It's just two weeks until the Daytona TT, the opener for the 2019 AFT season. So, here's the round-up some news.
DIRT + TARMAC + JUMPS
The track is going to take in a section of famous Daytona banking, meaning it's going to be on both dirt and asphalt. It's be interesting to see how the twin suspension, that must be relatively plush for the jumps, copes with the banking, but I'm guessing they're not going to be on it for long. AFT say:
'To allow AFT to fine tune the transitions between dirt and asphalt, track building crews began laying down the specially-designed dirt for the TT course in the corners on either end of the tri-oval just 24 hours prior to Thursday’s test. To provide feedback for the finalization of the design, nine-time AFT champion Scotty Parker, three-time AFT champion Jay Springsteen and AFT Twins competitor Johnny Lewis suited up to dial in the all-important portions of the track in consultation with AFT officials, including fellow AMA Hall of Famer Steve Morehead.'
Jay Springsteen said, 'It’s going to be a super fast track. This looks like it's not going to be a really technical course, but a high-speed one with plenty of areas for riders to pass. I think it's great to run on the pavement and the dirt - we did it years ago at Carlsbad for the Superbikers. It's going to be a great show. I wanted to keep riding it!'
In our recent interview with Johnny Lewis (Sideburn 34) he told us that if he had a serious shout at the championship he thinks he could beat Jared Mees, but because he tested the track, he's now not allowed to compete in the race. It seems like this is another season where he hasn't got a deal lined up, if he's already ruled himself out of Daytona. Shame as we're fans of JL10 at Sideburn.
'Being able to ride on the actual Daytona International Speedway tri-oval and cross the legendary finish line felt surreal,' said Lewis. 'The racing is going to be intense. Adding the banking gives so many different racing lines on and off the dirt. Fans can look forward to watching riders use the asphalt’s consistent racing surface to get creative with the transitions.'
The Superhooligan National Championship goes from strength to strength. They now run a pro class and amateurs. The Superhooligans are, once again, being drafted in as a support class for the AFT, but only the 'pro' hooligans. Hopefully the street bike class, plus the somewhat one-sided Indian v Harley 'war' brings a decent crowd into the huge stadium. The Daytona Speed Week folks seem more interested in being stuck in traffic jams on the coast road than actually witnessing some speed.
ROLAND SANDS: GRAND MARSHAL
Giving the hooligans yet more legitimacy is the fact the series' founder/godfather/competitor, Roland Sands is going to be the Daytona TT grand marshal. Not entirely sure what that involves, but it's another bond between AFT and hooligans, despite what the old guard think of the new strand of the sport.
STACKED SINGLES CLASS
Chad Cose and Mikey Rush have moved into the Singles, from Twins; there's the KTM factory team of current champ Bromley and Shayna Texter; rumours say the wunderkind Dalton Gauthier is going to be back (after being banned for testing positive for recreational drugs); Estenson Racing have a big budget team with Ryan Wells and Dallas Daniels on singles; seven-time national MX champ Jeff Ward is going to compete in the TT races; and then there's Ollie Brindley, back for his third season, of course.