Flat Track first for Daniels and Yamaha

Dallas Daniels (32) takes on Jared Mees in Lexington, Ky. (AFT photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – It was a night of firsts as Progressive American Flat Track enjoyed an epic night of racing at the Mission Red Mile I presented by Indian Motorcycle of Lexington.

After 14 minutes and two laps of heart-pounding action in front of huge Red Mile crowds, Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle rookie Dallas Daniels (#32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) has officially added his name to the exclusive roster first-class Main Event winners.

But before Daniels’ euphoria, it was heartbreaking for teammate JD Beach (#95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT). Beach had established himself as the rider to beat going into the main race, but he was unlucky to be kicked out by mechanical issues minutes into the race.

That left defending champion Jared Mees (#1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), Daniels and Mission Production Twins Challenge entrant James Rispoli (#43 Wally Brown Racing/Haversack KTM 890 Duke) to go head-to-head in the leading pack.

The heartbreak trend continued a few minutes later when Bronson Bauman’s machine (#37 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) spilled oil on the circuit while running fourth, forcing a stop at the red flag near halfway.

The race resumed with Mees, Daniels and Rispoli sitting 1-2-3, and Brandon Robinson (#44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) joining the lead pack in fourth. While Rispoli peaked a few times, it was Mees and Daniels who traded first and second for the remainder of the contest.

Mees lined up Daniels and performed what he hoped would be the decisive maneuver of the race as he entered turn three for the final time. He nailed it perfectly and seemed destined to keep his perfect Red Mile streak intact, until the last moment when Daniels blasted to the boards to steal the victory by 0.008 seconds.

The win was not only Daniels’ first in the premier class, it was also Yamaha’s first on a Mile dating back to Kenny Roberts’ legendary win aboard the TZ750 at the 1975 Indy Mile. became the first rookie to win in the premier class since Mikey Rush won at Daytona in 2007 and the first rookie to win on a Mile since Scott Parker did so at Indy in 1979.

“I can’t believe I won a Grand National,” Daniels said. “I’ve dreamed of it all my life. It’s been a long road for me and the team. These guys have worked hard. It’s been a long road since they started, and I know it’s been so rewarding for them.

“Taking my dad on that lap of honor…I’ve been talking about it since I was eight. We did it… It’s great!

Rispoli held onto third place to become the first Mission Production Twins Challenge rider to step onto the Mission SuperTwins podium and add to what was already an incredible debut for the WBR KTM.

Robinson came in fourth, followed by another Mission Production Twins Challenge rider in Ben Lowe (#25 Mission Foods/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07) to round out the top five.

If anyone has forgotten how dominant James Rispoli (#43 Wally Brown Racing/Haversack KTM 890 Duke) was when he won the 2020 Mission Production Twins Championship Presented by Vance & Hines, he provided a reminder of the most convincing on Saturday evening.
Rispoli returned to the class at the Red Mile to debut the WBR KTM 890 Duke and did it in style. He not only made the bike a winner, he did it in blistering fashion, leading from start to finish.

The only rider who even managed to keep it honest was Jesse Janisch (#33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R). Janisch hung behind him just outside the draft, but he never managed to present a realistic challenge to Rispoli’s position up front.

While Rispoli may have enjoyed a drama-free run to victory, the battle for the final podium spot was most entertaining. A tight field of five riders made up of the returning Michael Rush (#15 Hellipower Racing/Las Vegas Harley-Davidson XG750R), Ryan Varnes (#68 Schaeffer’s Motorsports/Rausch Fuel & Oil KTM 890 Duke), Ben Lowe (# 25 Mission Foods/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07), Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) and Nick Armstrong (No. 60 Competitive Racing Frames/Lessley Brothers Yamaha MT-07).

Among many shuffles, points leader Armstrong consistently dropped from seventh to third, but went off the pace and dropped back to seventh, erasing all his hard work.

Defending champion Texter did what he does and came out late as he and Lowe dropped out for third in the final two rounds. In the end, Texter took the 0.122 position to continue a streak of three consecutive podiums. However, he is still three points behind Armstrong in the championship chase after Armstrong moved up to fifth at the flag.

Combining the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by the KICKER class and a big Mile circuit is usually the recipe for ultra-tight pack warfare. Saturday’s showdown was no exception.

No less than eight riders were in contention for victory deep in the race before two of them went off the pace, leaving a six-rider shootout on the final lap of the race.

The in-form Morgen Mischler (#13 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) did his best to control the chaotic affair from the front and it paid off with a 0.053-second margin of victory.

While Mischler regularly traded leads with teammate Dalton Gauthier (#79 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) for much of the contest, the final sprint fell to him, title rival Kody Kopp (#12 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX -FFE) and Trent Lowe (No. 48 Mission Foods/Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda CRF450R).

Mischler opened the final lap in the lead and made the most of his Honda’s power to fend off his opponents.

Despite narrowly missing out on victory, Kopp continues to lead the championship thanks to a start to the season that saw him finish no less than second.

Comments are closed.