The next race in the 2023 Progressive AFT series is the Sacramento Mile, the first Mile in the season. While every AFT race is exciting, the Sacramento Mile could be a serious turning point in the season. So far, Yamaha-mounted Dallas Daniels has a 24-point lead over title-defender and Indian factory racer Jared Mees, but that could change with the three upcoming consecutive Miles starting in Sacramento.
Last weekend, the Ventura Short Track saw Daniels claim his third win of the season, followed by teammate JD Beach with Indian’s Jared Mees in third. While these three raced ahead, a pileup in the struggle for fourth led to a red-flag restart and left Brandon Robinson worse for wear.
Jared Mees is particularly gifted in the Mile discipline, and he’s won four consecutive Sacramento Miles from 2018-2021. It’s expected that the three upcoming Mile races will be essential in Mees’s push for the points lead. However, Dallas Daniels, who is currently leading in points, took the Sacramento Mile victory in 2022 and has been racking up wins and second-place finishes all season.
The Sacramento Mile will be one race you don’t want to miss. Read the press release below for more information about the racers and how to watch.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 10, 2023) – Progressive American Flat Track, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, shifts gears as it heads into the first of its majestic Miles with one of the sport’s iconic races, the Mission Foods Legendary Sacramento Mile powered by Law Tigers at Cal Expo in Sacramento, California, this Saturday, May 13.
This year’s edition is the 57th in the history of a race that has helped build the reputations of some of dirt track’s biggest-ever names, going all the way back to the very first Sacramento Mile won by four-time Grand National Champion Carroll Resweber in 1959.
Following four Short Tracks in the season’s opening six races, the season now transitions into a high-speed run of three consecutive Miles. Upon the 2023 schedule’s unveiling, the upcoming section of the campaign was immediately identified as key to the title defense of reigning Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750).
Mees has developed into an absolute master of the strategic Mile discipline, racking up a bevy of race victories that helped pave the way for his acquisition of four additional championships since joining forces with Indian Motorcycle in 2017. The Sacramento Mile certainly played a role in that success, as Mees scored four consecutive victories in the race from 2018-2021.
Now facing an early 24-point deficit, another Cal Expo triumph this weekend would be most timely. However, to do so he’ll have to overcome the rider he’s currently chasing in the standings, Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), who just so happened to win last year’s Sacramento Mile as a rookie.
Daniels is that much stronger in 2023 with a year of experience under his belt, building up his early advantage on the strength of three wins and three runner-ups.
Find all of American Rider‘s racing coverage here
Third-ranked JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) figures to be a factor as well. Beach demonstrated extraordinary speed on the Miles at times a year ago even if he was unable to parlay that pace into wins, largely due to poor luck. He’s driven to get that career-first Mile win, as it’s one of just two missing components in his ultimate ambition of collecting an “old school” Grand Slam of wins (ST, TT, HM, Mile, and Superbike).
Observers will also be keenly interested in the performance of Briar Bauman (No. 3 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 890 Duke). As expected, Bauman has been up-and-down as he adapts to, and develops, his new racebike. It’ll be fascinating to see how the machine performs when given a chance to run full-song around a big Mile racetrack.
The same is true of the factory Royal Enfields piloted by Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650) and Ryan Wells (No. 94 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650). In its earliest, pre-premier class days, the bike avoided the Miles as the factory worked overtime to make up for an inherent horsepower disadvantage. However, the platform has come a long, long way from where it started. This will be the perfect opportunity to see exactly how it measures up against the best of the best on a Mile.
Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) headlines an accomplished group of highly competitive independent riders. The Pennsylvanian has had a tough opening third of the season, as he’s gotten beaten up by more than his share of falls already in 2023. The most recent came in the Ventura ST Main Event just days ago. And with precious little time to recover, the hope is that he’ll be ready to give it his all in Sacramento.
Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER
While the factory Red Bull KTMs and Turner Hondas have largely monopolized the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER headlines early this season, a different pairing is poised to steal back some attention this weekend.
Estenson Racing Yamaha’s Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) comes into the race with an active three-race win streak at the Sacramento Mile – a streak that transcends teams and manufacturers.
Meanwhile, no rider in the class has been as historically great at the high-profile event as the category’s all-time winningest rider, Shayna Texter-Bauman (No. 52 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 450 SX-F), who boasts a grand tally of four Sacramento Mile wins (2012, 2013, 2017, and 2019).
Brunner has had his moments this season, and he’s been running consistently inside the top five. However, he’s still looking to recapture last season’s second-half form in which he racked up six podiums in seven races at one point, including a win in Sacramento.
Texter-Bauman, meanwhile, has flashed her trademark speed as she transitions back to the class. That said, she could definitely use a superior performance this weekend as a springboard for the rest of the year.
The usual suspects of title fighters – led by defending champ and points leader Kody Kopp (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) and followed closely by Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Racing/Certified KTM 450 SX-F), Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F), Chase Saathoff (No. 88 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), Morgen Mischler (No. 13 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), and Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) – will have their say of course.
This weekend also serves as something of a second chance for 1st Impressions Husqvarna’s Golden State duo of James Ott (No. 19 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450) and Chad Cose (No. 49 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450) to impress in front of their home state fans after struggling through something of a down outing at Ventura Raceway.
How to Watch
There will be plenty to keep fans entertained at the track on Saturday as well, including numerous vendors, plenty of food and beverage options, and motorcycle parking.
There are a wide variety of ticketing options to select from, starting with Adult General Admission Tickets, which are just $25 if purchased in advance.
Click here to purchase your tickets today!
Gates will open for fans at 5:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. PT) with Opening Ceremonies scheduled to begin at 9:45 p.m. ET (6:45 p.m. PT).
For those that can’t catch the live action from the circuit, FansChoice.tv is the live streaming home of Progressive AFT. Sign up now and catch every second of on-track action starting with Practice & Qualifying and ending with the Victory Podium at the end of the night here.
FOX Sports coverage of the Legendary Sacramento Mile, featuring in-depth features and thrilling onboard cameras, will premiere on FS1 on Saturday, May 27, at 11:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. PT).
For more information on Progressive AFT visit Progressive AFT’s website.