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Black Hills HM Thoughts

Less than 40 hours since the Buffalo Chip podium the AFT riders were back in action at the Black Hills Half-Mile, another race that is part of Sturgis Bike Week.

After the one-line TT of the Buffalo Chip, which I'm indifferent to, the Black Hills track is fast, allows various lines and offered up some great racing. Unfortunately, being an AFT addict in Europe is a ballache. I watched till about 12.15am, then set the alarm for 1.15, watched another 40 mins, set the alarm for 3.15 and timed it perfectly to miss the opening ceremonies. Super Britney Olsen was the grand marshal, but 15 minutes sleep was more important at that time of the day. From 3.15am I watched through to the Twins podium and the end of the show at 4.45, then grabbed two hours sleep before getting up for dog walk and work.


  • 40 entries with no Sipes or Ward.

  • 7 riders were entered in both Singles and Production Twins.

  • Qualifying 1 session 1 was redflagged because the timing wasn't working.

  • Ollie Brindley was in the first group, because he's still one of the top 15 point scorers, that's how the groups are formed for practice and qualifying.

  • He was fourth in his session, Cose was fastest overall in qualifying.

  • Cose, Stollings and Shayna Texter won their heats.

Semi 1

  • Zabala gets the holeshot before fading back to seventh.

  • Local rider Schieffer leads momentarily, but drops back to ninth and misses the cut for the main.

  • Jesse Janisch, who has won three nationals this year, all TTs, also misses the cut.

  • Shayna is lying fourth, then does what she did in the Lima main, slices through those ahead and checks out.

Semi 2

  • The big movers are Mischler forward from a poor start and Dallas Daniels back from a hot launch, back to fifth. Daniels was tipped for the top and after three pro flat track races, he's made three mains. Impressive.

  • Ollie #24 wheelies off the line, gets swamped but works through to come in 6th and makes his first main since breaking his ankle at Perris, round 4.

  • Cose wins on the only Suzuki in the whole AFT Singles entry, after swapping back from Honda.

  • Australian rider Kayden Downing makes his second main, back-to-back

Singles Main

  • Janisch uses his provisional start to make it 17 riders on the grid

  • Reigning champ Bromley is a surprising 16th, Brindley 11th, Daniels 9th.

  • Gauthier and Cose go straight into the main from the Production Twins main.

  • Cose #49 is on pole, Shayna 2nd.

  • Mischler gets the holeshot and Bromley is up to sixth within a lap.

  • The bikes are running so close to the wall on the straights it makes me wince.

  • Shayna gets another less than ideal start and is back in 7th or 8th, quickly moving to 4th.

  • Gauthier's Husqvarna blows with him lying in 3rd with 6 laps to go.

  • Cose takes the lead with Shayna on his scent. The pair are running so close and so hard that I'm scared what will happen.

  • They are side by side on the exit of corners, but Shayna can't make the pass stick.

  • Cose gets it at the line. Texter 2nd, Mischler 3rd.

  • Bromley makes the most of Gauthier's misfortune in the title race by coming from 16th on the grid to 5th at the line. He also sets the fastest lap of the race.

  • Ollie B is 8th. He is less than a second off 5th.

  • Every singles rider puts in a best lap in the 33s in the main.

Production Twins

  • There are 21 entries.

  • Dalton Gauthier is on the Black Hills Harley XG750R for the first time. He is wearing a team mechanics shirt over his leathers.

  • Kayl Kolkman's Yam is having to be bumpstarted, causing him grief.

Production Twins Semi 1

  • 11 starters with 8 going to the main.

  • Cose gets the holeshot.

  • Tristan Avery crashes, red flag is out. He doesn't make the restart

  • JR Addison gets the holeshot, but Rispoli soon goes from 3rd to 1st in one corner on the Harley. He's riding so well this year.

  • The Harley wins its semi.

Production Twins Semi 2

  • 10 riders, only two not progressing.

  • Series leader Texter gets the holeshot, but soon moves backwards through the pack.

  • Carlile seems to ever so slightly nudge Andrew Luker who spins out and is out of the race. There doesn't seem anything dirty in it.

  • Gauthier wins his semi, his first time on the Harley XG750R. Both Harleys have won their mains. I had already thought that the Production Twins could be an important class for Harley next year and now I think it even more.

Production Twins Main

  • Texter qualified 7th, Cose 4th, the Black Hills Harleys of Gauthier and Rispoli 1 and 2 at their home race.

  • Varnes #68 and Carlile are also on front row.

  • Texter gets a great start from the 2nd row, moving into 2nd behind Addison.

  • Gauthier gets a shocker, back in 7th or 8th.

  • Baker says clutches are a weak point of XG750R and Scottie Deubler says both Harleys were having their clutches changed before final.

  • Loads of position changes. Varnes moves into lead while Texter gets swallowed by the pack.

  • Gauthier moves through pack, up to third ahead of Rispoli.

  • Addison, Rispoli and Gauthier are trading places but not making ground on Varnes.

  • Varnes is so far in the lead he backs off and crosses the finish line with one hand up, but the race for second is intense and it nearly causes an accident as Addison, Rispoli and Gauthier all race for the line. They finish in that order.

  • From the podium Rispoli tells the Harley fans he loves them, he's quite the cheerleader.

  • JR Addison is Bryan Smith's brother-in-law (married to Smith's younger sister) and has Smith Racing on the chest of his leathers.

  • Texter came in 6th. Varnes has closed the gap on him.

  • It is Varnes' first ever National level win. His best lap is faster than the best lap time of Expert Twins main that will follow.

  • The best lap times of the two Production Twins Harleys in their Main are quicker than that of the two full Factory expert Twins of Halbert and Vanderkooi in their main, held later in the evening. It might be down to track conditions. AFT Twins

  • 22 entries. Brandon Robinson and Bryan Smith are back.

  • Davis Fisher is fastest qualifier after Q2.

  • Fastest Yam after Q2 was Nick Armstrong, not the Estenson bikes, after their 1-2 at the Buffalo Chip.

Twins Semi 1

  • Briar B is on pole.

  • Nick Armstrong has his best showing of the year and starts from the front row. It's not his night though, he crashes out on lap three and hits his head hard enough to cause slight bleeding from his face. His night is over.

  • The Baumans are lined up one and two, Halbert in 3rd at the line out.

  • Sammy moves up to 2nd but fades to 5th.

  • PJ Jacobsen continues his impressive reintroduction into pro flat track with 4th.

  • Robinson is 2nd, behind Briar.

  • Rookie of the year contender Brandon Price misses his second consecutive main of the season after making all the previous ones.

Twins Semi 2

  • Davis Fisher on pole.

  • Pearson is out before the lights change due to a mechanical issue.

  • Carver gets the holeshot and wins flag to flag.

  • Gary Ketchum is the oldest rider in the field. He was born in 1959.

  • Smith finishes 5th.

  • Roger Hayden makes the main on the Estenson Yam. His second of the year.

Twins Main

  • Bugs Pearson uses his provisional start (he'll regret that)

  • The Estenson Yamahas scrape into the main. Beach 16th, Hayden 15th, Johnson 14th.

  • The Harleys are 12th and 10th.

  • Pegram keeps making mains.

  • Smith is 9th, the only Kawasaki to make the main.

  • There are 11 FTR750s, 3 Yams, 2 HDs and 1 Kawasaki

  • The front row is all Indian

  • Carver is on pole and takes a long time to pick his sport on the grid.

  • Briar gets the holeshot. His brother moves into second.

  • Robinson passes Mees for fourth, then Jacobsen passes Mees. The impudence!

  • Carver is into 2nd by lap 10 of 25.

  • Mees is back in the groove and making up time on Robinson.

  • Carver seems to be pulling Robinson, Bronson and Mees up to Briar.

  • Then Mees spins up, loses the front and slides out, setting up an ugly crash involving Fisher and Pearson. Read our post on it here.

  • Mees has a flat tyre. His team work hard to fix it. I'm confused that they're using tools, when I've seen other riders unable to use tools. I'll get to bottom of it.

  • Brad Baker explains there is a minimum of 8 minutes after a red flag.

  • His team are still working on the bike when the rest of the riders form on the grid. They leave without him, but he manages to join the race before the leaders finish their first lap, so he's allowed to continue. He's the rabbit for the hounds behind him.

  • Carver gets the holeshot, but Briar take him.

  • Briar is in the lead, and doesn't take long to overhaul Mees.

  • Smith pulls off.

  • Briar wins his 3rd national of the season, 8th of his career. Carver scores his third 2nd place of the year; Bronson Bauman is third.

  • Beach is top Yam in 9th, Johnson 10th, Hayden 12th.

  • The top five are Indians, followed by the two Harleys with Vanderkooi beating Halbert.

  • Briar namechecks the late Alec Muth, who died as a result of injuries at this race last year, saying 'I talk to God a lot on race day. We love you.'

Next race is the Sacramento Mile this Saturday.

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