Moto News Weekly Wrap
July 15, 2020
Honda launch new racer support program
To celebrate the release of the 2021 MX range and most notably the new CRF450R, Honda are excited to announce a brand-new ‘Race Red’ Program. The aim of the new ‘Race Red’ Program is to truly support Honda racing customers through the Honda dealer network, to ensure opportunity is given to those looking to progress in our sport. Access to the program will be based on submission of an application via your local Honda dealer, where you’ll get access if approved, to racing Honda products and an affordable unit to race.
To qualify, the applicant must submit to their local Honda dealer: A copy of your racing licence (MA, state or club based equivalent), and a race resume outlining your upcoming planned race events.
The Honda dealer will then submit this application to Honda and on approval, the rider will collect a new Honda CRF race machine, a Honda Pit Tent and Honda Racing Stand from their dealer and be welcomed into the ‘Race Red’ program.
General Manager of Honda Motorcycles, Mr Tony Hinton anticipates the new program as a way to further support those who have dreams of becoming a future Champion.
“We are pleased to see this program come to life. Racing is Honda’s lifeblood and with this program we are looking to cater to all levels of racing across the country. We have our Penrite Honda Factory Racing Team as a tier 1 level for National Supercross and MX classes, we’ve also got our ‘Ride Red’ program for privateer riders competing in National and State events around the country and now we are proud to roll out a more refined ‘Race Red’ program which looks to support riders at a local and dealer ambassador level of racing. It’s the ideal time to launch the program with our new CRF450R and 2021 MX line up, as we believe these bikes will deliver results to those who want to take the next step with their racing careers. We want to see future Champions on our CRFs.”
For more information on the new ‘Race Red’ program, please contact your local Honda dealer, or visit www.honda.com.au
High Voltage GNCC
Kailub Russell’s 67th career XC1 victory
Zach Osborne has a crack at Enduro
The 2020 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, made its last stop before summer break in Maidsville, West Virginia for the 2nd Annual High Voltage GNCC.
FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth got a great jump off the line to earn the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award. As the riders navigated their way through the course on the opening lap, it would be Toth holding onto the lead as he came through timing and scoring 32 seconds ahead of his fellow competitors. RPM KTM/Klim’s Dante Oliveira held onto second early in the race, with FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell charging back in third overall.
By the second lap, Russell had made the move around Oliveira and had his sights set on his teammate Toth. Toth, however, would remain in the lead with almost a 40 second lead as he continued to have a pretty open trail ahead of him. Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Josh Strang had made his way to third by the second lap, making the pass stick on Oliveira.
When the lead pack came around on lap three, Toth’s lead had diminished to 22 seconds over Russell. Toth continued to push, and Russell continued to reel in his teammate. Strang would remain back in third, with FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Ben Kelley charging ahead in the fourth place position. Lap four saw Russell continuing to inch closer to Toth with a 12 second gap between the two. Strang and Kelley would continue to push, with Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Jordan Ashburn making his way into the fifth overall position.
Things were heating up by the competition of the fifth lap, with just an 8 second gap between Toth and Russell the battle was on as they headed through the pro pits and back into the woods. Kelley had moved within two seconds of Strang to battle for the third place position and Ashburn remained fifth with FactoryONE Sherco’s Grant Baylor running in the sixth place position. However, as Baylor headed back out he would be unable to finish another lap due to a mechanical issue. Baylor would ultimately finish 10th in the XC1 class.
When the leaders emerged out of the woods and began their descent to the finish line to complete lap six of racing, and receive the white flag, there was new leader, Russell had made his way around Toth and came through timing and scoring 3.45 seconds of him. Strang would remain in the third place position, but would still have his work cut out for him as Kelley was still just 2.5 seconds behind him. Ashburn continued to make his way in the fifth place position, and Phoenix Honda Racing’s Andrew DeLong was running sixth in the XC1 class. Unfortunately disaster would strike DeLong once again, and a mechanical failure would take him out of the last lap. DeLong would finish the day eighth in the XC1 class.
Husqvarna/FXR/Thornhill Automotive’s Cory Buttrick and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne were battling their way through the dust and riders, making their way around in the eighth and ninth place position on lap six. With one more lap of racing to go Buttrick and Osborne both continued to push to better their finishing positions.
With everyone’s eyes on the lead pack during the last lap of racing, Russell and Toth were bar-to-bar. Toth made the pass on Russell, but would get caught up trying to pass a lapper. This left a main line open for Russell, and he would capitalize making the pass back for the lead with less than a mile to go. With the checkered flag waving it was Russell coming through to earn his 67th career XC1 victory. Toth would finish second, just three seconds back from Russell. Strang would hold off Kelley to take third overall, but Kelley would hold onto fourth overall for the day.
Ashburn came through to take the fifth overall position at round eight. Buttrick would come through to finish sixth in the XC1 Open Pro class, and 14th overall on the day. And after a tough day of battling back from a bad start, it was Osborne finishing seven laps of racing. Osborne would come through seventh in the XC1 class and 29th overall. Osborne said it was not the result he hoped for, or thought he was capable of, but he hopes to return for some redemption at some point.
In the XC2 250 Pro class it was Trail Jesters KTM’s Jesse Ansley grabbing the $100 Hot Cams XC2 Holeshot Award. However, it would be Trail Jesters KTM’s Jonathan Girroir making his way to the front of the group early on in the race. Girroir would come through timing and scoring on lap one in the second place position behind Pennsylvania-native Benjamin Nelko, who held the lead on the opening lap.
Girroir would make the pass stick on lap two, and he would not look back. Girroir would maintain the lead, even after Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Craig DeLong applied the pressure halfway through the race. Girroir and DeLong would push each other until the checkered flag waved. Girroir earning his third win of the season, and moving himself back into second place in the points standings.
DeLong crossed the line in the second place position, making his eighth-straight visit to the podium. DeLong remains the XC2 250 Pro class points leader as the series goes on hiatus until September.
AmPro Yamaha’s Michael Witkowski worked his way up to third after a fifth place start to the day. Witkowski would make the pass during the third lap of racing, and put his head down to push for the remainder the of race. Witkowski sits third in the points standings, just three behind second place and 12 behind first.
Coming through to take fourth in the XC2 class was Beta USA’s Thorn Devlin. This is Devlin’s best finish thus far in the season, breaking into the top 10 overall with a ninth place overall finish on the day. Rounding out the top five in XC2 was Phoenix Honda Racing’s Jonathan Johnson.
Kiwi fast femme Rachael Archer got one over Becca Sheets while Aussie Tayla Jones rounded out the Women’s podium.
High Voltage GNCC Overall
- Kailub Russell – KTM
- Josh Toth – KTM
- Josh Strang – Kawasaki
- Ben Kelley – KTM
- Jordan Ashburn – Kawasaki
High Voltage GNCC Women
- Rachael Archer – Yamaha
- Becca Sheets – Yamaha
- Tayla Jones – Husqvarna
- Rachel Gutish – Beta
- Brandy Richards – KTM
XC1 Pro Event Results
- Kailub Russell (KTM)
- Joshua Toth (KTM)
- Josh Strang (KAW)
- Benjamin Kelley (KTM)
- Jordan Ashburn (KAW)
- Cory Buttrick (HQV)
- Zach Osborne (HQV)
- Andrew DeLong (HON)
- Josh Heintz (KAW)
- Grant Baylor (SHR)
XC2 250 Pro Event Results
- Jonathan Girroir (KTM)
- Craig DeLong (HQV)
- Michael Witkowski (YAM)
- Thorn Devlin (BET)
- Jonathan Johnson (HON)
- Ryder Lafferty (HQV)
- Liam Draper (KTM)
- Cody Barnes (BET)
- Benjamin Nelko (HQV)
- Ben Parsons (HQV)
2020 GNCC Championship Points Standings
- Kailub Russell – KTM 235
- Josh Strang – Kawasaki 193
- Jordan Ashburn – Kawasaki 127
- Craig DeLong – Husqvarna 122
- Michael Witkowski – Yamaha 111
XC2 250 Pro Series Standings
- Craig DeLong (203)
- Jonathan Girroir (194)
- Michael Witkowski (191)
- Cody Barnes (138)
- Liam Draper (122)
- Thorn Devlin (107)
- Ryder Lafferty (90)
- Jonathan Johnson (89)
- Simon Johnson (79)
- Benjamin Nelko (75)
Dates and locations of GNCC remaining rounds
- Sept. 12/13 Mountaineer, Beckley, WV
- Sept. 26/27 Snowshoe, WV
- Oct. 10/11 Mathews Farm, Taylortown, PA
- Oct. 24/25 Ironman, Crawfordsville, IN
- Nov. 7/8 TBA
MA To Monitor Restriction Impacts On 2020 AORC
Motorcycling Australia will continue to monitor government COVID-19 restrictions which may impact future dates of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship, presented by MXstore.
With this week’s government decisions to close the NSW and Victorian border, border restrictions in Queensland and South Australia, and metropolitan Melbourne COVID-19 lockdown, Motorcycling Australia (MA) will continue to watch government developments.
Motorcycling Australia Off-Road Events Manager, Matthew Falvo, said planning for rounds 7 and 8 of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship, presented by MXstore, at Nowra, NSW on August 29-30, was well under way.
“We know sponsors, riders, teams and fans are eager to go racing in the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship, presented by Mxstore,” Mr Falvo said.
“Our Yamaha AORC, presented by MXstore, has produced world class racing this year and we know riders and teams have been training hard in recent months and will be ready to race in Nowra next month.
“We will obviously monitor very closely any changes to government regulations and border closures in the coming weeks which will allow the championship to get back under way.
“We have tentatively locked away the weekend of November 14-15, 2020 as a back-up event date should it be required because of COVID-19 restrictions.”
2020 Yamaha AORC Presented by MXstore Calendar
- Round 7 & 8: Nowra, NSW 29 – 30 Aug 2020
- Round 9 & 10: Omeo, VIC 19 – 20 Sept 2020
- Round 11 & 12: Wynyard, TAS 17 – 18 Oct 2020
- BACK UP EVENT DATE 14 – 15 Nov 2020
Honda Australia saddened by the passing of Jason Hill
Tony Hinton – General Manager Honda Motorcycles
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Jason Hill overnight. Jason was a true motorcycling legend and a valued member of the Honda family. In 2005, we shared in Jason’s well-deserved victory at the Finke Desert Race and appreciated his support of the Honda dealer network in the Northern Territory over the years. We wish to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends and the broader motorcycling community.”
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross
MX Sports Pro Racing has announced the postponement of the 2020 series until August with dates and venues to be announced at a later date.
Team Honda HRC Welcomes Chase Sexton
Fresh off wrapping up his second consecutive AMA Supercross 250SX East Championship with GEICO Honda, Chase Sexton recently completed his first official test with his new squad, Team Honda HRC.
The test was aboard the factory CRF450R, and Sexton looked quite comfortable aboard the big bike.
Taddy Blazusaik on GasGas
As a six-time FIM SuperEnduro World Champion, five-time AMA EnduroCross Champion, five-time Red Bull Erzbergrodeo winner, along with having four X-Games Gold medals and a Red Bull Last Man Standing victory to his credit, Taddy has firmly cemented himself as one of the sport’s greatest athletes. The 37-year-old returned to top-flight competition in 2018 following a short career break and finished the 2019 WESS Enduro World Championship in fourth, while placing as runner-up in both the 2019 AMA EnduroCross Championship and 2020 SuperEnduro World Championship, Taddy remains a formidable competitor no matter what discipline or where in the world he lines up to compete.
For extreme enduro competition Taddy will ride the EC 300 and compete on the EC 350F for classic enduro and indoor events. Utilizing the GasGas trial range, he will also use the TXT Racing 300 as part of his training program.
Taddy will make his first outing with GasGas at the start of the 2020 WESS Enduro World Championship.
“This is a really cool and exciting change in my career, the start of a new chapter for me. It’s an honor to lead the GasGas brand back into enduro and I really want to do everyone proud. By joining this project from the beginning, I feel like I can really help to bring some value by using my experience to develop the bike and to show people what we are all about. There’s a freshness and a lot of energy about everything and I’m excited for people to see what we’ve been working on. Everyone that knows me knows how competitive I am, racing in new colors definitely makes me more determined to challenge for more race wins. Being a GasGas rider means I get to race their exciting new enduro models as well as train on their amazing trial machines. Before I began competing in enduro, my trial career started with GasGas. I won the European Trial Championship with them in 2004, so it’s very important to me to create something special now. Trial is still a big part of my life, the perfect way to prepare for the WESS Enduro World Championship. I’m already enjoying riding my TXT Racing 300 and know that I have the best bike available to sharpen my skills. Although this year has been different because of coronavirus, I do feel ready to get back racing. I’m really looking forward to returning to competition as a GasGas rider.”
Robert Jonas – VP Motorsports Offroad
“For a brand like GasGas there is no better rider than Taddy Blazusiak to lead it back into enduro competition. Taddy needs little introduction, his many successes say everything needed about his determination, professionalism and drive. While it is no secret that Taddy is now one of enduro’s more senior racers his experience and focus, and his want to keep pushing both himself and those around him to be the very best they can be, will be invaluable to GasGas during the first steps of the enduro program. Both in competition and when involved in development and testing, Taddy will bring a huge amount to GasGas and we are sure he’ll play a central role in driving the brand forward in the years ahead.”
Marty Smith Rookie of the Year Award
MX Sports Pro Racing, organizers of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, has announced that its annual accolade recognizing the top performing freshman rider in the 250 Class will be renamed the Marty Smith Rookie of the Year Award, in honor of the late American motocross pioneer.
“Marty Smith was the original Rookie of the Year. He won the first AMA National he ever entered back in 1974, and then he became the first-ever 125cc AMA National Champion. It’s pertinent that we rename this prestigious award in his memory, in recognition of his contributions to the Pro Motocross Championship and the sport as a whole,” said Davey Coombs, President of MX Sports Pro Racing. “For an entire generation of racing enthusiasts Marty Smith was the epitome of cool in motocross. He proved that a motorcycle rider can become a household name alongside the likes of football, baseball and basketball stars. He was a charismatic, larger-than-life figure in motocross, one that any aspiring racer has and should look to emulate. We’re privileged to ensure that his legacy carries on to future generations of motocross racers and fans.”
Tragically, this past April, Marty Smith and his wife, Nancy, lost their lives in a dune buggy accident in Southern California’s rural Imperial Sand Dunes. He was 63 years old.
With his Southern California surfer looks and effortlessly smooth riding style, Marty Smith became the United States’ first motocross superstar. The San Diego native was a natural talent aboard a motorcycle, forming his own unique approach to racing that emphasized control and technique. This conservative method helped Smith earn his first major victory as an amateur at the 1973 Hangtown Motocross Classic, which resulted in a life changing phone call from Factory Honda. The Japanese motorcycle manufacturer put its trust in the teenager to bring it prominence in the newly formed 125cc AMA National class, in which Honda would be debuting its new CR125M Elsinore model. Smith made good on Honda’s gamble and went on to capture the inaugural 125cc National Championship at just 17 years of age. He dominated the four-race series, capturing two wins and nearly doubling the point total of the next best rider en route to the title, while still a senior at Point Loma High School. Thanks to the notoriety he achieved both on and off the track, he cemented the status of the 125cc division as the sport’s proving ground for aspiring young talent.
The following season, Smith successfully defended his 125cc title in even more dominant fashion, winning six of the seven rounds. And then, in 1977, he landed Honda its first 500cc National Championship when he out-dueled his primary rival, Bob “Hurricane” Hannah, for the crown.
At the end of the 1981 season Smith decided to retire, which concluded a career that saw him collect 12 Pro Motocross victories and a trio of championships. He also won the first two U.S. 125cc Grand Prix events, in 1975 and 1976, as well as couple of rounds in what was a then-fledgling AMA Supercross Championship. Smith will forever be known as the most influential motocross rider in the history of American Honda, where his talent, charisma, and success paved the way for the “Red Rider” to become one of the most iconic brands in American motocross history.
Smith was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000 and remained a fixture in the industry through his Marty Smith Motocross School. He added to his racing legacy in 1991 by capturing victory at the legendary Baja 1000.
Marty Smith and his wife Nancy are survived by their three children, Tyler, Jillyin and Brooke, and seven grandchildren.
2020 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championship
The shortened 2020 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championship wrapped up over the weekend. Rounds three and four were held over consecutive days, with the tricky trails in the Santoft forest, near Bulls, in the Manawatu, testing the riders to their limits.
Round Three (Santoft) AA Class Overall
- Hamish McDonald
- Tom Buxton
- Paul Whibley
Round Four (Santoft) AA Class Overall
- Hamish McDonald
- Dylan Yearbury
- Tom Buxton
2020 NZ Enduro Championship Overall
- Hamish McDonald
- Dylan Yearbury
- Seth Reardon
AMA Regional MX Champions
AMA Regional Motocross Champions will lead the race for AMA national titles Aug. 3-8 at the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.
“The march to claim an AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship is long and competitive,” said AMA Motocross Manager Mike Burkeen. “This August, that march will end for 2020 when 36 national champions hold their AMA National No. 1 plates high and put their names in the record books forever.”
In addition to national titles, the best riders will compete for the Nicky Hayden AMA Motocross Horizon Award, presented to the amateur racer who demonstrates the talent and readiness to excel in the pro ranks. As in past years, the rider who takes home that coveted honor will compete in the fastest classes at Loretta Lynn’s.
While each racer on the gate has a fair shot to win at Loretta Lynn’s, many fans will have their eyes on the AMA Regional Champions to run at the front.
These include multi-class regional champions, such as Husqvarna and Cobra rider Kade Nightingale, from Mounds, Okla., the Mideast Mini-E (4-6) Jr. champion and 51cc (4-6) Limited champion; and KTM and Cobra rider Jaydin Smart from Berry Creek, Calif., who won the same titles in the Midwest Region.
Other multi-class champions to watch are KTM rider Haiden Deegan, from Temecula, Calif., who won both the Midwest Mini Senior 1 (12-14) and Mini Senior 2 (13-15) titles, and the rider who won the same titles in the Southeast Region, Logan Best, from North Port, Fla., on a Yamaha.
Two riders who could set some of the fastest lap times at the national include Suzuki rider Dilan Schwartz, from Alpine, Calif., and KTM rider Austin Black, from Wildomar, Calif. Schwartz won the Open and 250 Pro Sport classes in the Midwest Region and Black won both titles in the Southwest Region.
In the Women’s class, multi-time amateur national champion, 2020 Northeast Region Women’s class champion and Kawasaki rider Jordan Jarvis, from Clayton, N.C., is expected to battle Riverton, Utah’s Tayler Allred. Not only did Allred, who rides a KTM, win the Midwest Region Women’s class title, but she also qualified for the national in the 450 B Limited class.
In the Junior (25+), fans will be watching to see if 48-year-old former pro and Honda rider Mike Brown, from Bristol, Tenn., can hold off his younger rivals to win a fourth straight national title. Possible candidates to unseat Brown include Tallahassee, Fla.’s Jesse Wentland, who won the Southeast Junior (25+) championship on his Honda, and 2008 AMA Motocross Horizon Award winner Darryn Durham, from Valencia, Pa., who won both the Northeast Open Pro Sport and Junior (25+) titles on his Yamaha.
Another rider who will command a lot of attention is Kawasaki rider Jett Reynolds, from Bakersfield, Calif., who won nine consecutive AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships before missing the most recent two years with injuries. Reynolds is bringing his Midwest 450 B regional title to the national.
“Although the AMA Regional Championships provide a hint of who is expected to run at the front at Loretta Lynn’s, it’s just that, a hint,” Burkeen said. “When the national gate is filled with the fastest amateur motocross racers in America, anything can happen and anyone can win. One thing is certain, the competition will be incredible in every class as racers chase their motocross dreams.”
This year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will operate under a comprehensive mitigation plan, with rules regarding social distancing, social responsibility and mandatory mask zones.
“The success of the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship, its longevity and its reputation, is built on the experience and strong working relationship of the AMA and MX Sports,” Burkeen said. “That experience has even been more critical this year as we have made necessary changes to stem the spread of the coronavirus through the work of the Race Leadership Team. We wish the riders, their families and the operations crew a fun and safe week of racing.”
American Flat Track is back
Following almost ten months of anticipation, preparation, lockdown, and limbo, the 2020 American Flat Track season is at last set to commence. The long-awaited opener will kick off the resurrected campaign in spectacular fashion with the first of a season of doubleheader events, the Volusia Half-Mile I & Volusia Half-Mile II this weekend, July 18, at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida.
The global pandemic that pushed back the season by four months has changed the world in any number of ways, including a heightened awareness of the safety precautions needed for spectators and participants alike. As a result, tickets will be available in limited numbers, there will be a pre-entry health screening to ensure fan safety, and enhanced sanitation and cleaning protocols will be followed. While the practice of social distancing is highly encouraged outside the air fences, the action on track promises to be as close and intense as ever.
The dawn of the AFT SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines era comes alongside a reconfigured schedule that features a heavy dosage of Half-Miles, starting with AFT’s first-ever visit to Volusia Speedway Park for the opening two rounds. That altered reality will force new Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian FTR750) to defend his #1 plate against a field stacked with heavy hitters who sense this season may be the best chance of their careers to earn the coveted title themselves.
It’ll be vitally important for Bauman to get out the gates quickly to reestablish himself as the rider to beat, especially considering the past three GNCs went to the winner of the season opener.
Bauman’s stiffest challenge will likely once again come from his fellow Indian Wrecking Crewmen. Future Hall of Famer Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian FTR750) is angling to return to his commanding ways, while Briar’s younger brother, Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian FTR750), seems primed to take the next step and emerge a genuine championship threat.
While the factory Indian Motorcycle squad has proven to be a series juggernaut in recent seasons, the series’ historic dominator enters the 2020 fight rebuilt, refocused, and more powerful than its been in years. Now overseen by title-winning crew chief Ricky Howerton, the Harley Factory Flat Track Team is loaded with talent. Former Grand National Champion Bryan Smith (No. 4 Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X) spearheads the effort, flanked by the up-and-coming Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X) and supremely gifted rookie Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X).
Yamaha has a pair of aces of its own in 2019 two-race winner JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and ‘17 AFT Singles champ Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT).
In addition to the Wrecking Crew, Indian Motorcycle will again be represented by a deep bench of potential race winners on private FTR750s, including the likes of Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Indian FTR750) and Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Indian FTR750).
The 2020 Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys class is once again a wide-open affair with reigning champion Gaultier, ‘18 champ Dan Bromley (No. 62 Indian FTR750), and ‘17 champ Carlile all graduating to the AFT SuperTwins class for 2020.
The aforementioned schedule reshuffle should seriously elevate the title chances of the category’s all-time winningest rider, Shayna Texter (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F). But even without a bevy of TTs to bring her back to the pack, Texter figures to be pushed to the brink by a pair of former premier class standouts in Mikey Rush (No. 14 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and Henry Wiles (No. 17 RMR Honda/Honda Talon CRF450R).
Rush made his transition to AFT Singles competition a year ago with the RMR squad and came through in a huge way, scoring four wins and finishing as the championship runner-up, just six points removed from the title.
With Rush moving over to the Estenson Racing outfit for ‘20, his slot at RMR has been filled by Wiles. That’s a momenuntal development for the class’ balance of power, as Wiles — who boasts the 2009 and 2010 GNC1 Singles crowns and 26 career premier-class victories aboard four-stroke singles — is arguably the greatest single-cylinder racer in American Flat Track history.
While Texter, Rush, and Wiles have been doing the business at the sharp end for years, the class has historically been a venue for young riders to showcase their abilities at the professional level. And it will remain so in 2020 if 17-year-old prodigy Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) has anything to say about it. In just a half-season of competition, Daniels lit the class up in year ago, exploding onto the scene with a win, three podiums, and five top fives in the final seven races of ‘19.
AFT Production Twins
Reigning AFT Production Twins king Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07) is back to defend his title. Texter opened his ‘19 campaign in scintillating form, tearing off three straight wins to start the year and then rode the wave of fast start to the throne.
He was pushed down the stretch by four challengers who each won two races apiece. While two of them, Gauthier and Carlile, have since moved on to the premier class, 2019 runner-up Ryan Varnes (No. 68 Varnes Racing/RoyBuilt Don’s Kawasaki Ninja 650) and fifth-ranked Chad Cose (No. Wally Brown Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) are back for another shot at the title.
The versatile James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) promises to be a factor as well. After successfully transitioning back to dirt track racing following a decade focused on pavement, Rispoli should only be that much stronger in 2020 with 2000 GNC Joe Kopp serving as his crew chief.