Let Me Tell You About This Race: Davis Fisher
Every rider who has advanced to the Progressive American Flat Track ranks has competed in so many races throughout their life, it’s virtually impossible for them to recall every last one. However, some races are simply unforgettable, whether due to triumph, disaster, excitement, chaos, or hilarity.
In this series, we ask a number of the world’s greatest dirt trackers to tell us about one particular race that stands out in their memory, be it a Progressive AFT Main Event, a regional amateur race a decade ago, or simply an epic backyard barnburner.
The race Davis Fisher selected was an obvious one in that it has already achieved legendary status, at least in a recent history sort of way. But that certainly doesn’t prevent it from still making for a good yarn:
The race before the 2021 Charlotte season finale was on the West Coast. After that, I was back home – I lived in Oregon full time back then – and I really didn’t want to spend sixty hours driving and expending all this fuel just to go to one race. And the way the standings were, I think at worst I could have dropped from seventh to eighth if I skipped Charlotte, so I was like, ‘Ehhh... I don't think I'm gonna go.’
But then I thought some more and figured I could just take the van. I had pulled around a trailer the whole season with spares and my whole pit setup whatnot. But instead, I just threw what I could in the back of the van and decided I could stop in Michigan and see my girlfriend (now fiancé). There also happened to be an RPM promotions outlaw race the weekend before, so that was a chance for me to make some money to help with fuel costs. So ultimately, I did all that and drove to Charlotte.
Once we were there, the start of the day – the first practice I think – debris off the track got kicked up into my radiator and blew one of the hoses. I came back in and there was coolant all over the bike. Well, we didn't really have a plan for any failures, since there wasn't enough room in the van to pack any spare parts.
Fortunately, the factory Indian team had a spare radiator hose and we got it all fixed up.
I ended up making it into the Mission Challenge. I ran toward the back early on and went back and forth with Briar (Bauman) a couple times. But on the last-lap, last-corner, I just decided to go through all the bumps. I made up a lot of ground and ended up passing Jared Mees for the lead. But that move cut off all my momentum and he had the outside and carried his. He had more speed going to the stripe and got me right at the line.
Still, I was pretty pumped because I think that was one of the first times I was in the Challenge and I almost won it.
At the start of the Main, Briar and Jared were putting some good laps in, and they got a strong early lead. If you remember, the points were close enough that whoever won the race between them would also win the championship, so they were really going after it. But Briar ended up going high in Turn 4 and I think the bumps helped him – but not in a good way. He ended up nicking the bales, and his bike got flung onto the racing line in front of Sammy Halbert who went down... after he first went up.
I saw it all happen. When I came up on Sammy, I was like ten feet from him and he was like ten feet up in the air. Seriously, I probably could have ridden right underneath him and he would have landed on my bike and I could have taken him for a ride.
Before the race was stopped my bike was cutting out in the center of the corner. I'd get on the gas, and it would just go, ‘bluuurgh’ and then clear out and go. So during the red flag, I was stressing. I was telling my dad something was wrong with the bike, but I didn’t know what it was. So I just started wiggling all the wires.
I didn't get a great jump when we started going again. I was lined up second and I came off in fourth or so behind Jared, JD Beach, and Jarod Vanderkooi.
JD and Jared had a pretty good lead on me and Vanderkooi. I ended up moving him a little bit and got him out of the way. At the same time, JD and Jared were battling back and forth, which allowed me to catch right back up on them with three laps to go.
At that point, my brakes started fading. For a second, I thought maybe I should get off of them. But then I realized it was also kind of helping me. Charlotte is pretty round and it reminds me of my backyard track at home. My XR100 doesn't have very good brakes, so it's all about carrying momentum. So I kinda felt like I was back at home at that point.
First I got by JD – I went under him on Turn 3. He didn't really put up too much of a fight to come back. He told me after the race, he had the same plan that I did, but I took the line he wanted to use.
So it was Jared in front of me. Last lap, last corner, I went for that same move I used in the Mission Challenge. But this time I just tried to keep it on the throttle as much as I could so Jared couldn't get me at the line again.
It worked and immediately I knew it was a dream come true. That really hit home when I came around and saw everyone on the back straightaway – guys like Joe Kopp out there cheering for me.
All sorts of people were coming out to congratulate me along with all my competitors – guys I had just raced and beat. It was amazing. It's like the whole family of flat track was coming out for me, and that was a really good feeling.
It was so rewarding, especially considering where we had come from. The year before I got dropped by a team, and it's tough to do it all on your own, out of the back of a van. I almost called it quits because it's so tough. But there I was, me and my dad, racing out of the back of a van pit up against teams that showed up in an 18-wheeler with 15 mechanics.
And I won. It felt pretty cool.
Racers Are People Too, Davis Fisher Edition
Favorite Food: Stir Fry
Favorite Restaurant/Stop to Hit on the Road: I don’t waste much time on the road, but if we get to where we are going and there is a BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, I’m going for sure.
Favorite Band: Zach Bryan
Favorite Song: “Something in the Orange” by Zach Bryan
Favorite TV Series: S.W.A.T.
Favorite Movie: 8 Seconds
Hobby That Doesn't Involve Wheels/Engines/Racing: Golf