laps to go, ultimately slipping back to sixth.
In the Main Event, Shayna had a third-row start and she charged her way up to a top-10 position by lap eight. With very little distance separating the sixth through 14th-place riders, Texter found herself in an intense multi-rider battle where she ultimately came away with 10th.
Texter-Bauman: “Overall, I’m pretty happy with how we finished given the track conditions and this usually being a place I’ve struggled in the past. In the Main Event, the track was super slippery and I was having a little bit of trouble getting the bike to work well coming into the corners. We were all in a pack racing together and it was hard to get fresh air and ride my own race. We battled the entire race and we came home 10th but it easily could have been a sixth place – we were that close to them. I’m looking forward to the OKC Mile coming up, I’ve won that race and podiumed before, so I’m super excited.”
Next Race: OKC Mile (double header) – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – June 18 and 19, 2021
AFT Singles Main Event – Chicago Half-Mile
1. Max Whale, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2. Morgen Mischler, KTM
3. Michael Rush, YAM
10. Shayna Texter-Bauman, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
13. James Ott, KTM
15. Hunter Bauer, KTM
17. Aiden RoosEvans, KTM
AFT Singles Point Standings (After Round 5)
1. Dallas Daniels, 75 points
2. Michael Rush, 74
3. Max Whale, 68
4. Shayna Texter-Bauman, 59
5. Morgen Mischler, 49
Source: KTM North America, Inc.