Briar Bauman earned his second consecutive victory aboard his Indian FTR750 at the Port Royal Half-Mile event last weekend. It was Bauman’s 22nd career win, finishing ahead of fellow Indian riders Jared Vanderkooi and championship leader Jared Mees, who remains at the top of the title chase with 173 points to Bauman’s 165.
“Tonight was another incredible night of racing and a testament to the talent and grit of our riders,” said Gary Gray, Vice President Racing, Service & Technology for Indian Motorcycle. “Considering the restrictions that have recently been imposed on the FTR750, it’s all the more gratifying to sweep the podium for the second consecutive weekend. Briar’s incredible will has been on display at these past two events, and as a result, he’s back in the hunt as the battle for the championship tightens. It’s looking to be an absolute dogfight over the remainder of the season.”
It was an emotional night for the AFT paddock, with a tribute to racer Ryan Varnes who passed away after a crash earlier this month at Weedsport, New York. All riders wore Varnes’ #68 during a memorial lap led by Varnes’ family, and after Bauman’s win, he took Varnes’ girlfriend, Jennifer Hoshauer, for a victory lap.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 16, 2022) – Progressive American Flat Track star Briar Bauman (No. 3 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) scored his second straight victory at the Mission Port Royal Half-Mile presented by Appalachian Harley-Davidson, thanks to a virtuoso performance at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday evening in Port Royal, Pennsylvania.
The two-time Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle champion had suffered through something of a wins drought by his standards after taking last year’s Port Royal Half-Mile, claiming just one triumph in the following 15 races. However, Bauman looks to be well and truly back to peak form now, adding a second consecutive win to his record this season.
The 22nd premier-class win of Bauman’s career carried some extra significance, coming on an evening in which the paddock earlier paid tribute to Ryan Varnes by donning his number #68 en masse for a memorial lap led by the late rider’s family.
After taking the checkered flag in the Main Event, Bauman took Varnes’ girlfriend, Jennifer Hoshauer, for the victory lap.
“Honestly, it’s an emotional day for the sport of flat track,” Bauman said. “I can’t thank everyone who participates in flat track enough right now. I can’t believe how strong the Varnes family is… All the fans were supporting us during our lap of honor. I don’t normally do burnouts – I don’t know if I’ve ever done one – but I just felt like we needed to do it. It was for Ryan.”
Reigning Mission SuperTwins champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) pushed Bauman early before falling into the clutches of Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750).
Following some back-and-forth, Vanderkooi expertly exploited the extreme high line to rail around Mees with a minute remaining on the clock, and then held strong to secure his second runner-up result in a row.
While unable to respond, Mees still powered to his third third-place finish in succession. As a result, Mees continues to lead the title fight but by just eight points over archrival Bauman (173-165).
For the contest’s opening half, Estenson Racing Yamaha teammates Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) ran in tight formation in fifth and sixth, respectively. However, after that point, they went in opposite directions.
Daniels overtook Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) for fourth and made up ground on the podium before ultimately finishing just over a second off the box. Meanwhile, Beach twisted his ankle and was unable to maintain his pace, dropping all the way back to 12th by the race’s conclusion.
Robinson rounded out the top five, followed home by Mission Production Twins Challenge entrants Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) and Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Corbin/Vinson Yamaha MT-07).
Meanwhile, Davis Fisher (No. 67 Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750), Robert Pearson (No. 27 Rackley Racing/John Franklin Indian FTR750), and Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) completed the top ten.
Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) outlasted Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Corbin/Vinson Yamaha MT-07) to score his third win of the Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines season.
Bromley announced at Port Royal that he was back for the remainder of the season and proceeded to prove in the Main Event that he was back in a big way. The home-state hero stormed to the holeshot and worked up a gap of nearly a half second over Janisch by the race’s mid-distance with the rest of the field even further back in his wake.
Rather than fold, Janisch mounted a comeback, reeling Bromley back in and arriving at his side with just over two minutes remaining. At that point, both riders bucked and weaved mere inches apart, with Bromley even reaching over and giving Janisch a friendly tap.
Janisch finally completed the extended overtake and then put his head down to claim a clear victory with almost two full seconds in hand.
With title rival Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) finishing a couple seconds back in third, the win saw Janisch retake the championship lead by a single point (174-173).
“Man, that was some good racing,” Janisch said. “About halfway through the Main, (Bromley) made one little mistake, and I was searching so much trying to find something that would work a little better. Right when he made that mistake, I kind of found it. I started working on him. Hats off to the team. The bike is awesome. It’s like a dream come true season so far.
“This one is for (Ryan) Varnes. That front straightaway memorial we did for him was amazing.”
2020 class champion James Rispoli (No. 43 Wally Brown Racing/Haversack KTM 890 Duke) finished in fourth after getting shuffled back to tenth in a hectic opening lap. Despite the immediate disadvantage, Rispoli charged hard enough to push Texter late, taking the checkered flag just 0.806 seconds off the podium.
The top five was completed by Mikey Rush (No. 15 Hellipower Racing/Las Vegas Harley-Davidson XG750R), who equaled his best finish since returning from the injury he suffered at last season’s finale.
Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER
For the fourth consecutive round, runaway Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER title leader Kody Kopp (No. 12 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) went wire-to-wire to victory.
In what has to pass as a form of consolation to the field, Kopp’s dominance was held somewhat in check at Port Royal Speedway. In contrast to the previous three lopsided affairs, a group of four riders managed to keep Kopp in sight for race distance.
Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) had the pace to keep Kopp honest, consistently fighting back the gap whenever Kopp threatened to shake free. But in the end, the KTM ace hit the stripe to claim a 0.646-second margin of victory over his American Honda-backed adversary.
“It feels good to come back and (win) here at Port Royal,” Kopp said after taking the sixth win of what’s quickly shaping up to be a historic campaign. “This track is pretty cool. I’m just glad I got to take my sister on a victory lap. Big thanks to my team.”
Kopp’s teammate, Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE), earned his first podium since returning from injury. Whale battled with Gauthier early before being forced to shift his attention to fending off Gauthier’s rookie teammate, Chase Saathoff (No. 106 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R), to hold onto the final spot on the box.
Trent Lowe (No. 48 Mission Foods/Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda CRF450R) rode in podium contention for much of the race before a late bobble dropped him off the chase. He still managed to claim a lonely fifth, finishing nearly five seconds ahead of sixth-placed Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F).
Second-ranked Morgen Mischler (No. 13 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) finished a spot further back in seventh as Kopp extended his championship advantage to more than two full races, 205-150.
The Mission Port Royal Half-Mile presented by Appalachian Harley-Davidson will premiere on FS1 on Saturday, July 23, at 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT, including exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage, and expert commentary.
Progressive AFT is now headed to the world-famous Peoria TT at the Peoria Motorcycle Club in Peoria, Illinois, on Saturday, July 30. Visit Store.AmericanFlatTrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3695 to secure your tickets today.
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.
For more information on Progressive AFT, visit AmericanFlatTrack.com. To score the latest gear for the Progressive American Flat Track fan, visit our official merchandise store at Store.AmericanFlatTrack.com.
How to Watch:
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 AmericanFlatTrack.com/events-foxsports. FansChoice.tv provides livestreaming coverage of every Progressive AFT round at FansChoice.tv.