WEEDSPORT, NY – August 13, 2021 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750) beat the odds on multiple fronts to score an inspiring victory in the Mission Foods New York Short Track I presented by Mad Max Indian Motorcycle on Friday night at Weedsport Speedway in Weedsport, New York.
Already riding wounded after suffering a broken foot and missing multiple rounds earlier this season, Halbert was forced to sit out the evening’s Mission Challenge following a heavy fall as a result of being taken out in his Semi.
Despite it all, Halbert rose up to grab the lead away from double defending Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) two minutes into the 10-minute-plus-two-lap Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle Main Event.
Unsurprisingly, Bauman did not go away that easily. He instantly altered his lines to mimic Halbert’s and went into full-on Friday the 13th stalking mode for almost the entirety of the remainder of the race.
With less than 30 seconds on the clock, Bauman finally threw an attempt up the inside of Halbert, even as the Coolbeth-Nila Racing ace sat tight on the bottom line. The champ grabbed the advantage momentarily, but the combination of a big handful of throttle and ultra-slick surface nearly sent Bauman to the ground.
Halbert went right back by as a result, only to see Bauman return with a similar, albeit more measured strike. Still, Halbert had an answer and successfully countered yet again. He then rebuked any further attempts with some precision bike placement to the flag en route to his 15th career premier-class victory.
“That was awesome — I love it!” Halbert said. “I was fired up to say the least. I just had to focus in and be smart. He was trying those block passes on me and I just had to use my years of experience to keep it on the bottom and not let him get the best of me. I know he’s so aggressive going for these wins, so I did not give him an opening and we brought it home.”
Despite narrowly missing out on a third successive victory, Bauman still managed to expand his title lead to 33 points with seven races remaining.
Meanwhile, Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) ran down the resurgent Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City FTR750) and beat him to the line by 0.307 seconds to secure the final spot on the podium.
Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) came out on top of a four-way fight for fifth, out-dueling an impressive JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) as well as his Mission Roof Systems teammates Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) and Brandon Price (No. 92 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) for the position.
Davis Fisher (No. 67 BMC Racing/Dick Wall 60 Indian FTR750) and home-state hero Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) rounded out the top ten.
Reigning AFT Singles king Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) scored a thrilling, last-lap victory over Trevor Brunner (No. 21 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) to reignite his title defense with aplomb.
Daniels spent the second half the race clawing his way back up to Brunner, who had somehow managed to eek away from an intense battle for the lead that also included the likes of Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Mission Roof Systems KTM 450 SX-F), Henry Wiles (No. 17 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R), Ferran Cardús (No. 377 Roof Systems of Dallas TX/Bullet Strong Racing RM-Z450) and Trent Lowe (No. 48 WBR/Suzuki Motor of America RM-Z450).
With the lines constantly evolving, the final laps saw Brunner and Daniels hugged low and tight and Mischler and Cardús circulating high and wide, all running with nearly equal efficiency. Just when Brunner looked to have a second-career Progressive AFT win within his grasp, Daniels made a last-gasp push to eliminate the distance to his one-time amateur foe.
With a lap-and-a-half to go, Daniels slid up the inside to steal a slight advantage. The two then took the white flag running side-by-side, but the Estenson Yamaha ace held the inside line and made it work to the checkered flag with 0.129 seconds to spare.
Afterward, Daniels said, “These last few weeks have been some of the toughest parts — just getting used to dealing with pressure and not having the finishes we want. (Team manager) Tommy Hayden told me the problem wasn’t going to fix itself, so I said, ‘All right, I’ve to go out there and do something about it.’ And that’s exactly what we did.”
Mischler railed his way to third — his sixth podium on the season and third third-place in succession — while Lowe snatched fourth away from weekend teammate Cardús at the stripe by 0.042 seconds.
Early leader Wiles faded to sixth, finishing one position ahead of championship leader Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE). The seventh-place finish marked the Aussie’s worst result of the season, allowing Daniels to close to within two points heading into tomorrow’s rematch.
AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Breakaway AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines title leader Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) went wire-to-wire to notch up his fifth victory of the 2021 season.
Among his many strengths as a rider, perhaps the most consequential is Texter’s uncanny ability to bolt off the line and take the holeshot with regularity. He did so again on Friday night and leveraged the clear track to work up an immediate one-second gap. That ultimately proved vital in his efforts to deny a hard-charging Cameron Smith (No. 44 Fredericktown Yamaha/Richie Reynolds Racing MT-07) a maiden Progressive AFT win.
Despite starting with the last pick on Row 2, Smith made quick work of a talented group of pursuers that included Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R), Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield Twins FT), and Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07).
He drove up the inside of Gauthier with over four-and-a-half minutes remaining to move into second and then set his sights on the escaping Texter. Over the next several minutes, Smith made up a fraction here and a fraction there. That hard work nearly positioned Smith within striking distance as the two opened the final lap with a group of lappers ahead.
Despite that promise of drama, Texter carved his way through without incident to climb back atop the podium following two consecutive third-place finishes.
“I’m just gonna dig,” Texter said. “I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity to get on the front row and get a holeshot. It was a technical track and I’m happy with this (win). It’s been a long few weeks since Port Royal, and I’m happy to be back up here.”
Gauthier gritted out a podium some six seconds in arrears. The Port Royal HM victor was in serious pain throughout the Main after catching his inside foot in a hole during his Semi but still managed to fight his way to third.
Fourth went to Lewis following a highly entertaining battle with Bromley that saw the two square each other up and trade positions just about every corner deep into the contest. Bromley fell off the chase for the position late and came home a lonely fifth.
The Mission Foods New York Short Track presented by Mad Max Indian Motorcycle doubleheader will air back-to-back on NBCSN on Sunday, August 22, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT, featuring exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage.
The stars of Progressive American Flat Track will be back on track at Weedsport Speedway on Saturday night to complete the Mission Foods New York Short Track presented by Mad Max Indian Motorcycle doubleheader. Visit https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3376/#selectTickets to purchase tickets now. For those viewing from home, live coverage will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
About Progressive American Flat Track
Progressive American Flat Track is the world’s premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on Progressive American Flat Track, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check us out on Instagram, live stream the events with TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and catch all the Progressive American Flat Track racing action on NBCSN.
Source: Progressive American Flat Track