Daytona Beach, Fla., Aug. 29—This weekend, American Flat Track heads to the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill., for the Labor Day weekend edition of the legendary Springfield Mile. It’s twice the action this year with the “Rising Stars” of the AFT Singles class sparring on the Short Track on Saturday, September 2, and the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines class battling on the big track at the Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile II on Sunday, September 3.
The Springfield Mile is rich with history and everyone will be looking to take home victory at the 98th running of the event. Looking to repeat last year’s Springfield Mile II win is Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. (No. 2 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R). The veteran has had a lot of success at Springfield—a total of five wins—and he repeated some of that success by winning his Heat race at Springfield earlier this May. A win this year would go a long way towards getting the three-time Champion back on track. It would also be a big boost to the Harley-Davidson Factory squad who have been working hard all season developing the new XG750R.
“It has been good to me in the past,” Coolbeth said about the Springfield Mile. “This year on the new bike we’re making strides forward. I did good there in the first Springfield, won my Heat. The bikes are only getting better and our bikes are way better on the Miles than the smaller tracks. I’m looking forward to the weekend. The time off was good for me and the team. I’m ready to go.”
Teammates Jake Johnson (No. 5 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) have a pair of wins at the Springfield Mile and they too will be vying for the win at the legendary track.
But at the end of the day, no current rider in the Grand National Championship has more wins than the defending champ – Bryan Smith (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750). While a win for Coolbeth would be a big boost for him and his squad, a win for Smith is a vital shot in the arm for the “Mile Master’s” hopes of defending his title. And for Smith, there’s no better place to bolster his title defense than where he feels at home with seven career wins at the Springfield Mile.
“I’m looking forward to getting things back on track at Springfield,” Smith said. “It’s all about wins now. And there’s no better place to start another four-win streak than at the Springfield Mile.”
Smith’s title rival Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) heads to Springfield with a 41-point advantage. While Mees doesn’t want to talk championship yet, he is very much set on taking another Mile win on his rival’s turf; and he has won there before.
There are a host of riders, however, looking for their first win at the Springfield Mile: Brad Baker (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750), Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07), Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Carver’s BBQ Kawasaki Ninja 650) and Davis Fisher (No. 67 Bob Lanphere Beaverton Motorcycles Kawasaki Ninja 650).
They were all in the mix earlier this May and are eager to pull off the upset.