DAYTONA BEACH, FL – August 2, 2022 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – This weekend, Progressive American Flat Track will play a starring role in the 82nd Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with the Progressive Black Hills Half-Mile presented by Saddlemen at Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, South Dakota, on Saturday, August 6.
The visit will mark the first time since 2019 that the series has joined the massive event, which sees some 500,000 motorcycling enthusiasts make the annual trek to Sturgis, South Dakota.
The fans in attendance on Saturday evening will be treated to a red-hot Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle title fight. Led by archrivals Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) and Briar Bauman (No. 3 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), the separation at the top is a mere three points (188-185).
Defending champion and current points leader Mees has won at Black Hills Speedway on three prior occasions (‘15, ‘17, and ‘18). Should he win here again this year, he’ll be just one Half-Mile win short of equaling the legendary Scott Parker for most all-time (35) and with the season-ending Mission Volusia Half-Mile Finale still in play.
However, Bauman is the series’ most recent winner at the venue, having taken top honors in 2019.
This weekend’s race also represents the second round of the Progressive Triple Crown, which will pay the premier-class rider who scores the highest points tally across a specified combination of Short Track, Half-Mile, and Miles a $25,000 prize.
Estenson Racing Yamaha aces JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) currently hold the advantage after going 1-2 at its first round, the Mission Laconia Short Track, back in June. And the two roll into Rapid City with momentum on their side after Beach reigned supreme in last weekend’s SC2 Peoria TT with Daniels joining him on the box.
In fact, Bauman and Mees currently rank 5-6 in the Progressive Triple Crown standings, respectively, trailing not only Beach and Daniels, but also Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) and Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R).
Bauman, in particular, is likely to receive significant support from a big contingent of Harley fans at Sturgis. And those fans are bound to have some serious rooting interest in the return of Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Dodge Brothers Racing/Happy Trails Racing Harley-Davidson XR750), who finished as runner-up to Bauman here in 2019.
And yes, you read that correctly; Carver will pilot a Harley-Davidson XR750. Is it possible he could add a sixth decade to the iconic machine’s historic wins list after previously taking it to what was presumed to be its final victory back in 2017?
Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) comes in riding high after stringing together the two best weekends of his professional career at the Mission Port Royal Half-Mile and SC2 Peoria TT. In fact, it’s been since the Mission New York Short Track one month ago today that Janisch has landed anywhere other than #1 in the results, be it practice, qualifying, Semi, or Main Event.
The last rider to hold that position other than Janisch is defending class champion Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07), who is currently engaged in a hard-fought battle to secure a third and final Mission Production Twins crown. Texter could use a big weekend in Rapid City to even the odds a bit and set the stage for a highly entertaining run down the stretch.
Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Corbin Seats/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07) could have a huge say as well. While he’s not in title contention himself after running a partial schedule earlier this year, Bromley is shaping up to be a serious spoiler. Consider that he’s either finished ahead of both Texter and Janisch or between the two in all four of his ‘22 starts (all podium finishes for that matter).
Despite the mammoth gap from 2nd to 3rd in the championship chase, several other riders have shown the capacity to battle for wins on any given week. That group includes Nick Armstrong (No. 60 Competitive Racing Frames/Lessley Brothers Yamaha MT-07), Billy Ross (No. 109 Mission Foods/Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R), Cameron Smith (No. 34 Thee Cathy Gray/Al Barker Yamaha MT-07), and Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650).
The four-race run of domination by Kody Kopp (No. 12 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) finally came to an end in Peoria. But now it’s up to his Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER rivals to demonstrate that it wasn’t just a TT-specific temporary halt of form.
While Kopp is expected to be a major force again this weekend, last weekend’s 1-2 was an encouraging performance from two-time championship runner-up Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) and this year’s second-ranked Morgen Mischler (No. 13 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R). Should either rider catch fire now, they each have the potential to rip off a series of wins of their own and change the narrative, at least to some degree.
Some other fast riders are just looking to get their first win, either of the year, such as Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), or of their career, like Trent Lowe (No. 48 Mission Foods/Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda CRF450R) and rookie Chase Saathoff (No. 106 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R).
And don’t forget about the class’ most recent winner here, Chad Cose (No. 49 1st Impressions Race Team/Voodoo Ranger Honda CRF450R), who earned his first-career Parts Unlimited AFT Singles victory at the track back in 2019.
The Progressive Black Hills Half-Mile will host Round 5 of 7 for Royal Enfield’s crowd-pleasing BUILD. TRAIN. RACE. program which serves to highlight and celebrate women and motorcycle culture in North America. The question remains the same: Can anyone stop Jaycee Jones (No. 33 Royal Enfield/S&S Cycle Royal Enfield INT650)? Jones is on a serious roll, having built up a big title advantage on the strength of three consecutive wins heading into this weekend’s race in Rapid City.
Along with a multitude of Sturgis-related activities, there will be plenty to keep fans entertained off the track at Black Hills Speedway as well, including numerous vendors. Six-time AMA Supercross/Motocross Champion and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jeff Stanton will serve as the event’s Grand Marshal, while Riki Rachtman is certain to be a popular figure with the Sturgis fans as he returns to provide additional color from the pits for this weekend’s broadcast.
Visit https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3696/ to reserve your tickets today. General Admission Grandstand tickets start at just $25 with kids 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult. Premium General Admission Grandstand tickets are available for $50 and offer outstanding views from the most centrally located seating along the front stretch of the racetrack.
Paddock Access Upgrades are also available for purchase, which provide all-day access to the pits where fans can scope out the world’s fastest dirt track motorcycles and get up close and personal with the stars of the sport.
Gates will open for fans at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT with Opening Ceremonies scheduled to begin at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT ahead of the day’s Main Event program. You can catch the livestream of all the weekend’s racing activities on FansChoice.tv. FansChoice.tv provides free-to-view livestreaming of Practice and Qualifying. FansChoice.tv subscribers will then be able to watch the drama unfold from Opening Ceremonies through the Semis, Main Events, and podium celebrations. FansChoice.tv offers two subscription options, granting unlimited access to premium AFT content. Monthly subscriptions start at just $7.99, while a six-month subscription is available for $44.99.
The Progressive Black Hills Half-Mile presented by Saddlemen will premiere on FS1 on Sunday, August 14, at 12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT, including exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage, and expert commentary.
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com. To score the latest gear for the Progressive American Flat Track fan, visit our official merchandise store at https://store.americanflattrack.com.
FOX Sports and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of Progressive American Flat Track. For the 2022 season, all races will premiere in one-hour telecasts on FS1 during highly desirable weekend time slots. The complete schedule can be viewed at https://www.americanflattrack.com/events-foxsports. FansChoice.tv provides livestreaming coverage of every Progressive AFT round at http://www.FansChoice.tv.
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 us on the web, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check us out on Instagram and catch all the Progressive American Flat Track racing action on FOX Sports.
Source: Progressive American Flat Track