American Flat Track’s TT races have a long history of upsetting the normal pecking order, and that was the case again last weekend at the historic Peoria TT in Peoria, Illinois. J.D. Beach took the checkered flag, his second of the Progressive AFT season, and was joined on the podium by Yamaha teammate Dallas Daniels in third position. Championship contender Briar Bauman scored the runner-up spot.
Beach’s win solidified his claim as the leading TT rider in Progressive AFT and puts him in fourth place with 159 points – within 30 points of reigning champ Jared Mees, who has 188 points. Second in the standings is Bauman, with 185 points, followed by Dallas Daniels with 172. For more information, read the press release below, which includes updates on the Mission Production Twins and Parts Unlimited AFT Singles race categories.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 30, 2022) – JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) solidified his claim as the leading TT rider in all of Progressive American Flat Track by earning a second consecutive victory at the World Famous SC2 Peoria TT presented by Country Saloon on Saturday at the Peoria Motorcycle Club in Peoria, Illinois.
While Beach ultimately went wire-to-wire to victory, the contest was in fact quite a tense affair with two-time Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle champion Briar Bauman (No. 3 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) glued to Beach’s rear wheel pretty much throughout.
A five-rider freight train formed at the start, with Beach holding the lead ahead of Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), Bauman, Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), and Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT).
Bauman was the first to slip past ‘VDK,’ blasting ahead as they exited the race’s opening corner, while Mees and Daniels would do the same over the next few minutes.
Bauman only really showed Beach his front wheel on a single occasion. That said, he was perfectly positioned at nearly every moment to capitalize on any mistakes that might possibly befall Beach on the dry and notchy track. However, the Yamaha ace proved remarkably resilient under fire, especially considering he was still riding at less than 100% after hurting his ankle at the Mission Port Royal Half-Mile a couple weeks back.
Beach took the checkered flag 0.492 seconds ahead of Bauman to improve his overall series TT record to five wins in his last six attempts.
“When I hurt my ankle at the last race, I couldn’t even walk to leave the track,” Beach said. “Coming into Peoria, there are so many fast guys here, and I was sitting on my butt for two weeks. I just have to thank my family, who made sure I didn’t do anything because I’m not good at sitting around.
“The whole Estenson team worked so hard,” he continued. “Today was a little hectic, but to get this win again here and get two in a row… To imagine Henry (Wiles) got 14 in a row here is just insane. It feels so good. I’m pumped.”
The continuation of Bauman’s midseason surge further tightened the title fight. So too did Daniels’ third-place finish, a result that only came following a protracted battle with reigning champion Mees for the position. If not for his continued woes at leaving the starting line, the rookie might have had more of a say in the final outcome. Still, he had to be satisfied with standing on the box in his first premier-class race at his home track.
Bauman is now just three points behind Mees (188-185), while Daniels is only another 13 points back. Beach, too, has new life, closing to within 30 points of Mees (159) after securing his second win of the season.
The challenge of 14-time Peoria TT winner “King Henry” Wiles (No. 17 Willy Built/Lyndy Roofing Co. Kawasaki Ninja 650) never fully materialized. Wiles showed respectable speed throughout the day but faded back to ninth before making a late climb to an eventual sixth, finishing behind Vanderkooi in the Main.
Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) came home in seventh, one spot ahead of Mission Production Twins Challenge entrant Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R), who executed a spirited climb up the order early before running out of steam.
Ben Lowe (No. 25 Rackley Racing/Mission Foods Indian FTR750) and Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) rounded out the top ten.
Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Before he was a full-fledged Mission Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines title fighter, Jesse Janisch (No. 33 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) originally made his name as a Peoria TT expert. In fact, that reputation actually landed him last year’s opportunity to earn his current ride – a ride that subsequently launched him into championship contention.
While he’s clearly grown beyond the specialist tag, Janisch proved yet again he’s one of the very best there is at the legendary venue. He was in full-on imperious form, winning the drag race to Turn 1 and promptly building up a sizable gap before even completing a single lap.
Janisch’s fellow Semi winner, Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650), was outflanked by Dan Bromley (No. 62 Vinson Construction/Viper Air Yamaha MT-07) in the first corner and then spent the next couple of minutes looking for a way back through. By the time Lewis retook second, Janisch already had more than two seconds in hand.
That advantage only continued to stretch even when Lewis had clear air in front of him. Janisch ultimately piled on more than 14 seconds worth of padding before he wheelied his way down the front straight to a 12.192-second margin of victory.
The triumph was Janisch’s fourth professional win at the circuit, the first three coming aboard single-cylinder machinery.
“That was awesome,” he said after the race. “I’m so much more comfortable with the bike and team this year. Last year, I came here and was just trying to stay quiet and be polite and ride the thing. This year, we’re obviously working good with the team and making changes, trying to learn me and the bike better. The Vance & Hines guys are amazing.”
The victory also provided Janisch a bit more breathing space in the championship fight. That said, defending class champion Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07) did what he does so well, minimizing the damage on the days in which he’s at a disadvantage in order to fight back another day.
Texter held Cole Zabala (No. 51 Memphis Shades/Corbin/Vinson Yamaha MT-07) at bay to finish fourth, crossing the line just over a second back of podium finishers Lewis and Bromley. As a result, Janisch now leads Texter 199-188 with seven races remaining to decide the back-and-forth championship battle.
Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER
The four-race win streak of Kody Kopp (No. 12 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) finally came to an end, but even so, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing win streak now stands at five. And that’s because Kopp’s teammate, Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE), finally collected his first victory of 2022 after leading the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER class in Main Event victories with five a season ago.
However, both KTM pilots found themselves behind Estenson Racing’s Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) off the line. Whale struck first, railing up the inside of Brunner as they powered onto the front straight a minute-and-a-half into the contest.
The Australian would then proceed to rip open a couple seconds at the front as Kopp desperately attempted to find a way through himself. Instead, he found himself victimized by the charging Morgen Mischler (No. 13 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) and dropped to fourth as Whale continued to break away at the front.
Mischler would eventually exploit a big bobble on Brunner’s part to slide into second with around a minute to go and then close rapidly on the leader. What once seemed to be a certain win became considerably less so, but Whale responded to Mischler’s late push to hold on for a 0.831-second win.
While Whale was awarded last year’s win at Peoria, it only came due to a DQ ahead of him. So technically this was his second in succession at the famed race even if it felt like a first to him.
“It’s been a long seven weeks since (getting hurt at) the Red Mile,” he said. “And to come back finally with a win… It feels like it’s been years since I won a race. That was so much fun. I found a line that worked early on and just stuck to it. It’s unreal to get a win at Peoria, and the crowd here is awesome. I’m stoked.”
Mischer’s runner-up represented his first-ever TT podium and saw him narrow Kopp’s title advantage for the first time in five races (even if it still stands at two full races, 220-170). The podium was completed by Brunner, who ultimately kept Kopp corralled behind him for full race distance, which meant the title leader would equal his worst finish of the season in fourth.
Rookie Chase Saathoff (No. 106 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) pulled off a last-lap pass on Ferran Cardús (No. 377 Roof Systems of Dallas/Bullet Strong Racing Honda CRF450R) to edge the Spanish champion for fifth by 0.008 seconds at the flag.
The SC2 Peoria TT presented by Country Saloon will premiere on FS1 on Sunday, August 7, at 11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT, including exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage, and expert commentary.
What’s Next for Progressive AFT?
Progressive AFT will hit the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for the second in a string of four consecutive race weekends with the Progressive Black Hills Half-Mile presented by Saddleman at Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, South Dakota, on August 6. Visit the Progressive Black Hills Half-Mile event page 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 the website.
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How to Watch Progressive AFT
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 online. FansChoice.tv provides livestreaming coverage of every Progressive AFT round here.