This just in from AFT:
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 25, 2022) – Sunday’s inaugural Drag Specialties Cedar Lake Short Track at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisconsin, received plenty of advance billing as a monumentally important round in determining this year’s Progressive American Flat Track championships. It certainly lived up to the hype.
With all eyes focused on the four primary Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle title contenders, fifth-ranked Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) stole the spotlight early with a heroic performance in the first of the day’s two premier-class tilts.
Despite starting from pole, Robinson was immediately swallowed up by both JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and Briar Bauman (No. 3 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) as they rushed into the race’s opening corner.
However, a couple short minutes later, Robinson saw a path for the lead presented when Bauman pushed up the inside of Beach and both riders went high. Things got even dicier after Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) shot for the same gap, nudging into Robinson, who then pinballed into Bauman in turn.
Everyone escaped the fray relatively unscathed – save Robinson – who found himself with no brakes following the contact. Unexpectedly, that seeming misfortune only further unlocked the Mission Roof System’s rider’s form, who transformed the potential pitfall into an unstoppable pace.
He explained, “When Briar made the aggressive pass on JD and the door kind of opened, I got a little shove from behind from Mees into Briar, and I broke my brake pedal right off. I had no brakes from like lap 3. I was just rolling. I was scared to death for the first few laps, but after I figured it out I realized I could carry some good corner speed… That was the most insane race I’ve ever done in my entire life. Awesome!”
Mees and Beach later worked past Bauman to round out the podium behind Robinson. Behind, Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) overcame the respective challenges of Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Dodge Brothers Racing/Happy Trails Racing Harley-Davidson XR750) and Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) to complete the top five.
As thrilling as the first Mission SuperTwins Main Event may have been, the real fireworks were reserved for the second. The same names resumed their fight for the lead and things were racy from the green light.
Bauman made quick work of Beach to claim the lead. Mees pushed Beach up the track in his attempt to keep pace with Bauman, which then opened the door for Robinson to power past both.
Mees later pulled the same move on Robinson, which allowed Beach to glide back past both and back into second – albeit temporarily as Mees quickly reclaimed the position.
A red flag bunched the pack back up and set the stage for the day’s biggest drama. First, Mees went around the outside of Bauman to steal away the lead off the start. Bauman attempted to counter with an inside strike. In doing so, he made contact with Mees, sending the reigning champion into the dirt, which brought out a second red flag.
Both riders were assessed to have caused the stoppage and were therefore forced to start from the back. Beach took maximum advantage of the situation, edging Robinson for the win.
Daniels, meanwhile, also capitalized in a major way by coming home in third just ahead of Vanderkooi and fifth-place finisher Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R).
Mees managed to claw his way up from 14th to eighth, while Bauman faded from his charge and ended up out of the race and credited with 16th.
Mees will now head to the season-ending doubleheader with a 16-point lead over Daniels (261-245). Beach moves up to third, another two points back (243), while Bauman has dropped all the way from second to fourth, some 22 points out of first. Robinson remains mathematically alive as well following his big day, as he sits 49 points back of Mees in fifth (212).
Beach said, “It’s getting close to the end of the season, and I know everyone wants to race hard… It was definitely a tough race, and we definitely made up some points, but I hate for it to happen like that. We’ve still got two more rounds to go and our bike just seems like it keeps getting better and better. We picked up another win, and we’ll just keep working.”
Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Defending Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) came through in the clutch to secure his fourth win of the season while breathing new life into his once fading title defense hopes.
Riding with an edge, Texter made a pair of slick passes early on to fight past Cameron Smith (No. 34 Thee Cathy Gray/Al Barker Yamaha MT-07) and points leader Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R).
The two title rivals then battled at the head of a six-rider lead pack before a red flag momentarily stopped the intense action with just over a minute remaining.
Janisch made an outside challenge on Texter off the staggered restart. But after his bid fell short, he found himself overtaken by both Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Corbin Seats/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07) and Smith.
Janisch managed to recover in time to earn himself a spot on the podium behind Texter and Bromley. However, his third-place finish was exactly what Texter needed as the two-time class champion once again has control over his own destiny.
Texter closed back to within nine points of Janisch (284-275), setting up a potential winner-take-all doubleheader at Volusia Speedway Park.
“What a dicey Main Event!” Texter said. “I just wanted to give this a go. When they added a second round at Volusia, it was an opportunity for me. We’ll take it, but Jesse is riding so good that even when he’s off, he finds a way to lead laps and get in the mix.
“We’ve got two more… I’m just going to enjoy it. These wins are hard to come by. I’m super thankful it’s coming down to these last two races. Win or lose, racing is what I do, it’s not who I am, so at the end of the day, it’s a good day.”
Smith finished fourth with Bromley’s teammate, Cole Zabala (No. 51 Memphis Shades/Corbin Seats/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07), rounding out the top five.
Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER
While both twin-cylinder classes saw major developments in their ongoing title fights, neither could match the Sunday accomplishment of Kody Kopp (No. 12 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE), who locked up the 2022 Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER championship to secure the first crown of his young professional racing career.
While Kopp demonstrated race-winning speed all day, he merely did what he needed to in the Main Event in to clinch the title. The KTM ace followed directly in the wheel tracks of rival Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) to finish fourth while brushing away the advances of eventual fifth-place finisher Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R).
As a result, Kopp now boasts an unassailable 51-point advantage over third-place finisher (and newly second-ranked) Brunner with just two races remaining on the season slate.
“I’ve been dreaming of this ever since I started racing,” the new champ said. “It’s pretty surreal. I can’t even believe it. I didn’t want to force the deal, but I wanted to get it done today. It’s just been a picture-perfect season. I want to give it up to my team and my family. I’m speechless… This is awesome.”
Just as satisfied was race winner Chad Cose (No. 49 1st Impressions Race Team/Voodoo Ranger Honda CRF450R), who overcame the determined efforts of Trent Lowe (No. 48 Mission Foods/Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda CRF450R) to become the first rider representing an independent team to win at Parts Unlimited AFT Singles Main Event this season.
“It’s just a whole team effort,” Cose said. “It’s not easy competing with all these guys and all these teams who have all this money, but we have a lot of heart. (1st Impressions Race Team owner) Eric Hoyt believed in me when a lot of people didn’t. This one is super emotional. To win this is no small feat. I’m really going to cherish this one a lot.”
The Drag Specialties Cedar Lake Short Track will premiere on FS1 on Sunday, October 2, at 10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT, including exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage, and expert commentary.
The epic 2022 Progressive AFT season will conclude at the Mission Volusia Half-Mile Finale presented by Daytona Dodge doubleheader at Volusia Speedway Park, in Barberville, Florida, on Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15. Visit https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/4054/ to reserve your tickets today.