PEORIA, IL – August 22, 2021 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) added a highlight achievement to his lengthy list of racing accomplishments, winning the 74th Law Tigers Peoria TT presented by Country Saloon at PMC Race Park in Peoria, Illinois, on Saturday afternoon.
Beach came into the weekend with the reputation as one of the very best TT riders in the Progressive American Flat Track paddock. That reputation was well-earned; he boasted three victories in the most recent four Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle TT Main Events, with a third-place finish in the 2019 Peoria TT standing the only blemish on that record. The ultra-versatile Beach got his revenge today, brushing off the race-long pressure applied by the ‘19 winner, reigning Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), to earn one of the most coveted checkered flags in the sport.
Beach made quick work of holeshot winner Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) and then fully exploited the temporary head start he held over Bauman, who made an identical move up the inside of Mees in Turn 2 just over a minute later. That short minute, however, provided Beach with the time to accumulate an early 1.123-second advantage.
Bauman stalked his way up toward Beach as the race developed. He cut the advantage to 0.837 as they took the halfway flags and then further decreased the difference to 0.509 with two minute to go. And that gap promised to evaporate to nothing when the leaders ran up the backside of a big pack of lappers just when the clock dipped under the one-minute-to-go mark.
However, a couple minor miscues on the part of Bauman allowed Beach to knife through unchallenged, spoiling any last-lap plans the champ may have formulated during his pursuit.
After securing his fourth career premier-class victory, Beach said, “I just trusted the bike and the team, and it was a lot of fun. For me and the team, it’s nice because we’ve one ‘Super TTs’ and these one-off races, but to win a real flat track race feels great. We had an awesome day and to end it like this is great.”
Mees appeared to be on the wane after being passed by Beach and Bauman, also surrendering third place to Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) a few minutes later. However, the factory Indian ace regrouped and took the position back to end the race on the podium. That determined effort may prove important; Bauman now leads Mees by 25 points (217-192) with a critically important stretch of four consecutive Miles looming on the horizon.
Vanderkooi, meanwhile, upped his top-five streak to nine in fourth, while Robert Pearson (No. 27 Rackley Racing/John Franklin Indian FTR750) came out on top of a huge multi-rider slugfest for fifth.
The AFT Singles Main Event was arguably the most anticipated of the weekend, with “King” Henry Wiles (No. 17 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) and his 14-race Peoria win streak set to square off with reigning champion and fellow Peoria genius Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F). In fact, a rain delay and subsequent schedule reshuffle even moved the class Main Event to the end-of-the-program slot customarily reserved for Mission SuperTwins.
The hype only intensified after Wiles and Daniels won their Semis, while Brandon Kitchen (No. 105 Husqvarna Motorcycles/Vance & Hines Husqvarna FC450) added the spice of a potential spoiler, flashing Wiles-bettering speed in the lead-up to the Main.
However, the Main Event provided even more drama than anyone expected (or wanted). Daniels took the holeshot and immediately built up a small gap from Wiles. However, the race had barely gotten underway when the Estenson Racing prodigy nearly lost the jump landing from the front, veering into the wet grass and crashing to the ground.
Kitchen was the next to go down; he fell hard from second-place in the same area with his bike tumbling over the fence and into the creek, bringing out the red flag.
A lap down and starting from the back of the field, Daniels ripped past half the field following the restart. Unfortunately, his day soon took an even worse turn. A massive headshake suffered while pulling away a tear-off sent him over the bars at speed on the front straight, forcing yet another stoppage.
Wiles continued to control the race up front all the while, assembling his third big gap of the race before a last-lap red flag following a Trevor Brunner (No. 21 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) crash brought the Main to a conclusion.
Now with a 15-race Peoria TT win streak to his name, the triumphant Wiles said, “We gutted it out today. It was a bummer to see Dallas go down… He had a little gap on me. I came in here just praying today and thanking God for all my blessings because I’ve had so many of them just at this track alone. I was getting a little emotional coming in here, and it almost seemed like fate that I made that little mistake before Daniels went off the track over there. It was definitely interesting on how things worked out. I really hope everybody who fell is okay.”
Perhaps the biggest winner on the day was Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE). What originally looked to be a task of damage minimization ended with a runner-up result after Whale outdueled Wiles’ teammates, Cole Zabala (No. 51 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) and Brunner.
As a result, Whale leapt from two points back to 16 up on Daniels (196-180) with just five races remaining.
Zabala rounded out the podium with Brunner being credited in fourth despite his late crash.
Behind, Ferran Cardús (No. 377 Roof Systems of Dallas/Bullet Strong Racing Honda CRF450R) came out on top of a scrap with fellow high-profile wild card Ryan Sipes (No. 264 Red Bull/Troy Lee Designs GASGAS MC450F) to complete the top five.
AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
2018 AFT Singles champion Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07) scored his maiden AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines victory in a charging performance at Peoria.
The Pennsylvanian worked his way up from an early fourth to chase down race-long leader Ben Lowe (No. 25 Mission Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07), finally executing the race’s decisive maneuver entering Turn 1 with just five seconds (plus two laps) remaining on the clock.
Much of the pre-race talk revolved around the fact that Vance & Hines drafted in a pair of TT titans in Hayden Gillim (No. 59 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) and Jesse Janisch (No. 96 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) to fill-in for the injured Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R). A 1-2 for the super subs seemed like not only a possibility but a probability after they powered to victories in their respective Semifinals.
However, their threatening presence actually turned out to be a boon for Bromley. In the end, the duo finished third (Janisch) and fourth (Gillim), providing an additional points buffer between third-ranked Bromley and championship leader Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing MT-07).
Texter, meanwhile, had his work cut out for him from the jump. While clutch issues in his Semi forced him to start from the back, he still managed to battle his way up to sixth at the checkered flag. Ultimately, that allowed him to extend his points advantage to nearly two full races (49 points) over Gauthier.
Bromley, who is just five points further adrift, said, “I knew coming in here this was going to be one of the most physically demanding tracks. I tried training as hard as I could and my mechanic, Nick Henderson, was sending me motivational speeches, books, everything, just to try to get me in the right mindset.
The coolest thing was, for me, the rougher the track and the harder I rode, the easier it was. Toward the end of the race, every lap I caught Ben by about five feet. A lapper held him up a little bit and I was able to capitalize on that. I came through on the next lap and was able to get the win. To be up here is amazing.”
Lima winner Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield Twins FT) came home between Gillim and Texter to round out the top five.
The Law Tigers Peoria TT presented by Country Saloon will premiere on NBCSN on Sunday, August 29, at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT, featuring exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage.
From one legendary race weekend to another without even leaving the state borders; Progressive American Flat Track will next travel to Springfield, Illinois for a massive double-doubleheader. On Friday, September 3, the AFT Singles will pack in two complete rounds in one evening for the Springfield Short Track Doubleheader. And then the twin-cylinder machines will challenge the epic Mile course for the Memphis Shades Springfield Mile I presented by Law Tigers on Saturday, September 4, and the Memphis Shades Springfield Mile II presented by Law Tigers on Sunday, September 5. To purchase tickets, visit https://www.americanflattrack.com/events/2021/view/springfield-short-track-doubleheader and https://www.americanflattrack.com/events/2021/view/springfield-mile-i-2021. 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.
For more information, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com.
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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