Daniels, Mees Continue Battle for Supremacy at Ventura Short Track
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 2, 2023) – Progressive American Flat Track will conclude its early-season run of four Short Tracks with the inaugural Ventura Short Track this Saturday, May 6, at Ventura Raceway in Ventura, California.
It’s somewhat unusual to have four Short Tracks throughout an entire campaign, let alone in the opening six races. The first three delivered huge thrills and significant developments for the 2023 Championship, and the same can be expected again this weekend.
Together with the Mission Dallas Half-Mile presented by Roof Systems, this year’s first four ovals have already begun to reshuffle the pecking order. Current Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle title leader Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) and reigning premier-class champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750) have earned two wins apiece and currently rank 1-2 in the standings.
Mees comes in with soaring confidence after having gotten the better of Daniels in their most recent two matchups. That said, rising star Daniels has shown no real weaknesses or made any major mistakes, allowing him to build up an early-season advantage with no finish worse than second. That’s a mighty high standard that promises to ratchet up the pressure on Mees (and everyone else) should he continue to perform at that level.
Two-time Champion Briar Bauman (No. 3 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 890 Duke) expected a rollercoaster of a season when he originally committed to racing a developing platform in the KTM 890 Duke. And while he’s gotten that, he’s continued to be a factor, securing a pair of podiums and three top-five finishes in the bike’s earliest days. He should only get better as the season evolves and Bauman is better able to exploit the bike’s inherent strengths.
JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) is the season’s only winner other than Daniels and Mees. While that came in the TT discipline in which he stands as one of the sport’s all-time greats, Beach also won a pair of Short Tracks a season ago. He’s more than capable of doing the same this weekend, which would be the ideal way to rebound back after crashing out of podium contention in Dallas.
Independent Indians pilots Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750), Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JMC Motorsports/Fairway Ford Indian FTR750) and Ben Lowe (No. 25 Rackley Racing/Mission Foods Indian FTR750) line positions 5-8 in the standings. The first three have already stood on the podium this season while Lowe came close with a fourth of his own.
Meanwhile, the factory Royal Enfields of 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) have earned a top five and multiple top tens already in their first season of Mission SuperTwins competition – while demonstrating the potential to place even higher.
And finally, Short Track extraordinaire Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Martin Trucking/Castrol Harley-Davidson XR750) will be back on track this weekend. While he piloted a Yamaha MT-07 to a pair of top tens at the DAYTONA ST opener, he’ll be armed with the venerable Harley-Davidson XR750 this weekend with designs on adding yet another chapter to its multi-decade legend.
Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER
The Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER class has emerged as a red-hot battleground for manufacturers in recent seasons, and 2023 is shaping up to be one to remember in that regard.
First it was the KTMs, with Kody Kopp (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F), Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) and Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Racing/Certified KTM 450 SX-F) sweeping the season’s first four race wins.
Then it was the Hondas, as the American Honda-backed Turner Honda trio of Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), Chase Saathoff (No. 88 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), and Morgen Mischler (No. 13 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) struck back by locking down the podium in Dallas.
Who will be next? While both KTM and Honda will look for further successes, there’s a real chance that other marques will now take their turn in the spotlight.
The Estenson Racing Yamaha team that secured back-to-back Parts Unlimited AFT Singles titles in ‘20-’21 courtesy of the aforementioned Daniels still boasts one of the most talented line-ups in the paddock with Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F).
And the 1st Impressions Husqvarna Racing effort feels primed for a huge weekend with Chad Cose (No. 49 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450) regularly running up front and James Ott (No. 19 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450) having already earned a runner-up finish at the Senoia ST earlier this season.
There will be plenty to keep fans entertained at the track on Saturday, including the second round of Royal Enfield's Build. Train. Race. (BTR) program, the return of the Grand National Hooligan Championship (GNHC), numerous vendors, plenty of food and beverage options, music, and motorcycle parking.
General Admission Grandstand tickets are just $40 (kids 12 and under $5), while Reserved Grandstand tickets are just $10 more.
Pit Pass Upgrades are also available for purchase, which provide all-day access to the pits where fans can scope out the world’s fastest dirt track motorcycles and get up close and personal with the stars of the sport.
Visit https://www.tixr.com/groups/americanflattrack/events/ventura-short-track-61345 to purchase your tickets today!
Gates will open for fans at 6:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. PT) with Opening Ceremonies scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m. ET (6:30 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 at https://www.fanschoice.tv.
FOX Sports coverage of the Mission Dallas Half-Mile presented by Roof Systems will air earlier in the day on FS1 on Saturday, May 6, at 11:00 a.m. ET (8:00 a.m. PT). The Ventura Short Track will premiere on FS1 one week later, on Saturday, May 13, at 2:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. PT). As always, both broadcasts will feature in-depth features and thrilling onboard cameras.
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.