Rising Aussie star Max Whale (No. 18 Coondoo Cattle Co./Australian Road Services Kawasaki KX450F) came away with the first victory of his American Flat Track career following a tense multi-rider shootout in 2020’s AFT Singles season opener at the Volusia Half Mile on the weekend.
The Australian ace established himself as the race favourite heading into the Main Event, but he had to work for it after getting a less-than-perfect start. That forced him to muscle his way past some of the sport’s most experienced riders, which he accomplished with seeming ease while still early in the race.
Whale never relinquished the lead once he had seized it. However, he still felt the pressure applied from close behind throughout, only eeking out a small gap in the contest’s final stages. Prior to his late escape, the battle for the win was a six-rider affair, with three former premier class standouts all looking to unlock a way past Whale and the win.
“I don’t think I could have got any better of a start to the year than this,” Whale said. “I’m pumped — I can’t believe it. I had a bit of an ordinary start and came from about fourth or fifth. It felt like that race went forever! I could just feel the boys breathing down my neck the whole time. I just tried to keep smooth, consistent laps. I knew if I made one mistake, I would be buried in the pack.”
Unfortunately young Max could not make it a double the following day in what was a double-header race weekend in Florida. Victory in the second round went to fellow rookie sensation Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) with an inspired ride to victory on Saturday night.
An eight-rider pack fought for the lead throughout the eight-minute regulation of the Main, with Daniels, Chad Cose (No. 49 Wally Brown Racing/American Suzuki RM-Z450), and Mikey Rush (No. 14 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) all taking turns at the front with countless passes for position just behind.
But just as the timer clicked 0:00 to set up a final two-lap shootout to decide the winner, the red flag flew. As a result, Daniels took point in a staggered restart, lining up just ahead of team-mate Rush and Shayna Texter (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F).
Once the race resumed, Rush sought a way past teammate Daniels but instead found himself displaced by Texter entering Turn 1 on the final lap. Daniels pumped his fist as he closed on the checkered flag, unaware that Texter had a run on him as well. Despite the near disaster, Daniels held on to the redemptive win by a scant 0.020 seconds at the stripe, even though Texter’s final charge marked the fastest lap of the night between the three competitors.
Despite the eighth place in the second round Max Whale remained the AFT Singles Championship leader with 36-points to Chad Cose’s 35-point tally.
American Flat Track
AFT Singles Championship Points
Max Whale 36
Chad Cose 35
Michael Rush 32
Shayna Texter 30
Brandon Kitchen 27
Dallas Daniels 25
Henry Wiles 23
Tanner Dean 22
James Ott 18
Trent Lowe 18
American Flat Track SuperTwins
Five-time Grand National Champion Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) notched up the 50th premier-class victory of his American Flat Track career with a second dominant win at Barberville, Florida’s Volusia Speedway Park in Saturday’s Volusia Half-Mile II.
The “50” that may be more relevant to Mees at the moment, however, is the 50 points he logged with his season-opening double victory that launched his 2020 AFT SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines title campaign in perfect form.
Mees actually started from the second row this time around, allowing reigning AFT SuperTwins Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) a chance to make an early escape of his own after Mees’ Friday disappearing act.
However, Mees worked fast, slashing through the field, and ultimately, Bauman less than three minutes into the Main Event. Mees steadily built his advantage up to just over a second as the two encountered lapped traffic and managed that gap to the checkered flag.
“What an amazing night,” Mees said. “We struggled in the Semi; we gambled with the set-up and just went backwards. Kenny Tolbert and Bubba Bentkey worked their magic for the Main and the motorcycle was hooked up so good off the corners thanks to Jimmy Wood with Öhlins Suspension. Those guys got me so hooked for the entire weekend, and I came in so hungry.”
Brandon Robinson (No. 44 HCRR Racing/Ben Evans Racing Indian FTR750) dueled with Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750) for third over the race’s opening half before clearing off to a lonely podium finish. It was a supremely gritty performance on the part of Robinson, who not only managed to finish third following 38 laps in sweltering conditions, but did so just seven weeks after breaking his ankle.
Halbert got swallowed up by a charging Brandon Price (No. 92 Roof Systems of Dallas, Texas Indian FTR750), but managed to retake fourth as they went back and forth while weaving past slower riders. Price actually found himself dropped back to sixth at the flag, as Davis Fisher (No. 67 BriggsAuto.com Indian FTR750) joined their fight late and stole away fifth position.
More well known AMA Superbike racers also returned to their dirty roots in Florida with JD Beach scoring two tenth places while veteran Larry Pegram took a pair of 18th place finishes.
American Flat Track
SuperTwins Championship Points
Jared Mees 50
Briar Bauman 40
Sammy Halbert 32
Brandon Robinson 30
Bronson Bauman 27
Brandon Price 27
Davis Fisher 24
Dalton Gauthier 20
JD Beach 18
Jarod Vanderkooi 17
American Flat Track Production Twins
Reigning AFT Production Twins champion Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07) was far from satisfied after opening his title defense with a ‘mere’ podium finish in Friday evening’s opener. He promptly set things right for himself in Saturday’s rematch, registering a blowout victory to put himself back atop the points order.
Texter grabbed the holeshot and never looked back. James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) and Ryan Varnes (No. 68 RVR/RoyBuilt Don’s Kawasaki Ninja 650) raced in close formation behind the leader over the contest’s opening half, but Texter slowly broke their challenge and powered to 3.244-second margin of victory.
Texter’s lopsided win was reminiscent of the three consecutive victories he logged to kick off his triumphant ‘19 campaign. It also provided strong evidence that he’s rediscovered the mojo he spent much of the latter half of last year looking to reclaim.
An emotional Texter dedicated the race to his best friend and title-winning mechanic, Jon Reid, who passed away last November, and another good friend in Jess Garcia, who died this past Wednesday.
“Last night felt a bonus to me because I knew how badly we were struggling,” Texter said. “And the first couple of sessions out today, we were really struggling again. But I have to say, I just have a lot of confidence in my team and in myself. And with all the hard work we put in, I’m just going to battle all year long. There’s no quit.”
Varnes appeared primed to overtake Rispoli late in the race as he did on Friday night. That is, right up until the moment he suffered a mechanical issue that erased his podium hopes with just over a minute remaining on the scoreboard.
As a result, the final spot on the box behind Rispoli went to another national championship-winning road racer returned to dirt track in the ever-popular Danny Eslick (No. 64 Scott Powersports/R&D Machine Kawasaki Ninja 650).
American Flat Track
Procuction Twins Championship Points
Cory Texter 42
James Rispoli 40
Ryan Varnes 33
Danny Eslick 32
Ben Lowe 29
Morgan Mischler 26
Cody Johncox 23
Jeremiah Duffy 23
Nick Armstrong 20
Mitch Harvat 19
AMA MX confirm nine round 2020 schedule
Following extensive efforts by race organizers, local government and health officials, participants, sponsors, and series partners, MX Sports Pro Racing has announced the intention to host a nine-round schedule to complete the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing.
The season is scheduled to begin on August 15, with the inaugural professional event at famed Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
The next eight rounds will take place at well-known venues ranging from Washougal MX Park in Washington to Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota. The 2020 series will also feature the first-ever Pro Motocross “doubleheader” at RedBud MX in Buchanan, Michigan.
The first half of the season will open with five consecutive rounds. Following the debut of the Loretta Lynn’s National, the schedule will then travel to the scenic Pacific Northwest for the Washougal National, on August 22, before heading to the greater Indianapolis area for the Ironman National, on August 29.
From there, Michigan’s legendary RedBud MX will give way to the season’s lone off weekend after it hosts a pair of races around the Labor Day holiday, on Saturday, September 5, and Tuesday, September 8.
Racing will resume with the Spring Creek National in Minnesota, on September 19, before heading to Florida for the WW Ranch National, on September 26.
The penultimate round of the championship will take place in Colorado with the Thunder Valley National, on October 3, before crowning a pair of champions in Southern California at the season-ending Fox Raceway National, on October 10.
Select events will feature limited spectator capacity, while others will be conducted exclusively for participants, professional and amateur, with attendance limited to crew members and family. All events will feature an amateur racing component, both before and after the professional race day.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 2020 Calendar
Aug 15 Loretta Lynn’s Hurricane Mills, TN
Aug 22 Washougal Washougal, WA
Aug 29 Ironman Crawfordsville, IN
Sep 5 RedBud I Buchanan, MI
Sep 8 (Tues) RedBud II Buchanan, MI
Sep 19 Spring Creek Millville, MN
Sep 26 WW Ranch Jacksonville, FL
Oct 3 Thunder Valley Lakewood, CO
Oct 10 Fox Raceway Pala, CA
Want to run a National Championship?
Motorcycling Australia recently opened expressions of interest for suitably qualified clubs and or promoters who are interested in hosting national championships in 2021 and 2022.
Applications are now open for clubs or promoters who wish to host the following National Championships:
Dirt Track: Senior, Junior, Classic and Post Classic
Track: Senior, Junior
Motocross: Classic, Post Classic and ATV
Plessinger begins rehab on wrist injury
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team’s Aaron Plessinger will miss the start of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship as he recovers from a training injury sustained last week in Southern California.
On Tuesday, July 14, Plessinger dislocated his left wrist after landing in a rut and losing control on the face of a very large step-up whilst training at Fox Raceway in Pala, California. The 2018 Pro Motocross 250MX Champion underwent surgery the following day and is now focused on returning to full fitness. Unfortunately, the timeline for recovery could have him sidelined for 12 weeks.
“I spoke with Aaron last night after his surgery, and it sounds as if it went very well,” said Jim Roach, the Yamaha Racing Department Manager for Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA. “Unfortunately, a dislocated wrist can mean a long recovery time. Aaron was looking forward to the start of the outdoor season on his Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing YZ450F, but that will have to be delayed for him to return to full fitness. We wish Aaron the best during his recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the bike soon!”
Jasikonis and Husky extend partnership
Ahead of the restart of the 2020 FIM MXGP World Championship, Husqvarna Motorcycles has announced that Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing have extended their contract with Arminas Jasikonis. The Lithuanian rider is set to remain with the team for a third year, through to the close of 2021. Jasikonis, who first stepped into MXGP racing in 2016, will continue to compete in the MXGP category on Husqvarna FC 450 machinery under the watchful eye of team manager Antti Pyrhönen.
Currently enjoying the best form of his career to date, Jasikonis sits seventh in the MXGP series standings having secured a podium finish at the MXGP of The Netherlands, the second round of the 2020 Championship.
Using the imposed downtime to return home to Lithuania, the 22-year-old maintained his training programme to ensure no loss of fitness. Stepping back into competition at the recent round two of the Czech National motocross series in Kaplice, Arminas secured a 1-1 result.
Together with his team, Arminas is currently preparing for the first of three consecutive MXGP events in Latvia that will mark the August restart of the 2020 MXGP World Championship.
Arminas Jasikonis – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
“Knowing that I will compete for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team again, for a third season, is a really great feeling. I’m very happy to continue on a great bike. I have so much confidence in my bike, the whole programme and all members of the team, which is so important. The fact that everything will stay the same for me from this year to next year is a huge thing – I only need to focus on improving and preparing myself. Of course, we have to continue working hard but I am really motivated to get the results that Husqvarna, Rockstar, Antti and the team deserve.”
QLD and NSW get back on track
Sunshine State Series
Queensland picked up at round two of the Sunshine State Series, held at Kingaroy, with good rider attendance and a great atmosphere in the pits. With most riders desperate to get back to the race track, Yamaha was well represented with Aaron Tanti, Jay Wilson, Levi Rogers, Kota Toriyabe, Jayce Cosford and Rhys Budd all flying the flag in the senior divisions while the juniors had Charli and Jake Cannon, as well as supported riders in Zac Watson and Peter Wolfe.
The MX2 Pro race was the pick of the weekend and produced some tight, intense racing. Jay Wilson and Aaron Tanti continued their magnetic relationship on the track and again fought it out over the three motos contested, this time Tanti taking the win with his 2-1-2 results over Wilson in third with 7-2-1 finishes which included a couple of falls.
Unfortunately, the news for Jayce Cosford wasn’t good as a fall in the first race saw him taken to hospital with a broken leg that will have him sidelined for some time.
Levi Rogers had his first race in seniors and dominated the MX2 Expert class with three emphatic victories. Rogers was hurt at the opening round back in February but was happy to be back on track again and hopes to be moved into the Pro class for the coming rounds where he can test his speed and endurance against the likes of Tanti and Wilson.
Rhys Budd also made the trip up from New South Wales and had some issues in the MX2 race on Saturday but was able to get back on track on Sunday and contest the MX1 Pro class on his YZ250F. Budd finished third overall on the back of his 4-4-3 results.
Round three of the Sunshine State Motocross series will hit the picturesque MX Farm at Gympie on August 1-2.
QLD SSMX Results – Round Two
1st Aaron Tanti -99
2nd Noah Ferguson – 95
3rd Jay Wilson – 91
1st Levi Rogers – 105
2nd Jake Kowal – 86)
3rd Logan May – 85
1st Dean Ferris – 105
2nd Lochie Latimer – 96
3rd Rhys Budd – 86
Good numbers all attended the re-start of the NSW racing calendar and they all converged on the Dargle MX complex to contest round two of the East Coast MX Series. The venue provided the perfect setting for not just to motocross riders to get back into the swing of things, but also the off road riders and the likes of Luke Styke, Jeremy Carpentier, Blake Hollis and Jess Gardiner all enjoyed the hit out alongside the motocross regulars.
Styke, Carpentier and Hollis contested the MX Open class with Styke and Carpentier making it a Yamaha 1-2 on the podium. Styke finished with 2-1-1-1 results in his four motos while Carpentier claimed 1-2-5-3 finishes to take second.
Blake Hollis was a front runner in the MX250 Pro class but an 11th in race two slowed his march to the podium. He finished with 3-11-4-3 to round out the day in fifth place.
Jess Gardiner showed she just isn’t all off road and charged to a second place finish in the Women’s class. The off road champ finished with 2-2-3-2 results to give her second on the day and valuable track time before the resumption of the AORC.
The next round of the East Coast MX will be held at Nowra on August 8-9.
East Coast MX Results – Round Two
1st Luke Styke – 137
2nd Jeremy Carpentier – 123
3rd John Bova – 115
1st Jess Moore – 140
2nd Jess Gardiner – 126
3rd Tanesha Harnett – 122
1st Blake Fox – 140
2nd John Bova – 124
3rd Cameron Torpy – 112
4th Tyler Darby – 112
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.